PASS/FAIL grading system for CSU during COVID-19

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The students of Charles Sturt University propose the university change their current grading system for all undergraduate degrees which have recently transitioned online during the COVID-19 epidemic to an optional PASS/FAIL system where fails are not recorded on their official transcript in response to the global crisis.  Increasing difficulty of education and assessments encourages stress within students leading them to resort in collusion. Transitioning online during a global crisis can prove stressful for students already impacted financially and mentally by COVID-19 . The Charles Sturt values "Insightful, Inclusive, Impactful and Inspiring" seem to be forgotten in a time they are most needed. The current grading system is not inclusive of the students needs and it is a shame that we, the students, need to bring insight of the stress and disrupt of COVID-19 to those in control.

It must be assumed that CSU is yet to follow the lead of other Australian universities such as The University of Tasmania and The University of Melbourne and competitive world class Universities such as Harvard, Colombia and Stanford with the fear that students may collude and cheat whilst working online thus compromising the establishments academic integrity. However, it must be noted that the current system further encourages such collusion due to academic stresses and the difficulties of studying at home. It is a fact made known to every student at the beginning of semester that statistically, their likelihood of success academically decreases as their attendance decreases. Being unable to attend lectures unfortunately puts majority of the students enrolled in university as risk of not performing to their full potential or worse, not succeeding at all. So why would the university put its students in such a compromising position for both their academia but subsequently their mental health?

As the weather gets colder, the academic stresses increase and the uncertainty of the future due to the virus looming, it is not uncommon for students to be feeling anxious and upset. To relieve the pressure many are experiencing we urge the university to reflect upon its values and the wellbeing of its students whilst it considers adopting many world class universities approach in the optional PASS/FAIL system during the COVID-19 epidemic, where fails are not recorded on students transcripts. We would further request that a decision on this measure is announced by the 5th of May 2020 to assist students in their studies and wellbeing as quickly as possible.