More universities introducing Pass/Fail grading system
More universities introducing Pass/Fail grading system
  • Pak Gee-na
  • 승인 2017.05.25 23:30
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Seoul National University (SNU) has introduced a new grading system that will be implemented as of the upcoming fall semester. The new system aims to ease students’ stress over elective course grades, allowing students to freely explore other areas of study. As long as students meet the minimum achievement standard, elective courses will be graded in Successful/Unsuccessful (S/U), which is similar to Pass/Fail evaluation system. As the first university to attempt S/U system for electives, SNU aimed to break down walls between majors for convergence education. This will help students who were previously afraid to take other major courses despite their interests for fear of a disadvantage due to a lack of background knowledge in the elective course that they wanted to take. Also S/U system was introduced to change the atmosphere of severe competition of getting good GPA for job employment or going to graduate school, which hinders development of creativity of students. Students can take up to nine credits with this grading system before graduation. Regarding convergence education and encouraging students to explore different majors, candidates for Ewha’s 16th Presidential Election have also discussed the possibility of revising the current grading system. Three candidates out of eight have proposed specific plans for amending current grading system. Kang Hye-ryun, a professor of College of Business Administration, promised to expand the use of the absolute evaluation system and increase the number of S/U evaluation courses to help students freely study what they truly want without worrying about their GPA. Eun-mee Kim, a professor from the Graduate School of International Studies, suggested constructing the basis for nurturing major talent required by the Fourth Industrial society by connecting research capacity and education. She proposed push for self-designing and convergence education through a Pass/Fail evaluation system. Professor Lee Hyang-sook from the Department of Mathematics pledged to innovate the relative evaluation system and strengthen study-employment business opening capabilities. Students have shown positive attitudes toward plans to revise the grading system. “This semester, I am taking a course from the engineering major because of interdisciplinary major,” said Kwon Hyun-jin, a sophomore in the Department of Mathematics. “Though I signed up for the class to learn about computer engineering for the first time, a lot of engineering students in that class already had background knowledge regarding the class materials and made it hard for me to catch up with the class. Nowadays, I find the class difficult which also lessens my interest since I have to study that much more.” Kwon added that S/U system that will be held in SNU would also be helpful for Ewha students if it were to be introduced. She claimed that it would encourage students to be interested and focus on courses themselves rather than compete to earn good grades, which is not beneficial in the long term. Currently, several universities are taking experimental actions to provide convergence education for students including Konkuk University and Kookmin University. Konkuk University has abolished mandatory major credits that students previously had to acquire before graduation. Kookmin University has introduced School of Humanities, Art & Technology (HAT) in 2017 which made it easier for students to study majors that are much different through converged curriculum.

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