Pass/Fail and Alternative Grading Approaches
An interesting discussion on the POD listserv over the last couple of days has been about whether current conditions make pass/fail grading a more viable option than traditional grading schemes. This discussion may not have any practical implications for us at FGCU—I don’t know whether changing a course grading policy mid-stream is a viable option, and my suspicion is that it is not. However, part of all of our responsibility during (and after—soon, I hope) this crisis is to reflect on the hardships we and our students are experiencing and consider how to anticipate and mitigate those challenges in advance of the disruption, or at least be prepared to do so in real time. One of the most significant challenges we’re hearing about from students is related to the uncertainty they’re experiencing and managing the associated anxiety. Would their academic-associated stress be reduced if their courses converted to pass/fail from letter grades? When we debrief from this disruption, it will be worth exploring the experiences of universities that made a grading policy shift in mid-stream.
If you’re interested in this discussion, here are some links to information and sites where it is currently taking place:
- Digital teaching blog out of University of Oklahoma (I learned on this blog that UF faculty have petitioned to allow students to choose a pass/no pass option for their classes. I don’t know the outcome, but maybe this is a more viable option for us than my post above suggests.)
- Link to a crowd-sourced google spreadsheet that is tracking colleges and universities that are changing grading policies.
- Link to a Chronicle of Higher Ed article dealing with this issue.
If you have additional ideas, advice, suggestions, music, or funny bits that you would like to share with your colleagues, send it all to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will post it to the blog.