Brainstorming and Body Paragraphs 

Should We Convert English 81 from a Credit/No Credit Class to a Graded Class?

                                   Pros                                                                                        Cons

Letter grades of a, b, c, d or f may give more info to students and others who review transcripts


Reduces pressure on students

Lettter grades might tell me more clearly how I performed at the end


Greater chance of getting a good grade since Cr would be equivalent of A, B, C or D—even D work would be a Credit.

Students might treat the class more seriously.


Eng 81 is a review of middle school or high school grammar, so the final report should be different from those of college level courses.

Instructors might treat the class more seriously


Allows students to place their emotional energy into studying for the course instead of worrying about a grade

A Cr would show no difference between A work or D work.

Students still need to meet requirements in order to receive Credit.

  Working thesis statement:

  English 81 should remain a Credit/No Credit course to increase students’ chances of success and to reduce unnecessary emotional pressure on students already struggling with basic writing skills.

  Working Topic Sentence for Body Paragraph 1 and supporting details:

      If academic success is measured by a passing mark, then the current Credit/No Credit system of English 81 should be the norm rather than the exception, for it makes succeeding easier than does a system offering letter grades.  Students earn a passing grade of “Credit” even if they have done only D-level work.  Thus, a student who passes but barely passes earns the same Credit grade as the student who excels.  While this fact may upset strong, high achieving students, it is a definite advantage for the struggling student. Anyone outside the class who pays attention to grades—a parent, guardian, teacher, or counselor—automatically views the Credit as a sign of success; a D, on the other hand, is passing but fails to produce much applause. Instead of the praise that a Credit may win, the D student is more likely to hear a consolation:  "Well, at least you didn't fail." Even a C to many is on the borderline; it is a grade many may settle for, but it often is not a grade of desire. Clearly, the generous Credit/No Credit evaluation with its wide latitude of acceptance cushions students who may need more time and assistance to learn the material taught in the class. 

  Working Topic Sentence for Body Paragraph 2 and supporting details:

        Students not only have increased chances of succeeding with the Credit/No Credit system but also spend less time worrying about grades.  Earning an A or B in a course usually means having to work hard; having to work hard usually produces a lot of anxiety. Eliminating the need to work for an A or B at the end of the course significantly reduces students’ frustration throughout the term.  Last semester, for example, I took an English class that awarded letter grades.  Every time the teacher returned a test, I calculated and recalculated my average.  I was always worried about keeping my grades to at least a B.  I even had nightmares about failing the course when my average dropped after a difficult test.  This semester, I am in a class that will give me a Credit at the end, and I hardly worry at all;  all I have to do is get the lowest passing grade. I pay more attention to what I am learning and less time to keeping up a high grade.  Instructors benefit too. They fret less when they do not have to deal with grade-conscious students. The “I’m getting a B. What can I do to get an A?” pressure on teachers is non-existent in the Credit/No Credit system.  When teachers do not have to worry so much about grading, they can pay more attention to teaching.  Indeed, the Credit/No Credit system is emotionally better for both students and faculty.