UMD extends course withdrawal deadline in lieu of pass/fail option

The University of Maryland's administration building. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

In lieu of implementing a pass/fail grading option similar to the one offered last semester, the University of Maryland is extending the deadline to withdraw from a course until Nov. 30, according to a campuswide email from the school’s provost.

The announcement comes after more than 7,000 people signed a petition for a pass/fail option due to COVID-19.

A withdrawal shows up on a student’s transcript, but does not affect their GPA. 

“It is in the best long-term interest of our students to not make that change again,” Provost Mary Ann Rankin wrote in the email.

Rankin wrote that a pass/fail grading system again would have “a number of negative outcomes.” The transcript would not accurately reflect a student’s mastery of the material, and students may not be prepared for subsequent higher-level coursework, she wrote. It might even impact post-graduation plans, like graduate school or employment, Rankin wrote. 

Students may withdraw from up to 4 credits, Rankin wrote. They may contact their academic advisor if they need to drop more than one course. 

Rankin encouraged students to reach out to their instructor if they are having difficulties with a class, or to look for additional resources on the university’s tutoring website. 

Students will not be happy with the decision, said Student Government Association President Dan Alpert. 

“I know it’s what students need right now. It’s why I’ve been advocating for it,” Alpert said. 

While students must recognize there are consequences for taking classes pass/fail, it is up to the students to make sure they are making a right and informed decision, Alpert said. 

“There’s consequences for any adaptation to any written policy,” he said. “ I believe the provost, and the provost office, could have done more for students in this time.” 

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