By Edward Kdonian
Currently the system allows a teacher to input a grade of “Withdrawal/Passing or Withdrawal/Failing” instead of imputing the grade as an actual failure. This allows students who have been forced by circumstance to miss too many classes or who are unable to obtain a passing grade to withdraw from a class unofficially without the class affecting the students’ grade point index. Basically if you fail to show up for a class to the point where you can no longer gain a passing grade a teacher can enter you as having withdrawn and denote whether you had a passing or failing grade at the time you stopped showing up.
This is most important for students who are forced to stop attending class due to financial, work related, or family based hardships that require priority above school. If you as a student were forced to attend to a sick family member or move out of state temporarily you could speak to a teacher and have them enter your grade as WP or WF. The credits would count against your attempted credit count, but would not affect your grade point average if you were to reenroll at a later date to retake the class or to work towards a different degree.
Just as importantly this safety net helps to protect first time students who are just out of high school. There is no shortage of 18 year old students who enroll right out of high school only to skip classes because they are not ready to devote themselves to college. These students enjoying the first freedom they’ve ever experienced could easily wind up ruining future attempts to complete their education.
Since failed classes are held against your record and never wiped clean no matter how long ago they were, a student returning after 10 years would still be affected by failed grades form when they were young. By the time a student has gained perspective and developed responsible attitudes towards college it would be too late, because without the WP/WF system they would have been irreparably harmed by past mistakes.
Not only does the WP/WF system help irresponsible students but it also serves to protect the interests of students who have no choice. Not only must the current grading system stay in place but it is our job as students to make its importance known. We can’t allow the administration to make such an important decision without student input. We have to stand up for our rights and our grades. Tell your classmates, tell your teachers, make your voice heard.