Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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For the fourth time, ASG and Weinberg hash out target P/N

Students taking Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences electives might be able to use a target pass/no credit option as early as Fall Quarter after Associated Student Government senators approved a bill Wednesday supporting the grading alternative.

ASG passed similar bills on target P/N in 1987, 1994 and 1997, but it was not implemented because of technology problems.

Target grading allows students to choose a letter-grade goal. If they achieve the target grade or higher, they receive that grade on their transcript. If students do not meet the target, their grades will revert to a P/N.

“It gives students a safety net of sorts,” said Foster-Walker Sen. Dan Broadwell, a Weinberg freshman and the bill’s co-author. “I’d definitely use it for some of my electives senior year.”

ASG will petition Weinberg faculty and administrators in February to enact the option. The system would not apply to distribution, freshman seminar, foreign language or major requirements.

Weinberg students currently may apply up to six P/N classes toward their graduation requirements. Students have three weeks to decide if they want to use the P/N option.

Target grading currently is available for elective classes in the schools of Communication, Music, and Education and Social Policy.

ASG is focusing on Weinberg because NU students take most of their electives in that school, said Diana Wielocha, an Ayers College for Commerce and Industry senator and the bill’s other co-author.

“It would probably force Medill and Tech to adopt the same policy as well,” said Wielocha, a Weinberg freshman. “I haven’t encountered any student who wasn’t in support of it.”

ASG Academic Vice President Tamara Kagel said target P/N “is not about GPAs.” The target will give students an incentive to work for a designated grade in a class, said Kagel, a Communication junior.

Psychology Prof. Michael Bailey said students should be concerned with more important academic issues.

“I have noticed in my 14 years at NU that the undergraduates have become increasingly obsessed with grades, and I think that is a bad trend,” Bailey said. “I don’t know if this target P/N idea will increase or decrease the obsession with it. I think it’s a function of the obsession.”

The bill’s authors said they have worked with several Weinberg deans and University Registrar Suzanne Anderson, who could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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For the fourth time, ASG and Weinberg hash out target P/N