Transition Bentley University to a Pass/Fail Grading System for the Semester

Transition Bentley University to a Pass/Fail Grading System for the Semester

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Bentley University Student started this petition to Bentley University Community and

     Given the recent concerns surrounding the outbreak of the virus, COVID-19, Bentley University announced that they would be transitioning to online classes for the weeks adjacent to an already extended spring break. As students of Bentley, we are proud and thankful to know that our university prioritizes student’s well-being and safety above everything else. As a result of Bentley transitioning to online classes for the short term, and potentially for an extended period of time, we believe that the university ought to offer students the option of taking their classes as a pass/fail course while simultaneously counting towards their major requirements.
     Primarily, switching to a pass/fail grading system would alleviate additional stress imposed on students by the spread of COVID-19. Although online education platforms are the best solution given the current circumstances, these platforms present their own unique set of challenges that are independent of a classroom environment:

     1. Domestic and international students are subject to different time zones, preventing them from accessing classes and resources such as office hours.

     2. Financial difficulties may lead students to not have access to expensive textbooks conventionally found for free in the library or access to a strong internet connection needed to run online classes. For example, recent studies have shown that almost 20% of students have difficulties with continued access to technology.

     3. Students are void of on-campus resources such as counselors and academic support staff in addition to mental health resources that have been critical to many in the Bentley community.

Overall, students who are taking classes online are more likely to face additional problems associated with the introduction of online classes into one’s curriculum. Indeed, researchers at UC Davis have shown that students working in an online format are 11% less likely to pass their classes. Transitioning to pass/fail classes gives students the opportunity to alleviate some of the additional stress and inconvenience evoked by online classes. As such, high profile universities such as MIT and Georgetown have already transitioned to such a scheme further highlighting the feasibility of such a proposal. Given the abrupt timing of COVID-19 and its exponentially growing impact on not only the Bentley community but the world at large, all we ask is for the university to consider this proposal to allow students to take courses on pass/fail credit without penalty.  

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1. Technology Problems And Student Achievement Gaps: A Validation And Extension Of The Technology Maintenance Construct - Amy L. Gonzales, Jessica Mccrory Calarco, Teresa Lynch, ." Communication Research (2020):. Web. 15 Mar. 2020.

2. Study-Online-Community-College-Courses-Found-To-Be-Ineffective." USA TODAY. N. p., 2020. Web. 15 Mar. 2020.

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