Department to Propose No Grades for Gov 99
The board of examiners of the Government Department proposed last Thursday that Government 99, senior tutorial, be made an ungraded course for credit. According to Arthur A. Maass, professor of Government, the suggestion will probably be approved at the next meeting of the Department.
Once approved by the Department, the proposal would be submitted to the Committee on Educational Policy and then to the Faculty next fall. Maass added that if the proposal were enacted, it would probably not apply to the Class of '66, since such legislation is rarely retroactive.
Maass also said that there is "speculation" in the Department of a substantive change in sophomore tutorial. This change would make tutorial more nearly uniform for all sophomores, and its major aim would be to introduce the student to various approaches to political science, Maass noted that this would give the student a sounder basis for choosing an approach to junior tutorial.
Isaac Kramnick '59, who will be head tutor in Government next year, said that the basic reason for the projected change in the grading of senior tutorial is that the grade in Gov 99 is usually super-flous. "The grade has stood all these years because the official description of the course has been the thesis and material in the field. This has been a euphemism for many years for the thesis and a certain amount of cramming for general examinations," Kramnick added. He noted that tutors "either send in an A-" or try to predict the thesis grade.
The proposal has thus far met with little opposition, Kramnick said, and only one counter-proposal has been presented. This suggestion would have made the Gov 99 grade like the Gov 98 grade, which is based half on the tutor's grade and half on the junior essay.
Most students agree that the grade as it stands is meaningless, but many express concern with the impression, that an ungraded course would make on graduate schools other than Harvard. One junior objected to the change because "it's the one A I can be sure of getting at Harvard."