Suspension of NC non standard grade notation starting January 7th, 2019

Hi All Faculty:

A decision by Faculty Council is moving forward to impact the grading notation of NC currently used by Faculty at our November 9th, 2018 meeting.

Motion: Approved

Suspend the use of NC grade effective January 7th, 2019

Need to have acceptable grading alternative in place for Winter term between February 1st and March 1st.

Second Motion: Approved

Faculty Council will direct the work group to include appropriate administrative involvement and will now focus on identifying acceptable grading alternative to recommend to Faculty Council. This work group meetings will be open- it currently meets Mondays 8-9 a.m. in Building 19 room 239. Winter term day, time and location TBA

Additional outreach to include campus wide Faculty feedback in the Faculty Council blog and by email and also facilitated by Faculty Council Members.

Faculty Council Co Chairs

Jessica Alvarado and Lee Imonen

Now that this decision is made – the Non Standard Grading Work Group will be focusing on selecting a grading alternative by February 1st. This means we will be seeking Faculty input now with their own ideas. We will also be requesting input on  posting potential solutions that are being considered. For the remainder of Fall term we are meeting 8-9 a.m. Mondays in Building 19, room 239. The Winter term meeting time and location has not been set.

5 thoughts on “Suspension of NC non standard grade notation starting January 7th, 2019

  1. Pat boleyn

    I think it is good to have more rigor for the student so that they know that they need to work hard to pass a class, and not rely on the NC to stop trying when they are not doing so well. I think an alternative to removing the NC would be to get rid of grades throughout the whole campus, and move to the Evergreen State College method of Pass and no pass ,with in depth evaluations between the teacher and student. The Pass assumes the student has a B or better, and has received ongoing assessment that they are progressing in the skills that were outlined by the faculty in their outcomes for the course. I think A-F has limited value because student’s just strive for the grade, instead of the learning.

    I am not sure that the NC hurts the college. It might actually just help the student, if it does not effect their GPA or their financial aid. It might benefit them and the college, to take the course over to receive a better grade, without the negative consequence of academic probation from an F, or no financial aid. Those are forms of punishment, or negative feedback for the student.

    Reply
  2. Chef Chris

    I never heard of an “NC” grade option until I came to LCC. I have never used, nor will I ever use, and “NC” grade. The students either do the work or they do not.
    I prefer a 3 point rubric style grading of – “Exceeds/Meets/Below Standard” with each category clearly defined for each learning objective. This provides clear, written expectations to the the student at the outset. Yes – it is a lot of work to set up initially, but I discovered that it sets the groundwork for the student for greater self-evaluation, during the learning endeavour, and prior to the assessment consultation with the instructor.

    Reply
  3. Jeffrey Borrowdale

    Without the NC grade, the College should allow faculty to request administratively dropping “zombie” students who showed up the first week but have subsequently disappeared. Even though there may be financial aid implications for students, this more honestly represents their status and will benefit more students than it harms.

    An admin drop deadline the Friday of Week Five might also get the attention of some students who have otherwise been non-responsive. It may negatively impact some students’ financial aid, but counting them as “attempting” the credits is dishonest, as they just a name on a roster, not attending and doing no work.

    Even if the college loses a little money on what could be considered fraudulent reimbursements, it will gain from increased retention (as it preserves student GPAs) and possible midterm interventions. Dropped students can always be conditionally readmitted if they agree to start doing the work, see a tutor, follow an intervention plan, etc.

    Reply
    1. Samantha Gibeau

      I agree with Jeffrey Borrowdale. It would be nice to know the consequence for the student if an NC is given. In the past I have used it when a student shows only the first couple of weeks and I have nothing to grade from them. An F implies that some work has been attempted. I would agree with dropping the student in week 5.
      My understanding was that an NC did not effect their GPA but could not be removed from their transcripts, whereas an F could be replaced with a better grade in the class once retaken. An I incorrect?

      Reply
  4. Andrea Hirons

    TL DR

    A long time ago, 2002, I was told “Thou shalt assign a grade if the student makes you aware of their existence!” Or words to that effect. Any work done or other signs of life, and they get A through F or P/NP. And I said, “OK, fine, whatever.”

    And I assigned letter grades or pass/no-pass to all my students. And it came to pass that some students received an F, because they labored long and hard for that F, and I would not dream of depriving them of the fruits of that labor.

    And then my dept head summoned me. A student was complaining about their F and wanted an NC. And I asked, “Uh, they had points on the board, so… wasn’t I supposed to do that?” And a whole lot of hemming and hawing later (probably on account of academic freedom and the inability to force a teacher to change a grade?), I got the gist of the idea that my dept head would be better pleased if I changed the grade to an NC. And I said, “OK, fine, whatever.”

    And we did this dance for two or three terms. And at length I became rather irked by the impossibility of getting a straight answer about what I was actually supposed to do in order to avoid these awkward conversations and meetings with my boss.

    So I said to myself, “Self, we are clever. We must be able to figure out a plan.” So I chose an arbitrarily low number, 20 percent, and any student below this threshold received “NC”, and everyone above received F. And lo, there were no more awkward meetings about students wanting a different failing grade. (Except the people on military scholarships that require F instead of NC, but that is a different tale).

    And now people say, “You can’t use NC anymore because (fill in dire prediction).” And I say, “OK, fine, whatever.

    I do sometimes think it might be amusing, or at least novel, to have some sort of coherent policy on this topic. But most of the time I just repeat my mantra – “OK, fine, whatever”.

    Reply

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