Credit/D/fail smart move
To The Editors:
As an alumnus (Class of 1988) who is now a math professor, I was intrigued by your article regarding the change of the credit/fail system to a credit/D/fail system. During my final semester, I took Dr. Gilfillan's Marine Ecology class as a credit/fail course. Had I taken the course for a letter grade, I would have had a "dual" (I'll let the faculty wax nostalgic about that grading system), but I ended up with a "CR" in a class that I thoroughly enjoyed.
A "CR" implies that someone passed the course. Frankly, given the excessive grade inflation in higher education, it isn't reasonable to consider that a D is a passing grade.
If a student truly desires to experiment with the liberal arts, I tend to believe that the person, especially at Bowdoin, is capable of doing the work necessary to earn a C- or better. Students who decide to take five courses, with one of them using the credit/D/fail system could be hurt as a result of excess work. However, my guess is that the majority of the people who will feel the wrath of this policy are the people who are trying to obtain a "cheap credit" at Bowdoin. (Yes, I know that was an oxymoron).
Christopher Jay Lacke, '88
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