Truman revises class repeat and retake policy

A new repeat and retake policy that allows students to retake non-repeatable courses no matter what grade they received during the first attempt will go into effect this upcoming semester. However, the course will only count for credit and satisfy degree and graduation requirements once.

Truman State University’s Faculty Senate recently approved the new policy regarding both non-repeatable and repeatable courses.

When retaking repeatable courses, all attempts will be considered when calculating GPA, and all attempts can be counted for credit. A student can petition the registrar to replace a repeatable course grade with a higher grade if both attempts covered the same topic or if the student received a D or F. In the case of receiving a D or F, credit earned for the course will only be counted once.

Registrar Nancy Asher said students should still be aware that both course attempt grades will appear on their transcript, but only the highest grade will be used in GPA calculation. She said other schools and programs might recalculate the student’s GPA based on both attempt grades.

Political science professor John Quinn originally brought the new policy idea to Faculty Senate. He said he first came up with the idea of a new repeat and retake policy when advising students and working with students in the McNair Program. Under the old policy, when a student retook a class, both attempt grades were considered when calculating GPA, and Quinn said this hurt students who struggled in certain areas, and kept some from taking or retaking needed courses if they were on probation and were afraid of obtaining a low grade.

Quinn said Truman’s liberal arts mission encourages students to step outside their comfort zone and try courses from various fields, but the old policy created a bad incentive structure for people to work on their areas of weakness. He said the new policy should make it more comfortable for people to try something they don’t feel they’re very good at.

“Here at Truman, we’re all about measurement,” Quinn said. “Under our current policy, I thought to myself, ‘What is it we’re measuring?’ We’re not measuring learning. We’re measuring attempts at learning. I think we should measure what students learn, not how long they struggled in their learning.”

When writing the proposal, Quinn said he first raised the issue with his department, where they made suggestions and changes to the policy. After that, the proposal went through the Undergraduate Council and was then approved by the Faculty Senate. He said it took three years to get the proposal through all levels of governance. He said students supported the policy and wrote a letter in favor of it.

Quinn said the policy passed by Faculty Senate was more generous than what he originally had in mind. The original proposal only allowed grade replacement for D’s and F’s, but the policy that passed allows retakes for any grade earned.