All ITP Announce Messages are archived here – http://itp.nyu.edu/help/announce/
June 23, 2008
To: ITP Returning Students
ITP has been rife with rumour this summer about grading. This e-mail
is intended to clarify the discussion.
We are moving to a pass/fail system of grading this fall beginning
with first year students — returning students will continue with
letter grading for this coming academic year only. We have posted
an FAQ below which is on the ITP website.
* Who will this effect? This only effects students starting
the program in the Summer or Fall of 2008. Students who started at
ITP getting letter grades will continue under that system.
* Why did you have to change it? In the non competitive
environment of ITP we found that the actual variation in grading was
not much more than is more clearly expressed in pass/fail. For the
collaborative, project based work at ITP it is difficult to very
precisely quantify those small variations and with such a diverse
faculty we found it difficult to maintain consistency between
classes. We found that the letter grading was misleading and
distracting without adding much value. For the students that did find
motivation and affirmation in grades, we want them to find better
sources of it. This decision was made after a great deal of thought
among the full-time and adjunct faculty, many ITP alumni among them.
* How will I be rewarded for doing extra work? The intrinsic
value of the work should motivate you. We found that our best
students seemed unconcerned with grades. As in the world you get
fired or you don’t, but people find many ways of distinguishing
themselves staying employed. Even for class assignments our students
quite often find the feedback and appreciation of audiences and users
a better reward or extraordinary work than a single professor’s opinion.
* How will my transcript look? We seldom have any request
for employers to look at your grades. For further study other
institutions are unimpressed with straight A’s from a graduate school
(unlike undergrad grades) and very used to Pass/Fail. Your portfolio
and recommendations are what they look at.
* What is the threshold for failing? Earning a C grade in
the previous system would be a failure in the new system. In the
prior system we said that you had to maintain a B average to stay in
the program. This system is a bit more strict in that you have to get
a B in the class to get credit for it.
* What does this mean for my scholarship? A pass equates to
a B average or better which is required for some scholarships. You
will have to get a pass in all your classes for scholarships that are
contingent on maintaining grades.
* Okay so then what got me a C in the old system? This will
depend on the structure of each class. In general missing more than
two classes or being chronically late, missing more than two small
assignments or one large assignment like the final project would be
clear cases. Poor effort and quality in all the required areas of the
class, for example participation, assignments, final projects is also
a reason for failure. Ultimately the quality of your efforts may be a
subjective judgment by the professor but usually with plenty of
* What happens if I fail a class? You do not get credit for
it and forfeit the tuition. If it is a required class you will need
to repeat it.
Chair and Arts Professor
Tisch School of the Arts
New York University
Tokyo Broadcasting System Chair