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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

ECC weighing changes to SC/RN/C policy

<CR/NC (“scrunch”) policy, Carleton’s version of taking classes pass/fail, is currently under review. The Education and Curriculum Committee has been discussing changes in the policy and will meet to determine a final proposal next Tuesday. According to Patrick Burke ’14, an ECC liaison to the CSA, the committee is considering three major changes to the process that will affect the way students designate classes they want to take pass/fail and whether professors know who is just taking their classes for ungraded credit.

The ECC has discussed changing the S/CR/NC policy such that professors know which students elect to take their class pass/fail. “Professors feel that the secrecy involved in scrunching betrays the contract between students and professors,” Burke said in an e-mail. “The proposed method would require professors to sign a form when a student decides to scrunch a class.” This change would be meant to encourage the student and professor to discuss why the student is scrunching the class.

Burke said that the ECC has also been debating moving the deadline to scrunch a course up from the last day of classes. “Some professors were in favor of designating second week as the deadline, but the majority of the committee believed that seventh week would be a sufficient compromise,” he said in an e-mail. “The committee felt students should have enough feedback from their classes to make an informed decision about whether or not to scrunch a class.”

If this change is implemented, the ECC is considering the elimination of “pre-scrunching” altogether. “By eliminating the pre-scrunch,” Burke said, “student could decide later in the term which class, if any, they should scrunch.”

Burke encouraged students to respond and voice their opinions to him and the rest of the CSA. He said that the committee has received input from professors and spoke to some of their concerns:

Professors who have shared their opinion on the matter agree with near unanimity that the current policy is too lenient. They worry that the policy is being used for GPA inflation by students. They also are concerned that they are spending too much time working with students who end up scrunching their courses. They feel that they could better budget their time, focusing on students who need assistance to pass the class for a grade, if they knew which students were scrunching a course earlier. Concerns were also raised regarding students who decide to scrunch in classes which focus on group work who drag their entire group down.

Currently, the S/CR/NC policy allows students to take up to 30 credits pass/fail during their time at Carleton. Six hours are allowed to be scrunched at term. The credit limit does not apply to classes which are mandatory scrunch classes, including some music and P.E. classes. Courses within a student’s major department may not be scrunched. The scrunch policy is a two step process. Courses must be per-scrunched by the end of second week. The deadline to scrunch a class is the last day of classes.

The most important thing to keep in mind, Burke wrote, is that the S/CR/NC policy exists to encourage students to explore academic areas that they might not be totally confident in. Changing the policy would work to further this goal.

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