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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Gates OKs first-year grade exclusions

University President Robert M. Gates announced Wednesday that he approved the implementation of a first-year grade exclusion rule, which allows students to discount up to three grades from their cumulative Grade Point Ratio (GPR).
The grade exclusion policy will go into effect during the spring semester of 2005. Seniors graduating in May can exercise the grade exclusion from Feb. 14-28. All other students will be permitted to exclude grades on March 1 and can choose to exclude a grade at any time prior to submitting their application for graduation.
The exclusion can be applied to any grade of D, F or U that a student received within his first calendar year at Texas A&M, but is only for students classified as being enrolled in college for the first time. The A&M office of Institutional Studies and Planning classifies a student as “first time in college” if he is an undergraduate, degree-seeking student who has not enrolled previously at a junior college or other university. Students who received college credit through testing or dual-credit courses in high school, however, would still be eligible for the usage of grade exclusion.
Student Body President Jack Hildebrand said the policy helps incoming freshmen while still retaining the value of an A&M degree.
“(The policy) saves a student who has a rough first year, but after that, they are going to be earning their degree,” he said.
To exercise grade exclusion, students must meet with their adviser for approval. Excluded grades will not count toward a student’s completed hours or satisfy degree requirements.
President of University Advisers and Counselors Lyle Slack said the policy was designed to help students who started college in the wrong major.
“The first year is when the most problems occur,” he said. “People go into one major, and after a year of classes, transfer to another major. Why should students be burdened with bad decisions?”
Slack said it is appropriate that the policy is only for first-year students.
“This helps students get past the crunch time, so that they can make better decisions,” he said. “You would hope that a sophomore would have learned to play the game here well after a year.”
Justin Wolfshohl, a senior biomedical sciences major, said the policy is unfair and hurts those students who make C’s.
“That person who failed is actually rewarded, (he) can exclude that (grade and) retake the course,” Wolfshohl said, “whereas the person who worked harder to get the C does not have the option to exclude the grade.”
Hildebrand said Gates received input from faculty and students and reviewed many options before making the decision to implement the policy.
“If students have any concerns about this, they need to send me an e-mail and let me know what they think,” Hildebrand said. “It wasn’t an easy decision at all.”
Wolfshohl said that he hopes the University will take into consideration his suggested alternate to the grade exclusion policy: the extended Q-drop policy, which would allow students to Q-drop up to three classes up until the day before finals.
“(Grade exclusion) is an effort to make people feel better about their GPR,” Wolfshohl said. ” If (it) passes, we will see a tremendous inflation in average GPRs. This university is not about making people feel good about themselves. It’s about building leaders and allowing students to step up to challenges. Let’s not cheapen that.”

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