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Brophy Roundup

The Student News Site of Brophy College Preparatory

Brophy Roundup

The Student News Site of Brophy College Preparatory

Brophy Roundup

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Should Brophy offer a pass-fail grading option?

By Vipul Dua’20


With COVID-19 taking over the country, Brophy decided to take all its classes online and continue educating students through a different means of communication.

After a few weeks of doing online school, students are starting to settle into this new normal.

With all assignments and tests being online, the integrity of these assignments has been challenged. To counter this, Brophy has decided to put a policy in place that requires all tests and quizzes to be open-note.

With an open-note assessment, students aren’t able to accurately demonstrate what they know. The score they get on the assessment may not be what they actually deserve.

I think that because of this, all grades should be a pass or a fail. This allows students to focus on learning outcomes rather than a letter grade, which could ease pressure on students.

In these uncertain and unprecedented times, it is not fair to hold students to the same academic expectations as in a traditional classroom.

Many colleges and universities around the country have started to adopt the pass-fail grading option.

In an email, Oliver M. O’Reilly, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and chair of UCB’s academic senate wrote that “In these circumstances, students’ mental and physical health must take priority over the achievement of high letter grades.”

Anne Harris, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Grinnell College in Iowa released a statement saying, “This benefits students at this moment by providing more agency and flexibility to students within an ever-shifting set of circumstances that few people saw coming”

The problem that arises when switching to a pass-fail system in a high school environment is students taking the semester lightly because they know that they will pass. A solution to this problem is to not advertise this option to students, make them work as they would, and reward them at the end of the semester by giving them the option to have a “Pass” on their transcript, or the letter grade they deserved.

This keeps students working hard and allows them with the flexibility to decide if they are happy with the letter grade they earned, or if they would prefer to just pass the class and not have their letter grade on their transcript.

Another option to offer students more flexibility is to keep letter grades, but eliminate the “A-” or “B+” and just have an “A” or a “B”. This allows students to still work to achieve a good grade but gives students who have trouble learning in a home environment a little bit of an easier time.

Of course, Brophy has made every decision with the best interests of students in mind. If this means that grading remains the same as it is, then I am sure that the administration believes that this is the best thing for us students.

At the end of the day, Brophy is a college preparatory and we came to this school to receive the best education we could. If Brophy thinks that we can overcome this challenge and still earn the grade we deserve, then that is what we will do.

As always, stay happy, stay home, and stay healthy Broncos.

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