One-Fourth of College Uses Pass-Fail Option

Just over a quarter of Harvard and Radcliffe undergraduates--1646 students--are taking one of their courses this Fall under the new pass-fail option.

About 315 undergraduates, some 11 fewer than last semester, are taking independent studies despite last spring's liberalization of rules concerning admission and instructors.

'Fine Showing'

"A fine showing," Archie C. Epps, assistant dean of Harvard College, yesterday called the pass-fail enrollment. The figure is "high--given all the other things people have to do--Gen Ed and concentration requirements," he said.

Music I has attracted the most pass-fail students -- 154--of any Faculty cvourse. Fine Arts 13 runs a close second with 153, and Economics 1 is third with 81.

With nearly half of its 319 students taking the course pass-fail, Music I also leads in percentage among courses with a pass-fail enrollment of 25 or more. Again Fine Arts 13 runs second, with 37 per cent, and Social Sciences 122, with 24 per cent, is third.

Courses with at least ten pass-fail students account for about 70 per cent of the total pass-fail enrollment of 1646.

There is "some evidence," Epps said yesterday, that students are entering areas where they have little experience by taking courses pass-fail--one of the Faculty's goals in approving the program.

Epps said that he did not yet know whether progress is being made toward the Faculty's other goal--reducing the pressure for grades--but that some study of this question would be made before pass-fail comes up for re-evaluation in 1971.

Epps emphasized that changes to or from pass-fail in full courses cannot be made at mid-year.

Independent Study Open

In citing the lack of enrollment increase in independent study, Epps said that his "impression is that there has been no significant change in the rank groups," despite the Faculty's decision last spring to open independent study to all upperclassmen. Previously only juniors and seniors in Group III or above were eligible.

"The caliber" of independent study programs is "extraordinarily high" this year, Epps said. He cited the 123 students--39 per cent of those in independent study--who are counting their independent work toward concentration.

Of 18 students taking independent studies in African and Afro-American studies, "only five" are using the temporary rules which allows them to study with instructors in colleges and universities around Boston, Epps said. He declined to comment on this figure.