Pass/Failing a class

Due, I think, to the nature of the MDiv degree at Gordon-Conwell, where nearly every class you take is mandatory, we are allowed to take 4 classes as “pass/fail” courses. Basically this means that you would fulfill your requirement by passing the class, but it would be taken out of the equation when determining your GPA.

Now, I’ve never been one to worry myself about my GPA. Either I liked a class or I didn’t, and my grade reflected that accordingly, and that was that. But lately… how you say – there has been no direct correlation between my interest in the class and my grade in the class. I love all my classes, more or less. I’m finally getting the education I’ve been wanting for 10 years! But these classes, they’re hard. Suddenly the best grade correlation is how much time and effort I dedicate to the class. Eww.

Take Greek, for example. The school recommends an average of 3 hours spent outside of class for every hour spent in class. For Greek, that means 9 hours a week focused on 4 pages of very widely spaced text, and 15 or so flash cards. For theology, that same 9 hours is distributed across 200 or so pages of theology text, which pages I can probably finish in less than 9 actual hours. But for Greek, I need all nine hours to maintain, say, a C.

I like Greek. I kid you not. I am very desirous that Greek doesn’t turn into one of those languages that you studdied in school, and then never think about again. I anticipate doing my daily Bible reading in Greek sometime in the future. But in the mean time, I have these 4 floating holidays called pass/fail courses. They’re like little get out of jail free cards. You can use them at any time in the game, but once the game is over, they’re worthless. Since I have ’em, I might as well use ’em.

So it has occurred to me: There is no possibility that Greek can improve my GPA. Not only is the class hard, but they’ve fiddled with the grading system by switching to a 7-point scale (93% = B), effectively making the class 3% harder when it comes to grades. Secondly, there is no class as likely to harm my GPA. Considering these two factors, it seems that, if I am going to use these pass/fail options, there would be no better time to cash in than on this class. Friday of this week is the last day to file a pass/fail petition. I’m pretty sure this would be a good idea.
So how come I feel like a sneak?

Author: KB French

Formerly many things, including theology student, mime, jr. high Latin teacher, and Army logistics officer. Currently in the National Guard, and employed as a civilian... somewhere

6 thoughts on “Pass/Failing a class”

  1. Sounds like a great idea! I remember changing my Model United Nations class to a pass/fail grade because Dr. Fauchier was not too fond of giving out anything more than an A-. However, I almost did the same thing with my Social and Political Thought class, and I am glad that I did not since I worked tirelessly at it and ednded up getting an A in the course. Language is a different matter, however. I remember that in my Spanish classes I would usually have sacrifice actually learning the language in order to prepare myself for the tedious quizes and homework assignments. So if you are trying to learn the language in a way that best fits you, then you should probably take the course as pass/fail and just focus on learning the language rather than achieving a certain grade.


  2. It is important to maintain the highest GPA as possible in order to impress your future employer. Normally, your Degree/GPA will get you your first job and after that, employers will focus on your experience. Therefore, change any class that will adversley affect your GPA to Pass/Fail.



  3. The problem is that I keep switching “career paths” which means that my experience is often irrelevant.

    But that said, do you really think that my GPA is going to be that much of a factor for a ministry position. If I were hiring a green young MDiv for a first pastoral position, I might be inclined to think that straight A’s in classes like “Hermeneutics of Joshua” should count against the guy. The adage is that it takes 5-10 years to recover from seminary and focus on real Christian life instead of giving in to the inclination to quibble every theological point that comes along.


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