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October 21, 1996

Academic Senate to issue mail ballot on grading proposal

A proposal to alter UCSC's grading policy will be put to a mail ballot, it was announced at the Academic Senate meeting on Tuesday, October 15.

The proposal would allow UCSC students to request letter grades in their courses and accumulate a grade-point average. The proposal was made by the senate's Committee on Educational Policy (CEP) and adopted by the Academic Senate in a vote last May. However, following that vote, 28 senators petitioned the senate office, requesting a mail ballot on the issue. Senate bylaws require that such petitions be signed by at least 25 senators.

It is expected that the ballot, which will determine the fate of the CEP proposal, will be distributed sometime this fall. The Committee on Rules, Jurisdictions, and Elections must confirm that the ballot language and process conform to divisional bylaws before the ballot is distributed.

Proponents of the CEP proposal said last spring that a grade-point average option would make the campus more attractive to prospective students, help retain students once they enroll, and address problems the lack of a GPA has created for some UCSC students trying to gain admission to or secure financial aid from other colleges or universities.

A second grading proposal, known as GANES (Grades with Narrative Evaluations) is preferred by some members of the senate.

Eli Silver, chair of the senate, said at the October meeting that the senate's parliamentarian, Professor Donald Potts, had determined that senators could not currently consider the GANES proposal because it "overlaps" with some aspects of the CEP idea. The Committee on Rules, Jurisdictions, and Elections will review that judgment as well.

The CEP proposal would:

As described last spring, the GANES proposal would allow every undergraduate in every course to receive both a letter grade and a narrative evaluation. Every student would have the choice of three forms of transcript: one that includes all grades and narratives, with grades "A"-"C" translated to "Pass," and "F" translated to "No Record" and omitted. (Students desiring only narrative evaluations would have to retake a course in which they received a "D.")