- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Beginning fall semester 2014, with the newly admitted class of 2018, Wellesley first-year students will have a new way of measuring their progress through their first semester of classes with the shadow grading policy.
In December 2013, the College’s Academic Council voted to approve the shadow grading policy for first-year students for an initial period of four years, followed by evaluation. These students will receive pass/no pass grades in all of their courses for the first semester of their first year. The students themselves will be given a report of the letter grades that they would have received—"shadow grades"—but these will not appear on their official transcripts and will not be released outside the College.
This policy provides first-year students with the opportunity to learn about the standards for academic achievement at Wellesley and to assess the quality of their work in relation to these standards. It further enables them to use their first semester to focus on intellectual engagement and inspiration and to learn how to grow as a learner in college.
Sound liberating? That’s the idea. “When grades become the object of learning rather than learning itself, students are engaged in a form of goal displacement,” Professor of Sociology Lee Cuba told Wellesley magazine in a feature for the 2014 Winter issue (“High Marks for No Marks,” p. 6). As the article reported, Cuba’s longitudinal study of students at Wellesley and six other New England colleges found that academic achievement and engagement are negatively correlated—i.e., the more time students spend thinking about getting an A, the less time they’re spending thinking about what they’re really learning. The research of Cuba and his colleagues has informed Wellesley’s new shadow grading policy, as the College joins other institutions such as MIT and Swarthmore College who have similar practices.
Wellesley in the News
Cheering Boston Marathon competitors as they pass Wellesley's campus is one of the oldest and most beloved of College traditions. In response to 2013 Marathon events, the 2014 Scream Tunnel promises to be the most powerful yet.April 18, 2014
Marshall I. Goldman Professor of Economics Kristin Butcher '86 lends her expertise to the news analysis of the most recent jobs report from the government.April 7, 2014
In an unusual move, two common ravens have built a nest on a Wellesley building. Science faculty and technology staff launched Ravencam to record the birds' behavior at the nest for scientific purposes and to stream live online for observation by anyone on the Internet.April 4, 2014
This newest official social media channel tells the visual story of Wellesley to those new to it, and will be a forum for sharing unique or iconic views of the College to those who already know and love it.April 17, 2014
Alumnae, students, and others convened recently in Tower Court to dicuss two related experiences: being a student of African descent at Wellesley in the 1950s, and taking part in a project collecting oral histories about that time and place.April 16, 2014
The MIT Emergency Medical Services team, including Wellesley volunteer Kat Goldsmith '16, received the first annual Collier Medal from MIT in recognition of their excellent service to the community.April 15, 2014