Monday, February 27, 2006

New Retake Policy Announced -- Rewards Failure

Steve Szydlik posted the following information to the COLS list today:

"New Repeat Policy for Fall 2007
Beginning in Fall 2007, the University's undergradate repeat policy will change. Undergraduate students will be able to register for repeated classes at their regular registration date; they will no longer need to wait till 30 days before classes begin. However, undergraduates will only be able to repeat classes in which they received a CD or lower grade. Graduate students should contact their program or Graduate Studies Office regarding their repeat policy."

The new policy seems to add incentives for failure. If a student does not get a really low grade in the class, they will not be allowed to retake it. Perverse incentives for the college.

I am personally more upset about the removal of the 30 day rule. Forcing students who want to retake to wait until those who haven't taken the classes have a chance is a really good idea. Now, more seats will be taken up by students who have failed in previous semesters. It really punished students who are earlier in their career to benefit students who have not been able to handle the course earlier.

Zimmerman had often expressed the position that the 30 day rule was very important to him, but it seems to have disappeared with nary a whimper.

How was this decision made, anyway? Did the faculty senate vote for this? I don't remember getting any information about this sort of change. Perhaps this is just another moment of "shared governance" at UWO, where the administration changes the rules without bothering to tell the whole faculty.

Let's continue the dumbing down of Oshkosh--it should keep our retention numbers up and that is what is all about, after all!


Janine said...

I agree --- the rule change is inadequate. Those that fail the first class should not be allowed to register ahead of someone who is taking the class for the first time.

Bryan L. Bain said...
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Bryan L. Bain said...

While I do not have the exact dates in front of me, a new repeat policy was approved at the end of 03-04 AY or beginning of 04-05 AY, by both the Faculty Senate and Senate of Academic Staff.

I am not in favor of the current policy ("30 day rule") nor am I in favor of the new policy with respect to only allowing a repeat in coursework w/ a CD or lower grade, unless with prior approval.

I feel students should have the option to repeat coursework once, regardless of previous grade. A policy such as this is more consistent with our peer institutions.


Lammers said...

I believe that the thinking behind the change in registration date was that students who have "fallen" need to "get back on the horse" as quickly as possible. Not sure I agree, but I believe that was the thinking.

If resources were not limited, I think we could have such a policy. But right now, resources are tight. Everyone should get a *chance.* If you blow that chance, I say you go to the end of the line. You certainly should not be able to elbow out a person who hasn't had his or her chance yet.

The restriction to CD or worse grades may have been intended as a way of reducing the number of repeaters. I think it was ill-conceived and will have unintended consequences. I could easily see pits half-empty by mid-term as students figure, "No way I can make B now -- better get an F and try next semester."

Lake Winneblogo said...

Brian tells us that the faculty senate approved this sometime last year.

Where was the public discussion then? Many of us would have complained vocally while this policy was being discussed. And then to come up with this perverse compromise makes matters worse.

It is another example of the absolutely pathetic nature of faculty strength on this campus.

The faculty senate caved on this issue with nary a peep. . .

S.B. said...

It was approved three years ago, actually. I'm planning on getting to the bottom of it for next week's A-T.

Bryan L. Bain said...

I found the dates. The new repeat policy was approved by the Senate of Academic Staff on 04/08/04, Faculty Senate 11/18/03 (perhaps that is supposed to be 04?), Provost's Administrative Staff February 2005 and Chancellor Wells February 2005. This comes directly from the "Bluesheet for Programs" sheet.