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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA changes exam and withdrawal policies for the fall

Rebecca Marie Sasnett
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / Arizona Summer Wildcat Morgan Meyer, a communication junior, recieves paperwork for her math test from Brittany Brown, a microbiology senior and receptionist, before heading into an exam room in University Information Technology Services on Friday. Under revised policies beginning in the fall, students who want to take the College Level Examination Program are no longer restricted by credit limits.

The UA is changing three policies effective this fall regarding special examinations and withdrawing from courses.

Students who want to take the College Level Examination Program, an exam used to receive credit for a course without taking the course, no longer need to have fewer than 55 units of credit at the UA under the CLEP policy revision.

Before this policy change, students who wanted to take the CLEP exam were often unable to receive credit because they had already exceeded the 55-unit limit, said Roxie Catts, director of the Advising Resource Center and coordinator of undergraduate academic advising.

Catts said the former policy restricted the exam to freshmen and sophomores. According to Catts, there was confusion with whether the 55-unit limit was in relation to transfer credit or university credit.

“It just became a tangled mess,” Catts said.

According to Catts, transfer students were negatively affected by the previous policy because they often had more than 55 units of credit. The Office of the Registrar was supportive of the policy revision since they dealt with students who took the exam, Catts said.

“[The exam] is a great option for students who want the possibility of not having to take a class,” said Leah Chavez, program director of the UA Testing Office.

According to Chavez, there has been a steady increase in the number of students who take the CLEP exam. She said it will take time to see the effects of the policy change.

Under the undergraduate course drop and withdrawal policy revision, students will also have until the 10th week of the semester to drop a course without instructor or dean approval. Before this policy revision, students who wanted to drop a course from their schedule needed professor approval and a dean’s approval after the eighth week.

Gail Burd, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, said the previous policy was not always consistent among colleges and majors. She said this policy revision is student-friendly because students have the ability to drop a single course up until the 10th week of the semester.

Burd said students will need college approval to drop a course after the 10th week. Students will not be allowed to drop a course during the last two weeks of the semester.

After the first two weeks of the semester, if a student drops a course, a grade of a W will appear on their transcript and according to Burd, there is an 18-unit maximum for dropping from a course. Students will also be charged a $25 fee for each course they drop after the first week of classes.

“We wanted to make sure there’s not a lot of hoarding [with classes],” Burd said about the drop fee and withdrawal unit maximum.

Burd also said the UA wants to encourage students to drop courses as soon as possible so there are available spots in classes for other students to take.

There were some challenges with students and faculty because of this new policy, Burd said. Students do not like that a W grade appears after two weeks while university faculty do not like having less control with students dropping courses.

Burd said she sees this policy revision as a compromise between both the students and faculty at the university.

Students who want to withdraw from all courses will now have to complete an online withdrawal form by the second week of classes with the complete withdrawal policy revision. This online form is a way for the university to collect information about why students are withdrawing completely, according to Burd.

Students who file a complete withdrawal will receive a “withdrawal complete” or WC for each course on their transcript under this policy revision. In the previous policy, professors could assign a “withdrawal pass” or a “withdrawal fail” depending on the student’s grade at the time they dropped all courses, Burd said.

“We do want to be sensitive to students who have a legitimate reason for wanting to leave,” Burd said.

Even though students are able to withdraw completely without approval from professors or colleges, Burd encourages students to meet with their advisers before doing so.

According to Burd, the timeline for dropping courses during a semester is similar to policies at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. The consistency in deadlines among state schools was a factor in the decision for this withdrawal policy revision, Burd said.

“Policy changes that impact students never happen quickly — nor should they ever,” Catts said.

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