Controversy Over Pass/No Record Policy
Controversy Over Pass/No Record Policy
  • Reporter Song Sung-chan
  • 승인 2018.11.07 14:36
  • 댓글 0
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With the advent of Mueunjae Undergraduate Studies, POSTECH has decided to implement the Pass/No Record policy (PNR) starting with the first Mueunjae students. Hoping it will help the freshmen adapt to their college life, the Office of Educational Affairs and Records  (OEAR) brought up the PNR policy on the ground that such policy will ‘prevent any hesitation to explore various classes that arises because of the pressure to get a higher GPA.’

With the PNR policy, professors of classes including General Chemistry Lab. I (CHEM102), General Physics Lab. I (PHYS103), General Life Science Lab. (LIFE104), Exploring Major (MSUS101), Introduction to Major (‘major-name’100), and Freshmen Research (‘major-name’199), Entrepreneurship & Technology Innovation (IMEN110), etc give their students a grade of either Pass or No Record. If a student reaches the class criteria, the student receives ‘pass’ on their transcript. However, the merit of the PNR policy lies with ‘No Record’; if the student fails to reach the criteria to pass, they receive a ‘No Record’, and the fact that the student enrolled in the class and failed does not appear on their transcript, hence no record. Since there will be no record of failure, the students can explore various classes without any reprisals.

However, there are some controversies regarding the PNR policy. The basic mechanism of the PNR policy is to reduce the stress from the classes mentioned above. However, by the same token, the PNR policy increases the stress from other higher-credit classes such as calculus, physics, and chemistry. Although the classes that the PNR policy is applied to are worth less credits, and cannot alter one’s GPA significantly, they do have an impact on students whose GPA is close to 3.0, the borderline between scholarship disqualification and qualification. Before the PNR policy, lab classes and other classes mentioned above were included in the GPA calculation. Also, lab classes were known to give out grades higher than a B, although there were exceptions. Accordingly, lab classes and other classes played a considerable part in saving students with a GPA below 3.0 from scholarship disqualification. However, now that those classes do not contribute to the GPA calculation, other classes are of greater importance to the GPA, adding pressure on those classes.

Now that the first semester has passed since the implementation of the PNR policy, the OEAR now has acquired data on the PNR policy. In an interview with Oh Chang-sun, the head of the OEAR, he presented some statistical data showing the results of the PNR policy. Regarding the average GPA, the students from the class of ’17 had an average GPA of 3.24, while those from the class of ’18 had an average GPA of 3.22. Concerning the percentage of students who were disqualified from getting their scholarships, 28.7% of the class of ’17 were disqualified and 29.0% of the class of ’18 were disqualified. Although the data did show a downward trend, it was a relatively small difference and the data from one semester cannot explain the effect of the PNR policy completely.

He asserted that he will continue to monitor the policy and weigh the pros and cons. Since one year of data is not enough to judge the policy, Oh claimed that a thorough review of the PNR policy will begin in the second semester of next year, when they will have two years of data available.