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TWU considering pass/fail option for spring classes

Texas Woman’s University’s administrators announced Thursday they are considering a pass/fail option as opposed to the usual A-F grading system for the spring semester. 

Students received an email from the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Carolyn Kapinus Thursday, informing them university officials are taking a close look at the option. In the email, Kapinus said that it could grant students some relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted the university to move classes online last month. She also explained that, though they are considering offering students to choose a pass/fail grade for one or more courses, requiring all courses to be graded pass/fail could create difficulties for those looking to enroll into secondary programs like nursing or graduate school. 

“I want to express TWU’s intent to fully explore the pass/fail option along with other ways to relieve academic stress,” Kapinus wrote in the email. “But prior to any decision, TWU wants to ensure we are fully prepared to deal with all of the issues that may arise in offering this choice.”

Kapinus said the pass/fail system would negatively impact students retaking a course or taking a prerequisite for advanced programs. She also said problems may arise for students who plan on transferring their credits. 

The University of North Texas’ president Neal Smastrek sent an email to UNT students Thursday evening announcing they can choose either the standard A-F grading or choose Pass or No Pass for their spring semester grades. He said students who receive an A-C in a course can change them to Pass after the grade is posted, while students who receive a D or F in a course will be marked as No Pass, but can notify their professors before the grade is posted if they would like to select the letter-grade option. Graduate programs will work to provide students with flexibility given the circumstances, Smastrek  wrote. 

Universities from around the country like the University of Maine have started petitions to also make the remainder of their semester courses based on a pass/fail system. UMaine’s has reached over 1,200 signatures as of today.

Meanwhile, other universities in the state like Texas A&M-San Antonio, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas at Austin have also explored the pass/fail option, deciding on moving forward with the grading option for the rest of the spring semester.

TWU students took to Twitter in response to Kapinus’s announcement. 

TWU administrators will update students as they work through the issue, Kapinus wrote. 

Gakenia Njenga can be reached via email at

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