The future is pass/fail

By Claire CrittendonCo-Editor-in-Chief

The feeling of pure ecstasy as you hear your professor say, “this assignment will be graded on completion,” is unmatched. Your stress melts away, your breathing evens out, you realize you don’t have to spend the next two weeks agonizing in anticipation of a certain Canvas notification; all college-level classes should be pass/fail by default.

“But grades inspire academic competition!”

Frankly, prioritizing academic competition at a collegiate level is immature. The energy spent obsessing over how you compare to your peers could be directed in so many different, more sustainable ways. Put that focus back into your own work, be your own motivation – it’ll make you more independent.

“But what about transcripts?”

Employers do not care if you got an A in COM212. They care about your portfolio, about your work history, your internships, what your supervisors and professors have to say about you. As for graduate schools, many require applicants to complete certain GREs regardless of GPA.

“That wouldn’t prepare students for the real world.”

When was the last time you submitted work to an internship supervisor or boss and they sent it back with a grade and a rubric attached? It’s more than likely your internship or job already operates on a pass/fail basis. If a piece is up to standards, critiques may still be given and a drafting process may be needed, but it will usually begin to move through production. If a piece clearly needs more work, it will be sent back with feedback and redone.

In summary, pass/fail classes are the future of higher education. They alleviate stress, provide more room for individualized feedback, let students prioritize portfolio work, and mirror post-grad work environments; what’s not to love?

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