Texas State’s Student Government has formally asked top administrators of the university to adopt a “4.0/fail” grading policy amidst challenges students face in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a letter addressed to administrators, Student Body President Corey Benbow said Student Government is concerned how the sudden switch to online classes and change in students’ routines will affect the overall well being of the student body.
“The Student Government at Texas State University, along with other students, are concerned regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effect on the Texas State University student body, faculty, and staff,” Benbow wrote in the letter.
If implemented, a pass/fail policy would allow students to opt in to receiving either a “pass” or “fail” on this semester’s classes rather than traditional letter grades, eliminating any effect on the student’s grade point average. Other Texas universities, including The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M, have already implemented a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory policy in light of the coronavirus effects on students.
Student Government’s proposed 4.0/fail policy would be similar to the pass/fail policy implemented by other universities for students who choose to opt-in, however, instead of the student being awarded a “pass” for good performance, they would be given an A if they receive a letter grade between an A or D.
Benbow said 4.0/fail is the only grading policy that will be fair to students who are expected to face challenges due to loss of income, students housing and public spaces.
“I think this is the only system that is fair across the board for students, and that allows students to be successful this semester where there are a bunch of different obstacles and things that are going to present itself where students should have no reflection of,” Benbow said.
Other universities’ student institutions, including Harvard University’s undergraduate council president and vice president and UT Austin’s The Daily Texan Editorial Board, have endorsed a policy similar to 4.0/fail policy. Ultimately, both UT and Harvard administrations implemented a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory policy for their spring 2020 semesters.
Because the pass/fail policy does not take into account the actual grade of the student, Benbow said 4.0/fail system would act as a much better alternative as it would omit the negative effects it would have on students sending their transcripts to other universities for transfers or post-undergraduate studies.
“I respect the deans and the college’s ability to allow faculty to control their grading policies, but I think we are at a point where the university needs to take a strong stance on this for this particular semester and take the side of students,” Benbow said.
According to Benbow, the letter has been received by university administration. At this time, university officials are discussing options and have not announced any changes to the current grading policy.
The University Star will continue to update this story as details develop.
News Editor Chase Rogers contributed to this article.