The Implications of Pass No Pass Grading

The Implications of Pass No Pass Grading

Maddie Cowgill, Staff Reporter

Some students think of pass no pass grading as a way to hide their bad grades. Some students think of it as the only way to preserve their GPA in a time when distractions are constant. Some students think of it as a system that discredits their hard work and hours of time put into getting A’s. 

The Coronavirus has disrupted everyone’s daily routine, and for some it has placed them in a crowded apartment with little to no space for doing schoolwork. Without a concrete daily schedule many struggle with productivity and getting all their work done in a timely manner. 

“ Some of you have very easy access to space, time and technology. Others of you have very little quiet space of your own, if any, and are operating on internet connections that are not always reliable, ” said Jane Woodman in an email to her students. 

In a perfect world where everyone’s home is safe, spacious and quiet when needed, we probably would not have pass/no pass grading. But we live in a world far from perfect, where some students live in borderline abusive households, others have unreliable or no WiFi and some in small apartments that barely have space for their whole family. Everyone’s situation right now is so different that it’s impossible to compare two different students. 

“ I believe that pass no pass is good for Sequoia overall because of many of the challenges that my friends face. Some of my friends have to help support their families by babysitting their siblings, working on construction sites and  at other jobs because their family members have been laid off or are essential workers.” Junior Alexander Cowgill said. 

Students in their freshman or sophomore year will likely benefit from pass no pass grading as they are mostly unable to take 5 point classes that could raise their GPA above 4 points. In contrast, students in their Junior or Senior year will have more difficulty raising their GPA above 4 points because they will be getting pass no pass grades for 5-point IB or AP classes. 

In addition to this, some high achieving students who strive to get A’s could become less motivated to do all their work because it will only matter if they pass or do not pass the class. This could lead to a decreased understanding of topics taught in this last quarter. It could also have ripple effects next year when we go back to school because material often builds upon previously taught material. 

“Some students may feel there is less motivation to do work because it won’t make a difference in their grade. In contrast others may work harder because for them pass no pass grading is a chance to do well in a class they probably wouldn’t do the best in otherwise. “  Sophomore Andrew Gould said. 

Overall, there are lots of positives and lots of negatives to pass no pass grading. It is an attempt to even the playing field for students from all different types of homes with varying situations in those homes. Right now, everyone is struggling with a new reality where we can not meet face-to-face or interact at the same level. Pass/no pass grading gives everyone some leeway while they adapt to this new and challenging style of learning.