Face Off: Switch to pass/fail grades for this quarter

Emma Kress

Emma Kress

Emma Kress

As we are in this unprecedented time in the history of our school, it is in no way fair to expect students to continue to submit assignments for grades and take tests as they normally would, despite all the efforts of teachers to make eLearning as effective as possible.

The situation and circumstances of  the school are anything but normal currently, with all on-campus activities being shut down from mid-March until the end of the school year in May due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Because classes must meet online, as they can no longer meet in person, students have to take an entirely new approach to learning. Due to this shift in how students are able to attend school, classes should be pass/fail, rather than recording letter grades.

The global pandemic has affected students greatly and altered their entire lifestyle, as they are urged to practice social distancing and stay at home every day, while they used to spend most of their weekdays away from home at school.

If the students’ daily life has been changed by the school campus shutdown, then their way of schooling should as well, specifically their grading system. Although students are able to still complete assignments and learn to the best of their abilities on their own, eLearning days, especially for an extended period of time, are drastically different from in-school learning. It is much more difficult for students to successfully retain information without being taught directly by their teacher.

Even though classes can meet through the internet, it is much more difficult for students to communicate with their teacher with the same ease they would be able to if they were in the same classroom. This creates a possible barrier on a students’ ability to learn, so the grading system should be adjusted to accommodate this, by making classes pass/fail.

A pass/fail system for all semester grades would be beneficial because it values students’ ability to put in the work for their classes without penalizing them for being unable to perform well on tests whose subject matter they were unable to master by themselves.