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The Daily Wildcat

 

New grade replacement policy benefits more students

Kyle+Boyer%2C+a+sophomore+studying+electrical+and+computer+engineering%2C+studies+on+Sept.+30%2C+2015.
Victoria Pereira

Kyle Boyer, a sophomore studying electrical and computer engineering, studies on Sept. 30, 2015.

The revisions made to the Grade Replacement Opportunity policy beginning with the Spring 2017 term were sent to UA students via email on Jan. 10.

The changes to the policy were made to benefit a larger number of students and clarify the requirements of eligibility, according to Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Gail Burd.

As a policy designed to help qualifying students raise their GPAs, get off academic probation, or meet degree requirements, GRO is a short-term fix for students who need to retake a class to replace its grade.

A UA announcement sent to faculty and instructors stated that the changes were requested by the University Academic Advising Council and approved by the Undergraduate Council in April 2016.

The new change involves using “earned” units rather than the previously used “attempted” units to qualify a student for GRO, according to the email students received. Students will still need to have 59 or less “earned units” at the time of application to qualify for GRO.

The justifications for this change were that the phrase “attempted units” is confusing to students and has required explanation from advisors, as stated in the UA announcement to staff.

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“The addition to number five, ‘developmental courses,’ is justified because those pre-college courses do not count toward total degree units and do not factor into the GPA. Some students have lost a GRO attempt by repeating a course that doesn’t count toward the grade,” the announcement emailed to staff read. “By moving item number eight closer to the top of the list, students should pay attention to it! Many students have missed the GRO filing period because the deadline is early in the term.”

Using earned units benefits students as units that were previously included, such as units for courses with “W” and “E” grades, will no longer be counted in the calculation, according to the email sent to students.

“GROing my trigonometry class really helped me out,” said Sophie Meynard, a speech language and hearing sophomore. “A lot of the larger math classes are difficult for students who need individual help, so I think this change is beneficial to students whose grades suffer because of those kinds of issues.”

Spring semesters show an increase in students utilizing GRO.

“Fall 2016 it was about 384 students who were repeating a math course for GRO as best I can tell,” said Associate Professor from the Department of Mathematics, Robert Indik. “Spring it was 746 doing GROs,” he said.

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Meynard explained the process she used to take advantage of the GRO policy. “I ended up taking a 3-week online course during the summer,” she said. “To sign up for GRO I had to go onto UAccess and select GRO for it.”

Burd explained that the registrar will identify a course on a student’s schedule and notify them about any GRO opportunities.

“A student must have earned a C or below to use the GRO for that course,” she explained. “Only 3 GROs are permitted.”

The number of students utilizing GRO has generally been consistent in recent years.

“I believe when I first learned of [GRO], students did not have any restriction in terms of the number of units that they had taken already,” Indik said. “Some years ago a restriction was added that the students would not be able to GRO once they had attempted 60 units of UA classes.”

However, in the last 16 years, the amount of students using GRO has increased, according to Indik.

“I think this is mostly in proportion to enrollment,” he said. “The people who know more about the effect on students are the students themselves and their academic advisors. As teachers we are mostly unaware.”

The changes made to the policy are good news, according to Meynard.

“This will hopefully help a lot more students increase their grades by a little bit,” she said. “Now that the policy has been revised, I think students should be more aware of them.”

Indik agreed that overall, the changes made to the GRO policy are a good thing.

“However, students often think that it accomplishes more for them than it does. It only affects the UA official GPA, so for example if a student is later applying to medical school, they are likely to have to compute a GPA that does not include the benefit of the GRO,” he said. “I think the most recent change is very sensible. However, if it were up to me, I would not restrict the GRO option in terms of credits taken at all. I like the idea of redemption, and I do not think the risk that students might just blow off a class grade as a result is significant.”

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