Pass/No Pass Should be Counted

April 30, 2020

As the San Mateo County Community College District has tried to maneuver education to accommodate the shelter-in-place orders, there have been some adjustments made to make everything a bit more lax for students. 

For instance, students were able to withdraw from classes and get an excused withdrawal and were also able to change their grading options to pass/no pass. 

The pass/no pass grading option should not jeopardize students progress towards transferring to four-year universities. It should also not do the same for students who are already at four-year universities who wish to move onto graduate school or transfer to other colleges. 

Some colleges do not accept pass/no pass options for transfer, others like the University of California have “relaxed” their admission requirements.

These exemptions being made should be the case for all students on a regular basis, not just when there is a natural disaster such as Covid 19. 

Some students tend to struggle in specific areas of study. For instance, a student who is enrolled in a physical or life science course and is a non-stem major. This type of student should reserve the right to choose a pass/no pass option and the “pass” should be counted and accepted by any institution the student is applying to. 

Covid 19 has brought a lot of leniency for students, especially students who struggle with an online format for their class. The same leniency should still be taken into consideration when face-to-face instruction is happening.

Students tend to drop out of community college because their pace of life does not match with the pace of their coursework. For some students, this means taking repeated courses to get a passing grade or get a grade better than a C that will not weigh their GPA down for admissions to University of California,  California State Universities and other private colleges. 

The lines become blurred. That is why this issue affects undergraduate students the most. 

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, between 2004 and 2009 students who transferred from one public school to another lost 37 percent of their credits. Students who transferred from private colleges to public schools lost 94 percent of their credits.

Prestigious universities like Columbia have offered ultimatums to students by switching to pass/fail without option for a letter grade.

Stanford has done the same by changing the grade to satisfactory/no credit. This poses a problem for students who wish to attend graduate schools or transfer outside of their colleges to other colleges. 

Colleges, especially public colleges should work much closer together to ensure that students are able to transfer into their programs. Making the pass/no pass requirement visible and valid would be the first solution in taking this step.

There is no reason why an undergraduate student who is pursuing a degree in English should not be admitted to a reputable college because they did not get an A grade in their statistics or science courses, both of which are required to transfer to many institutions. 

There is also not a reason why credits should be lost within transferring, this causes more repeated coursework and more money that students have to pay. 

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