Pass/Fail System According to Mr. Levine

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Pass/Fail System According to Mr. Levine

Becca Johnson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The Madison Dodger Online sat down with Head of Guidance, Mr. Levine, to better understand the pass/fail system at MHS, which affects a student’s academic GPA and class rank.

Madison Dodger: What exactly is the pass/fail system?

Mr. Levine: The pass/fail system is a grading system that affords students the opportunity to get credit for a class without getting quality points. Quality points are the mathematical numbers that are used to compute a student’s GPA. So, a student still gets the credits but it doesn’t affect their GPA in a good way or a bad way.

Madison Dodger: When did MHS start using this system?
Mr. Levine: I’m not exactly sure when the system was put into place, but it was here when I started working here in November 2005, about seven years ago.

Madison Dodger: Why is it that some electives can be taken pass/fail and others can’t?
Mr. Levine: Generally speaking, electives that do not fall under the disciplines of the five major academic areas can be taken pass/fail. You can’t take an english elective pass/fail or a social studies elective pass/fail.

Madison Dodger: What are some advantages to the pass/fail system?
Mr. Levine: Let’s say a student has a 4.5 GPA, which is possible considering the quality-point system is scaled out of 5.3. Let’s say that kid is an orchestra student. The highest you can get in orchestra is a 4.3, which brings down the GPA. That’s one advantage to the system. This kid can stay in orchestra, and get credit, and the grade doesn’t bring up the GPA and in this case, it doesn’t bring down the GPA.

Madison Dodger: Some people claim that colleges don’t like to see pass/fail grades on a transcript. Is this true?
Mr. Levine: This is more of a subjective thing. The question is: what’s better for this student, having four Ps, and a 4.5 GPA, or three A+s and having a 4.399 GPA? This might bring down the class rank. It’s not an exact science, but most colleges look at things holistically, and I personally like to see students taking a class for a grade.

Madison Dodger: About how many students take advantage of the pass/fail system?
It’s not a large number. Students with good GPAs. I would say around 40 or 50 students schoolwide.

Madison Dodger: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Mr. Levine:The reason we don’t allow students to take physical education pass/fail anymore is because everyone has to take it for a grade, so it doesn’t hurt anyone or help anyone.

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