OCU: Allow Pass/Fail for Fall 2020, Reconsider Final Exam Policy

OCU: Allow Pass/Fail for Fall 2020, Reconsider Final Exam Policy

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Avery Mahan started this petition to Oklahoma City University

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. This is no less true for academic institutions and their dedicated students. This semester, many students found themselves facing unprecedented circumstances that directly impacted their ability to perform academically. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had marked effects on students’ wellbeing. Additionally, October’s ice storms left hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans without power for extended periods of time, rendering students unable to learn remotely or otherwise. 


Despite the latter issue causing an even more truncated schedule by effectively removing a week of classes, exam content for many courses this semester remained largely unaltered. These combined circumstances caused many students to feel overwhelmed and underprepared with regard to their final examinations, and led some to underperform academically whereas previously they had been in good standing. Due to the lack of preparation for final examinations in the Fall 2020 semester, Oklahoma City University should reconsider its policy that a failed final examination automatically means that a course is failed regardless of previous academic standing. If this is not an available option, OCU should consider offering students the opportunity to retake the exam they failed either over winter break or during the Spring 2021 semester in order to receive credit for the course.


In the Spring 2020 semester, due to an unprecedented switch to remote learning for the safety of OCU’s students, OCU elected to allow students to opt for credit/no credit grading if they so desired. When viewing academic transcripts, the notes on the Spring 2020 term say “Credit/No credit grading was available to all students during the COVID-19 emergency”. Currently, with the United States’ COVID-19 numbers higher than ever before, it is clear that the COVID-19 emergency continues to be an ongoing crisis. Keeping in mind the continuous detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ wellbeing in tandem with the issues caused by October’s ice storms, it seems a logical step by OCU to extend grace to their students and allow them to opt into a credit/no credit grading system if they so choose. 


OCU’s allowance of students to choose a credit/no credit grading option would show that the university understands what their students are going through and that OCU is willing to make appropriate accommodations in light of the circumstances of the Fall 2020 semester. Additionally, the opportunity for remedial action with regard to final examinations would give students a chance to further prevail over the difficulties presented this semester.  It is the hope of many that OCU will make the gracious choice and listen to the voices of concerned parties. 

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