College students can choose pass-fail or letter grade amid coronavirus challenges

College students can choose pass-fail or letter grade

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - When Tulane University was just making the transition to online classes, Associate Dean Ilianna Kwaske wanted to check in with how her small class was doing. They were stressed, anxious, and tired.

“I think it represents a lot of what most people are feeling now which is there’s a lot weighing on our faculty and students’ minds; they didn’t sign up for this but on top of that there’s change and change in itself is a challenge,” Kwaske said.

It’s those challenges and uncertainties that Kwaske says she completely supports allowing students to choose how they’re graded near the end of the semester. They can choose a pass-fail grade or a traditional letter grade.

“Not everyone may have access to a computer their schedule or change people have families that they’re dealing with now,” Kwaske said.

“Not only is there the disruption of learning online they’re different circumstances people have of how their housing is how much technology they have we have a lot of students in Puerto Rico who have power flicking on and off because of the infrastructure issues there,” Tania Tetlow said.

It’s a model several higher education models are using this semester, Loyola university included. President Tania Tetlow says it’s the system that seems the fairest given how much adversity students and staff are facing. She adds students shouldn’t worry how it will look on paper.

“Graduate schools are going to understand on the transcript employers will understand that on a transcript they won’t stand out because so many students across the country will have pass-fail grade,” Tetlow said.

Because while the 2020 school year looks different for nearly all students, universities and colleges still say students’ education is still top of mind.

Tetlow said for those students who have been working hard and succeeding in their classes, it may be wiser to take a letter grade.

She said they’ve also appealed to the state education board to make allowances for students with TOPS and who may be on the bubble of getting their scholarship renewed given this semester.

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