PEI

University freedom credits questioned

Questions are being raised about the University of Prince Edward Island's plans to allow students to opt for a pass or fail for some courses, rather than a full mark.

UPEI in planning stages for introducing freedom credits

Greg Doran questions the need for freedom credits, and wonders if a simple pass-fail mark on a transcript will backfire. (CBC)

Questions are being raised about the University of Prince Edward Island's plans to allow students to opt for a pass or fail for some courses, rather than a full mark.

Chemistry student Pierce Smith worries freedom credits will devalue the work of students who do well. (CBC)

It's an idea, known as a freedom credit, already adopted by some other Canadian universities.

"It's about flexibility, it's about opportunities for students to have a broader experience for university when they're here," said registrar Kathleen Keilly.

Freedom credits would not be allowed on courses central to the student's area of study. They are meant to encourage students to take electives they are interested in, but are concerned they could struggle in. The freedom credit would allow a student to take that course without worrying about it dragging down their grade point average.

Theatre and English professor Greg Doran questions the need for freedom credits. He said students actually interested in taking his classes tend to do well anyway, and he thinks having a P for pass on your transcript could backfire.

"The pass-fail random credit on a transcript might be a bit of a red flag, so it might actually work against the student going to grad school," said Doran.

Scholarships, GPA considered

Chemistry student Pierce Smith worries freedom credits devalues the work of students who do well.

"If three students had a P on their sheet, those Ps, you'd have no idea how well they did in each course, said Smith.

"The person looking at the piece of paper wouldn't be able to see where they were on that scale of passing that course."

Keilly said all the pros and cons of the plan are now being considered by a senate subcommittee.

"It's under review for areas like how do you get considered, what courses will qualify, how it's going to impact your transcript, how many courses can you do, what would be the impact on scholarships and awards, how does it affect a GPA or not," said Keilly.

The UPEI Student Union has come out in support of freedom credits, and hopes to see them on university transcripts as soon as next year.

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