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Taking a class Pass/Fail in High School

29happymom2629happymom26 Posts: 255Registered User Junior Member
edited February 2011 in Parents Forum
FreshmanDS hates Spanish. I think a lot of it is teacher related but he knows he has to do the 3rd year for sure. He isn't resisting that but I am worried about his future grade.

The pass/fail policy at his school is
Sign up for Pass/Fail before the end of 1st quarter.
Grade must be a 70% for a pass. (shows up regular percentage in on-line grade book)
At any time in the year, he can go back to a letter grade if requested. He would if he got a B+ or better. maybe a B...
Can't be in a core class and only once a year.

It seems like a win-win situation. He knows he will be done and can focus on his other classes.
This is the "huh?" part?
NCAA clearinghouse counts all "passes" as a "D" grade. Interesting but won't need NCAA
Some college may not accept this.
So it would be a very big deal if he didn't get credit for Spanish III. How do you read this and what does your high school do? Is this a bad idea all together?
Post edited by 29happymom26 on

Replies to: Taking a class Pass/Fail in High School

  • rocket6louiserocket6louise Posts: 3,391Registered User Senior Member
    I mean, he took two years of Spanish, so why does it matter if he takes a 3rd? I took two years of FL and I'm at Smith and had a classmate do the same who's at Cornell.
    So, I don't think he needs the 3rd year, and doing it at all seems fine to me

    It seems like a win-win. Most colleges I think would understand pursuing a class pass-fail if it allows him to focus on his other classes. Make sure his grades are SUPER strong in everything else and show he isn't slacking off, he's just pursuing spanish in a different way.

    I really doubt it'll be an issue
  • rodneyrodney Posts: 9,406Registered User Senior Member
    Isn't foreign language a "core class"?

    In our public HS, you can also take electives pass/fail, but FL is not considered an elective
  • 29happymom2629happymom26 Posts: 255Registered User Junior Member
    FL is an elective. They suggest 3 years (4 is better) of one language or 2 years of 2 languages. Spanish 1 was taken as a 8th grader in middle school.
  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Posts: 5,924Registered User Senior Member
    Unless having credit for this course has no bearing over whether or not he will need to take Spanish in college, I would be hesitant to take it Pass/Fail. I would also be hesitant if the "he knows he will be done and can focus on other classes" mentality could lead to slacking off too much and ending up with an F grade, which is something I know happens to college students who think "oh well, I can blow off studying for that test, I am taking it pass/fail anyway!"

    I don't think my high school does pass/fail. I would have been worried about how it would look on my transcript for admissions. But, I did take a semester of Spanish pass/fail in college and would not hesitate to do it again. It's definitely worth weighing the pros and cons if taking it P/F would significantly reduce his stress load for the term.
  • mihcal1mihcal1 Posts: 1,371Registered User Senior Member
    Our HS doesn't allow kids to take anything Pass/Fail except PE and ROP.
    Orchestra is bringing down D12's GPA. :(
  • 2collegewego2collegewego Posts: 2,583Registered User Senior Member
    One of my kids took a class pass/fail in high school and, to my surprise, had at least 2 liberal arts colleges call the guidance counselor to clarify why it had been done that way. My kid was taking a bunch of APs, working part-time and had a bunch of extracurriculars and this was a 5th or 6th credit in the subject (not a class that was needed to fulfill any school's requirement). YMMV
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,551Registered User Senior Member
    No P/F option in our system. I would be wary as more often than not P/F implies D or better. What if the student got a C? C is a perfectly respectable grade. I think it's fine for non-core classes but I personally don't think of language as a non-core elective. P/F in college "feels" different to me than a P/F in a high school core class and is not as uncommon as in high school. A LAC or school that has time to really analyze transcripts might be inclined to question it as 2collegewego mentions above. I have no knowledge how large university systems handle P/F in a high school transcript.
  • rodneyrodney Posts: 9,406Registered User Senior Member
    I guess I should clarify; our NJ public HS still uses weighted GPA's for class rank (only HS for miles around that still ranks)
    as a compromise years ago, they refused to eliminate class rank but agreed to allow art, music, industrial arts etc to be taken as a P/F so as to not lower GPA's of those in honors and AP's....anyone can do it though, once a semester only......

    It is on the school profile so colleges know the policy.....and no academic courses are permitted (even if they are the 10th science taken etc......)
  • APOLAPOL Posts: 1,774Registered User Senior Member
    IF money is an object for choosing which college to attend, then it is important to check what your state universities require for admittance. You can check either online or your child's guidance counselor....this decision to go P/F in a foreign language could affect their admittance.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Posts: 3,038Registered User Senior Member
    I think taking a language class pass/fail only encourages you to not work that hard in the language class, which makes it even more of a waste of space and time in your schedule. If you know there's no consequence to you not studying, nont doing homework, and not making more than a minimal effort in the class, then that is what you are going to do.

    I also think that colleges will not be that sympathetic to a pass/fail for high school students, particularly in a non-AP class where the only reason he's doing pass/fail is that he "hates" Spanish. If he hates Spanish and wants to focus on other things, then he should probably just not take the 3rd year of Spanish. Selective colleges often don't even recommend that a student drop an AP class unless they think they can't get at least a C. If your son thinks realistically he might get a B or B + and then switch back to a letter grade later in the year, then he should just start of doing it for a letter grade, period.

    Yes, 3 years is usually recommended, but if he gets very good grades in other areas then it will make less of an impact on his applications. Not every student has to look exactly the same, or take the exact same number of courses. For example, I only took 3 years of math, when 4 (or math up to Calculus) is recommended by most college prep high schools, including mine.
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