To Coronavirus From College Students: You Need To Stop Infecting Our Grades

Two days ago, I found out that students at the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of Central Florida are petitioning to have the option of a pass/fail grade on their transcript due to remote instruction. What this means is that students would not be penalized down the road for a class they couldn't really put their all into because of the COVID-19 hysteria. The majority of the students petitioning feel that it is a fair option to have because certain populations may not have access to good technology or internet at home which is now a hard requirement for online learning. Personally, do I agree with it? I do to an extent. My take on it is that yes students should have the option, but it should be more on a case-by-case basis. For example, if it were me, I would take the letter grade because I have access to technology, internet, and I'm working which pushes me to manage my time and prioritize homework and studying. Everyone has a different situation though which is why I support the idea.

I interviewed a few students from the University of Central Florida and this is what they had to say:

Q: In your opinion, how does the pass/fail option play a role in the impact of remote instruction?

A: I believe the pass/fail option is something essential to be implemented for this term. This change in instruction not only affects the students who learn better in person but also those who rely on tutoring to pull their grades up to a passing grade. Students looking to take advantage of office hours, SI sessions, SARC tutoring, all knight study and more do not have these options anymore. Some Si leaders or tutors can host sessions online, but most are not able to since they are students who are also affected by this change. We as students, leaders, teachers and most importantly as consumers deserve the right to choose what happens to our credits after attempting to make it through finals. As a Knight, I appreciate all the efforts my university and professors are making to ensure a smooth transition to online instruction. But, the one thing they cannot supplement is my time spent on a C when it could have been higher due to being away from campus.

My coworker and friend Deion spoke these words of wisdom and I completely agree with him. Yes, Knights help and support each other but it is only so possible when we are all struggling with life and have to scrape together time for homework and exams. After receiving his opinion, I interviewed two more students about their take on the petition itself.

Q: What is your opinion on the pass/fail petition?

A1: I think the criteria for pass/fail is hard to determine and the requirements for each. For some people, you can pass with a C-, but [the system] is pretty arbitrary. It's hard to distinguish who did really well and who just skated by. It definitely doesn't help when you're applying to grad school or medical school, because you have to explain what happened. People paid money to take a course and they should get the grade they worked for.

While I agree with Peter's take on this, I also think it should be judged on a case-by-case basis. If someone didn't have access to technology or other required materials, they should pass or fail based on their current grade.

Q: What is your opinion on the pass/fail petition?

A2: In my opinion, UCF thinks they are doing the best they can and I really appreciate it but it's hard to completely grasp the full extent to which this is affecting us students. Our workload was a lot, to begin with, but the transition to online instruction is much more challenging as each student learns in a different way. I struggle with my teachers simply uploading videos about the material and leaving it at that. I wish my professors implemented the Zoom lectures because of how interactive they are and how heavy the course material is.

Krysten is completely right. A lot of professors have other things going on that prevent them from providing enough supplementary material, but we are struggling enough. Not everyone has the motivation or resources to learn from home and if tutoring is needed it isn't the most accessible resource right now. Either way, everyone has their part to play. Within reason, stay home as much as possible. And, if you need help you can still contact your professors and they will work with you to the best of their ability. Stay safe out there!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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