U of L adds pass/fail option for the spring 2020 semester

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville Provost Beth Boehm announced in an email to students March 20 that students now have the option to make any of their classes for the spring 2020 semester pass/fail.

A pass/fail system means that no matter the letter grade, a class that a student passes will not affect their grade point average but will be counted toward their degree progression. A failed class will affect their grade point average.

Undergraduate students who choose this option will earn a grade of “pass” for any class they get a D- or better in and a “fail” grade for any class they get an F in. Graduate students will earn a “pass” for any class they get a C- or better in and a “fail” for any class they get a D+ or below in.

Boehm explained the decision to offer a pass/fail class as a way to redefine what success means in a time where things are uncertain due to the spread of COVID-19.

“Success might mean something different this semester than it would in a ‘normal’ semester: it might mean not giving up when you are tempted to; it might mean finishing all of the courses you signed up for without stressing about grades; it might mean practicing social distancing to keep yourself and others safe and healthy; it might mean finding out that you are stronger than you thought,” Boehm said.

This decision came after students raised concerns about the switch to online classes for the remainder of the semester. One student, Chidum Okeke, started an online petition to persuade U of L administration to provide a pass/fail option.

That petition had 3,751 signatures at the time the decision was made. In his petition, Okeke explained why he felt a pass/fail system would be beneficial. “U of L students are driven and passionate, but under these circumstances, the amount of work and engagement can be exhausting and potentially detrimental to the success of our student body,” Okeke said.

“Giving students the option to make their classes pass/fail wouldn’t discourage students from doing well academically, but rather, would allow some cushion for those in tough situations.”

Boehm suggested that students talk to their advisors before deciding to switch to pass/fail or not. The decision can be made on a class by class basis and the deadline to switch a class to pass/fail is April 21, the last day of class.

Boehm attached the university’s official pass/fail policy to the email and said it will also be put on the U of L coronavirus website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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