Students will no longer have the option to choose the Pass/No Pass grading option for their classes beginning in summer term 2021, Drexel officials said in their April 23“return to normal grading” announcement.
A year ago, Drexel sent an email to all students saying that they will start offering the option of Pass/No Pass grading because of the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, when the majority of students moved back home. The pandemic made it difficult for both faculty and students to keep a similar experience to in person classes. Now that the case numbers are going down, the university has decided to fully reopen in the fall term and go back to normal grading in the summer term.
Some students think it is premature to change the grading system and that Drexel should wait until it fully reopens to face-to-face learning.
“I believe that we have had this opportunity this entire time. Everyone is used to the Pass/No Pass grading system,” Jason Li, fourth year marketing student, said. “I understand why they want to do this to adjust us to coming back in the fall to in- person classes, but we still don’t have in-person classes. We have a lot of international students [in different time zones] so I don’t think it’s fair to them because they may not be able to attend classes and ask questions that they need.”
McKenna Cole, a sophomore global studies student, shares the same sentiment. She thinks that doing this in the summer makes it harder for people with no in-person classes to adjust to the grading system.
“I feel like they should at least keep it for the last term so people can complete a full year with it instead of ending a year all stressed out because the grades are actually going to matter. I feel like we should just start fresh when we are all back face-to-face to give us more time to slowly transition,” Cole said.
There’s a shared sentiment among students that the Pass/No Pass grading gives students more flexibility and gives them a helpful option during the online classes. The school environment changed dramatically during the pandemic and it has stayed the same for over a year.
Janaki Nair, sophomore computer science student, thinks that Pass/No Pass should be kept permanently.
“I think it might be a good option to have permanently just because it gives students the flexibility when it comes to extenuating circumstances. Maybe implementing a Pass/No Pass system in a permanent capacity could be a good idea if it’s combined with academic advisor support,” Nair said.
Even though she has not been using the Pass/No Pass option, Alexis Cave, a sophomore computer engineering student, said that it is intimidating to know that this option won’t be there for the future.
Drexel’s return to normal is coming soon. After a year of the pandemic, adjusting to normal conditions again may seem hard for some. With Drexel’s announcement, normal grading is one of the aspects that students will have to get used to again.