SWARTHMORE, Pa. (CBS) – All incoming freshman at a Delaware County Liberal Arts college are taking their classes this semester on a pass-fail basis only.
It’s been that way for first-year students at Swarthmore College for more than 45 years.
Diane Anderson, who’s the associate dean of academic affairs, says the college staff believes the classes with no grades formula helps students make the transition into higher education:
“It gives them a chance to go to our various programs here on learning how to study language at college, learning how to study the sciences at college, learning how to participate in a college classroom, and then practice those skills during a pass-fail semester.”
She says it also gives the freshmen freedom to explore:
“They can take a risk. They can explore the liberal arts. I just recently heard of a student who was taking costume design and never would have done something like that working with her hands.”
Anderson says while some colleges and universities have abandoned the practice for a variety of reasons, Swarthmore is staying the course:
“We’ve talked about it at various times over the years, and yet most faculty agree and students agree that it is a good way to start Swarthmore College.”
She believes it has helped many students build a foundation for success.