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On Carleton Moving its S/Cr/Nc Deadline to Seventh Week
Sooooo for those of you who have anything to do with Carleton College, you are probably aware by now that faculty voted with a 67-21 majority to make several nightmarish unpleasant changes to the beloved S/Cr/Nc policy that has saved us in our darkest hours. Previously, the S/Cr/Nc (pronounced ‘scrunch’.. gettit?!) policy allowed students up until the last day of classes to designate a maximum of 6 credits (= one normal class) reviewed on a Pass/Fail basis. Students who anticipated getting a low grade in a class (or students like me who are anal about their GPA and cry every time they get anything other than an A-) could designate one class per term, six classes over all four years at Carleton, as S/Cr/Nc and receive either a Satisfactory (i.e. “Pass”) , Credit Received (i.e. “Barely Passed”), or No Credit (i.e. “Faiiiiil!”).

The new policy doesn’t completely eliminate the S/Cr/Nc option, but is pretty radical nonetheless. For starters, it changes the S/Cr/Nc designation deadline from the last day of classes (end of 10th week) to the Friday of 7th week. It also requires the course professor to sign off whenever a student wants to Scrunch the class, whereas before the professor wasn’t contacted about the student’s decision until after all grades were submitted, and some higher power (the registrar’s office?) changed Scrunched classes’ A-F grades to S-NC grades.

I have beef with these changes. (Did I say that right, Jersey Shore Cast? Probably not. )

I think these changes suck. The new policy changes the Scrunch deadline to 7th week regardless of whether you’ve gotten enough graded work or feedback from a professor in a class to make an informed decision of how you’re doing. Two of my classes (English and Political Science) this term didn’t give me graded work back until 6th week, in part because they didn’t assign anything until 5th week (wtf..). Ernesto’s Biochemistry class schedules all of its TWO exams 6th week or later, and hasn’t yet heard how he did on the first one. The 7th week Scrunch deadline would be a terrible indicator of whether it would be a good idea to Scrunch a class when we’ve only gotten one or two assignments graded by then.

I have scrunched one class* during my time at Carleton (science, physics-related, required a graphing calculator and a comfortable knowledge of high school-level math that I have tried very hard to forget.. you understand this). It wasn’t an easy decision either time, mainly because whether to Scrunch or not depended on how I did on the second exam before the final, which typically got graded after 7th week. While I know that some students might be 100% sure that they’ll Scrunch a class from Day One, most people wait until 8th, 9th, and even 10th week to make a decision based on graded assignments and returned exams.

Assuming that I pass all my classes and don’t fail comps and eventually graduate in June, I’ll be far, far away from this campus by the time these policy changes get implemented in Fall ’12. So what do I care.  But it irks** me to think that what used to be a useful policy that gave students the flexibility to choose how a course was to affect their GPA, transcript, etc, is now essentially being rendered moot by an earlier deadline.
* Edit: I thought I’d scrunched two classes, I’ve actually only scrunched one
** I believe this is the first time I’ve ever said “irk”

This post was originally going to be about a bunch of other thoughts, but my stomach is pretty much yodeling right now, so I’m gonna go tend to more important needs.

Take-away point from this rant: Carleton has very efficiently been deteriorating since I got here, I just want to leaaaaaaaaaave.