The Pass/Fail Dilemma

I’ve been on a rampage over the past week on social media decrying the need for any school to give students “grades” this spring. In the midst of all that we’re going through as a country and even as a world, As, Bs, 92s, 87s and Cs, seem pointless. 

No teacher who is new to teaching online can grade as fairly as they are accustomed to. No student who is new to taking classes online can offer consistent maximum effort on a digital platform while being distracted and possibly confused. And most of all, let’s not forget that we, all of us, are in a CRISIS and have had to make a ton of life adjustments that are disruptions to our normal routines. This COVID-19 thing is the epitome of unfairness and uncertainty.

These are two words often used to discuss college admissions……..

There is mounting evidence that suggests that not every home is created equal in regards to learning environments. Some students live in large homes with multiple wi-fi enabled devices, many live in smaller homes or apartments with one computer, if at all, and it must be shared amongst siblings and possibly parents trying to work from home.

Is it fair that these kids get graded on their lack of access to certain technologies or time on a computer? With so many teachers admitting to being uncomfortable teaching online from their own homes with their own kids running around needing help too, it’s just a mess. With so many variables and so much, yes, uncertainty about how to forge ahead, let’s give the grades a break. Pass or Fail for spring 2020 and I’m sure colleges will understand. This does not penalize high achieving kids who do well. No, it levels the playing field for all people who are enduring an unprecedented time in history. That means all of us.

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