Gifted A? No Way!
By Samantha Hart
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDU, along with many universities across the country, has announced a pass/fail option for students to opt into. This is exactly what students should be granted. No more, no less.
Some students from all over the country have taken the pass/fail option a step further and are requesting a blanket grading system in which every student receives an A for their classes this semester. While this sounds like an excellent idea and solution for the students on paper, it is truly unnecessary and discouraging.
Ivy League students from Yale and Harvard are advocating for a “Universal A” grading scale from their respective universities, according to the Los Angeles Times. This idea is not only poorly supported by university administrators, but the arguments surrounding it are full of holes.
For instance, by granting A’s to all students, the value of the A will be severely diminished. The A’s will not be truly earned by the students which takes away its significance by recruiters and by the students who truly deserved an A. Although job recruiters aren’t as focused on a prospect’s grades as they are on their experiences, students planning on furthering their education past an undergraduate degree need to have accurate grades upon their exit from a university in order to be admitted into graduate school.
The average grades required to be admitted into graduate school usually hover around B or B+, according to the L.A. Times. That would potentially mean the students entering graduate school may not be qualified but are admitted anyway because their grades were inflated. It seems harsh to restrict the number of students entering the graduate schools across the country, but in reality, it’s not restricting admittance it’s only adhering to the admission regulations set prior to the pandemic.
By granting a universal A grading scale, the legal and educational professions will be hindered in the future. This is because these two fields — as well as several others — require incredibly high grades from the students to be successful after graduation, according to The New York Times. If undergraduate students are given an unearned A in a class that is crucial to their admittance into graduate school, the value and foundation of their upcoming education will be based on shaky ground.
Although there are only a few fields that require high grades to succeed after college, the ones that require high undergraduate grades are exactly the ones that prove to be most critical to society. Without highly qualified professors teaching undergraduate courses, the students of the future will suffer and continue the spiraling diminishing of quality education.
This grading scale would also hurt the students who earn an A the right way. These students will be blended into a sea of undeserving A students and will be more likely to be overlooked or have their talent underestimated.
The New York Times estimates roughly 5% of undergraduate students earn a 4.0 after four years. It’s fair to suggest that those students’ accomplishments will be seen as less worthy. Maybe not by job recruiters, but by themselves.
It’s not unheard of for incoming freshmen to have the goal of maintaining a 4.0 throughout their four years. Having this semester’s grades simply handed to them on an A-shaped platter would insert a mental asterisk next to their college careers as their 4.0s were not truly earned. To have their 4.0s lumped together with more students would also lessen their emotional connection to the accomplishment.
Students will also lose the ability to accurately compare themselves to the rest of their class. By giving all students an A for every class, the students may inaccurately assess their academic careers.
This process is less effective on college students compared to younger students, but it still has the ability to alter the students’ perception of themselves, in the real world and in the classroom.
You Get an A, You Get an A!
By Justin Rimpi
The coronavirus has led to an unprecedented time in the country over the past month.
With daily life so different from just 30 days ago, the difficulty in adapting to this new reality has proved to be tremendously difficult for people all over the world. This sentiment is especially true for America’s college students. This is why FDU, and other universities, are not going nearly far enough when they extend merely a pass/fail option to students.
Instead, these colleges should provide students with A’s for their classes during the spring semester. In such an unparalleled time, this is the only way to help lessen the burden on college students who have seen their worlds turned upside down over the past month.
COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, has affected nearly everyone in the United States in some way, shape or form. As the death tolls pile up, and a return to normalcy seems further and away by the day, it becomes difficult for college students to provide the maximum effort that is needed for them to have success in their coursework.
According to the CDC, the stress associated with the coronavirus outbreak will affect millions of people.
“Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems worsening of mental health conditions, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.”
All of these symptoms are not conducive to academic success, and by choosing to not provide all A’s to students, universities are doing a total disservice to those they are tasked with educating.
When thousands of Americans have lost their lives, and when tens of thousands more are fighting this virus with every fiber of their being, a term paper could not seem less important than it does now.
Students did not sign up for online classes at the outset of the semester. They signed up for in-person instruction. While Zoom and other virtual meeting software have made learning much easier in these trying times, it is still a far cry from being in a classroom.
Providing each student with an A will allow them to have a tremendous burden lifted off their shoulders. They will no longer have to fret about their schoolwork as the world around them is falling apart.
While a pass/ fail option is a good first step, if utilized, it will not count toward a student’s GPA. This means they will have to choose between trying to improve their GPA, or not trying to improve their GPA if the pass/ fail option was used. The current situation is causing students to make a false choice. Both of these options are not appropriate for this particular time.
Providing students with A’s is the only way to proceed. While instruction is still important, and course materials must still be learned, this can be done without a letter grade being given to students.
Yes, this nightmare will eventually be over, but in the meantime, students deserve one less thing to worry about in a world that will never be the same.