Topic

Pass-Fail Grading

446 petitions

This petition won 2 weeks ago

Petition to Rice Administration and Faculty, Rice University

Pass/Fail Grading Option at Rice University

On March 12, Rice University students were hit with an abrupt shift in policy as the COVID-19 situation proceeded to change rapidly; the dean of undergraduates announced that all classes would be moved online, and that, with few exceptions, all students must move off campus by the end of the day on March 25. In light of this announcement, some domestic students had already left for their “Early Spring Break,” and they were now urged to not return to campus to gather their personal belongings, including school materials. Many international students have needed to remain on campus due to travel restrictions, awaiting news that they could safely travel to their home countries and worrying about their families back home. Additionally, students who face financial insecurities and have not stayed on campus have had to navigate the process of moving home to environments that might not be conducive to learning due to unreliable wireless connections, lack of academic support, and other hardships. Some of them are anxiously wondering about the state of their on-campus jobs and whether they’ll be able to financially support themselves without the money they earn at Rice. As Rice students, we are all concerned about our health, the wellbeing and health of our family and friends, jobs, research, graduation, and many other factors amidst this COVID-19 crisis, all of which impair our ability to learn. We, as students, recognize how incredibly difficult a decision it was for administration and faculty to shift to all-online instruction, and we thank the University for placing our safety above all else. We also greatly appreciate the University’s action to provide housing for those who need it, to offer financial assistance to those moving out, and to aid those who experience technology insecurities so they can participate in online classes. We would like to stress the impact COVID-19 has thrust on students’ wellbeing at this time since we all are experiencing concern for health, potential food/financial insecurities, a rapid change in environment, lack of previous academic support resources, and immense anxiety. Given that COVID-19 has forced all classes to be conducted online, we believe that the appropriate course of action that the University should dually conduct is to enforce fitting changes in grading policy: one vital change that we request is to make all classes have the option of being pass/fail, and yet still count for respective major/minor/concentration requirements, with the addition of relevant notation on every student’s transcript that alludes to the global pandemic’s influence on grades in the spring semester of 2020. On March 13, 2020, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that they would be transitioning to their alternate grading policy, which is a Pass/No Record policy. On March 15th, Northwestern University published its update for academics during finals season to make all final examinations optional, opting instead to give students their final grades based on their contributions in the year thus far, and that they can pursue to shift their grades from a “quality assessment” (a letter grade) to Pass/Fail in the spring quarter, with the consultation of their academic advisors. Northwestern also ensured that language on every student transcript points to the fact that “a global pandemic in winter and spring quarters 2020 required significant changes to coursework and led to unusual enrollment patterns and grades.” As of March 17, 2020, other peer institutions who have adopted similar policies include, but are not limited to: Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, and Smith College. Several schools are currently considering this policy due to student activism. Transitioning to pass/fail grading would help to drastically reduce student stress to counteract the additional anxieties caused by COVID-19. There exists many difficulties and barriers to online coursework during this abrupt, taxing period. For example, time zones remain a huge barrier--students who live in different areas of the world and country will be restricted in partaking in class and speaking to their professors during mutually-appropriate hours. Additionally, students now face financially difficult times, unreliable or limited access to the Internet, limited access to quiet study spaces, and the already overwhelmingly difficult transition to conducting classes online, attempting to learn without the structure and stability received from being on campus prior to the public health crisis. The unexpected, unavoidable home responsibilities and expectations will and already disturb students’ abilities to complete their classwork and studies to their best capabilities: jobs, taking care of family members, and helping with other household duties consist of a few roadblocks students must face. On another note, with the suspension of in-person activities, Rice’s stress-coping mechanisms that exist on campus remain less available to students. And academically, many students rely on in-person office hours and review sessions for in-depth learning. Students chose Rice for unique reasons, and those decisions all were influenced by Rice’s intimate in-person teaching methods. Hence, creating an opt-in pass/fail option will provide the much needed relief to students in this unexpected turn in the semester.  In this vein, we would also like to propose the option to maintain letter grading OR pass/fail with pass/failing still counting towards all degree requirements. We recognize that some students need letter grades to be eligible for Medical School or Law School or otherwise, and they would not like to hinder their abilities to seek higher education. Therefore, as a solution, we ask that all published Spring 2020 final grades, be they pass/fail or letter, are denoted an Asterisk to indicate that the learning environment was disrupted due to COVID-19. We hope that the University enacts this change to the benefit of the entire student community and allows students to pass/fail courses for credit without any penalty. We believe this is of benefit to students and faculty as we adapt in this uncertain time of global pandemic. 

Kendall Vining
3,526 supporters
This petition won 3 months ago

Petition to The University of Georgia, Jere Morehead

Offer an OPT-IN Pass/Fail Grading Scale to UGA Community due to COVID-19

(USG wide petition sign here: bit.ly/PassFailUSG) On March 12, 2020, the University of Georgia announced a temporary two week suspension of classes and informed students they must not return to campus within those two weeks if they traveled outside of the country during spring break. On March 16, 2020, it was announced that rather than return to in-person instruction, the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester would transition to an online format. Similarly, other schools within the University System of Georgia made the same announcements. We, as students, are grateful to our schools prioritizing the health and safety of the entirety of our communities when making this difficult decision. However, given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe UGA should strongly consider the option of transitioning to an opt-in pass/fail grading scale in which all classes would still count for major, minor, prerequisite, or concentration requirements. We believe this decision will be in the best interest of all of the members of the UGA Community.  This transition to online curriculum poses many personal issues that we know the University system is working to address, but many students may not have access to the internet when they return home or have their own computer. Some cable companies end their service lines in rural areas, so those students will be at a disadvantage and unable to have access to their course work. Moreover, more and more public libraries are closing everyday, meaning there are even less resources available for many of our peers, especially those who rely on UGA's libraries for computers, printing, internet, and copies of textbooks. Some of our fellow Bulldawgs may go home to financially difficult times, unexpected home responsibilities, and may not be able to find a quiet study space. Additionally, despite an application process to stay on campus, many students will be displaced in regards to their living situation and may not have a safe place to return to or will be required to travel around the world and risk possible exposure to COVID-19 to return home.  For the courses that have announced that instruction will be done via Zoom at their scheduled time in Standard Eastern Time, many students will face difficulties with being able to attend virtual lectures from different time zones around the globe. The students who will struggle with time zone changes may also have difficulty contacting professors or visiting their virtual office hours, which could prove detrimental to the students who rely on in-person office hours and review sessions for a better understanding of the course material. The reality is, there are many classes that will not translate to an online environment, including (but not limited to) the following: studio art courses, labs, higher level math courses, philosophy courses, physical education classes, freshman year odyssey classes, foreign language classes, e.t.c.. Many students will not have access to support resources such as academic tutoring that may be too difficult and/or expensive to attain without University resources. Additionally, many of our professors, while incredible resources and teachers, have little to no experience with using online courses. Hence, creating an opt-in pass/fail option will provide the much needed relief to students in this unexpected turn in the semester.  The benefits of implementing a pass/fail grading scale are significant. This semester is unconventional and will undoubtedly see our stress levels rise as COVID-19 and the related systemic shifts continues to spread. To continue with a normal grading scale would be unfair to those who will inevitably have loved ones get sick and possibly pass away and to those who have socioeconomic disadvantages that will limit their academic abilities by not attending in-person instruction. It is much more fair to students that graduate schools and employers see "P's" on students' transcripts  than potentially risking students getting grades well below their GPA potentially negating all the hard work they have done. Implementing an opt-in pass / fail grading scale will enable students to maintain an impressive academic record without destroying their employment and graduate prospects. The benefits of a pass/fail grading system extend to the professors as well. With a decent population of UGA’s professors being older than the at-risk age (50+), it is highly probable that they could be infected and, if so, their focus should be on their recovery, not grading assignments. During this trying time, we think it is important that there is a degree of leniency with grades, which is why we think the opt-in pass/fail grading scale that is being adopted by more universities is so important. We have all worked hard this semester, but in the midst of a pandemic, it is vital that we remember that now is the time we should do everything we can to help people in any conceivable capacity. Especially for those with high GPA’s this semester, apprehension regarding an opt-in pass/fail grading scale is understandable; however, some students with high GPA’s also have socioeconomic disadvantages, and they will go home and could lose their high GPA because they do not have access to computers or other resources. There are so many people who will go home to abusive and toxic homes. No students or professors should be penalized in the midst of this calamity, and this option will be a great way to alleviate all of our anxieties.  Thus, the most significant benefit of the opt-in grading scale other universities have begun implementing: Each individual student has the option to partake in this alternative grading scale based on their circumstances. We acknowledge that some students need letter grades to be eligible for medical school or law school or otherwise and would not like to hinder their ability to seek higher education. We would like to request that all pass/fail grades provide an asterisk denoting at the bottom that the grade change was due to COVID-19 which prevented in-person instruction. There is a concern that these grades will not be accepted by law schools, medical schools, or grad schools, but over the past few days institutions including Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, UC Berkeley School of Law, Cornell Law School (https://www.law.com/2020/03/18/law-schools-adopt-pass-fail-grades-as-they-move-online-amid-covid-19/?slreturn=20200218233331).  We, as students, recognize how difficult a decision it was to move to online instruction and thank our Universities for putting our safety above all else, but we hope that the University of Georgia follows the action of other prestigious universities (including M.I.T., Duke, Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, the City Universities of New York, Smith College, and Middlebury College) and enacts this change for the overall benefit of the student and faculty community (https://www.thedp.com/article/2020/03/pass-fail-penn-mit-georgetown-smith).    Duke University Pass/Fail Petition George Washington University Pass/Fail Petition University of Florida Pass/Fail Petition Columbia University and Barnard Pass/Fail Petition Boston University Pass / Fail Petition Georgetown Pass/Fail Petition University of Alabama      

olivia richardson
10,321 supporters
Update posted 4 months ago

Petition to Association of American Medical Colleges, American Medical College Application Service

No MCAT for 2021 Cycle

ATTN:Association of American Medical CollegesAAMC Board of Directors (Chair: Joseph Kerschner, M.D.) AAMC Member Institutions CC: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Texas Health Education Service We are a concerned group of premedical students writing today to request that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) consider the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) canceled for the 2020 testing year, and that no MCAT scores be transmitted for any applicant to the medical school class of 2025 (members of the 2021 application cycle). The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of challenges that has worsened the disparities already present in the medical school admissions process. While we recognize that the AAMC was at no fault for the emergence of a novel coronavirus that spread in an unprecedented manner, they are responsible for the creation of a cohort of physicians, scientists, and physician-scientists who can help lead us through similar public health crises in the future. However, instead of accommodating for the changes and dangers present in applicant’s lives, the AAMC elected to shorten the MCAT exam (which, as a result, allows applicants less time per question), removing the lunch break, and removing the tutorial period (which is used for students to write down formulas they will need on the exam). In addition, they required students to log into their rescheduling student from 6 am-noon EST on May 7, 2020, only to have their system crash. At 2:30 pm, when the system did reopen, a wait of up to 12 hours quickly formed. Students, some of whom had woken up at 3 am local time to register, spent their entire day attempting to register for an exam that could determine their career, only to find that there were no seats left in their immediate area. Therefore, they had to register for exams several hours from their homes, effectively negating social distancing and shelter in place orders. The number of examinees affected by this will continue to grow, as students with approved accommodations were told that they will not get to select a date and time until at least Monday, May 11, 2020, after the non-disabled students. It is inevitable that these students, many of whom are receiving accommodations due to a disability that results in an immunocompromised state to travel. We are additionally concerned about the following factors affecting this year's MCAT exam and admissions cycle: The assertion that the exam was standardized because examinees had “about” the same amount of time per question, despite it not being the same, the exam is offered at non-working hours, and the removal of significant portions of break and seat time The AAMC’s unwillingness to release a free practice test that meets the same time constraints as the new exam The financial difficulties students faced from COVID-19 being exacerbated by a day spent off work to register for the MCAT, purchase new practice materials, and travel to the exam site The close quarters present in testing centers that will make disease transmission highly likely Financial challenges placed on students by universities and jobs closing for the remainder of the school year and into the fall Difficulty obtaining letters of recommendation and transcripts due to the closure of universities Uncertainty regarding when students may take the exam, as opening protocols vary immensely at the state and local levels The inability for students with disabilities to register for their exam online, as non-disabled students could, leaving them with the final choice of available dates and times Students having to travel to take exams, despite even the AAMC saying that it will likely be unsafe for interview travel this fall We recognize that an admissions cycle without an MCAT may feel unfair to those who have already tested. However, the events of the last 5 months have been unprecedented, and requiring students to take an exam that could endanger their health and wellbeing is equally inequitable. This has been a difficult period for us all. We, the members of the class of 2025, respectfully ask the Association of American Medical Colleges to cancel all MCAT exams for the remainder of 2020 and to refrain from the transmission of any MCAT scores in the 2021 admissions cycle.  Sincerely, The Students of the 2021 Admissions Cycle Contact information: Twitter: @StudentsPremed premedstudents2021@gmail.com    

Premed Students
1,683 supporters