A recent petition calling for a pass/fail grading option worked — the University decided to implement the measure March 20, taking students' opinions into account and prioritizing their well-being during a time of great stress.
The Minnesota Daily supports the University’s decision to change its grading standards after the 8,699 signatories of the petition made their opinions heard. They cited a lack of campus resources, the stress of moving and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health as reasons to make the switch.
Given the unprecedented stress that that goes hand in hand with the outbreak, and the huge adjustments in circumstance it has forced students to face, this request is completely understandable. Students want to ensure that success is possible without having to worry about a letter grade.
“Students will not all be on equal footing as their success in the coursework will depend on their comfortability with the platform, level of resources and current personal situation,” the petition states.
We also recognize that not all universities would make this drastic change. We commend University leadership for making changes to support student well-being, even if it may be a difficult decision to make.
The new grading basis applies universally to all undergraduate students, but graduate and professional students should wait for further instruction from their school before acting, according to a statement by Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert McMaster.
McMaster also included a suggestion: Some graduate schools don’t accept a pass/fail grading basis for prerequisites, so it is recommended that before making the switch, you consult your academic adviser.
Remember: It's not a be-all and end-all. In the end, you decide what is best for you. But regardless, we thank the University for making it a choice in the first place.