CSUSM makes the right decision on expanding pass/fail grading


Photo by Synthia Ayala

The Academic Senate approved to relax the academic policy on pass/fail grades due to the pandemic, which will lighten students’ stress.

Richard Ho, Staff Writer

The CSUSM Academic Senate acknowledged students’ concerns and passed a resolution to relax academic policies, allowing pass and fail grades and withdrawal policy for the spring 2020 semester. 

Since former CSU Chancellor Timothy White made an official announcement to have a virtual spring semester last semester, many students have been struggling. Most students may not have adapted fully to the virtual environment nor were able to commit themselves to their academics due to financial situations along with other personal circumstances.  

However, CSUSM initially decided not to relax the academic policy because of their assumption that students are able to adapt to the changing environment during this unprecedented time. 

On Feb. 3,  the Academic Senate took action on passing a resolution to relax the academic policy for this academic year, due to students’ academic difficulties in a virtual environment.

Most students prefer to learn with an in-person environment due to better relationships with their professors in the pre-pandemic era. 

Throughout the pandemic, many face difficulty adjusting to a virtual environment due to financial burden or other personal circumstances. Furthermore, the momentum of learning from students has worsened in academics from the virtual environment due to Zoom fatigue along with difficulty of adapting to virtual learning. 

Most students may have a difficult time adapting to this new normal, like having to interact with our professors in a virtual environment instead of in a classroom. 

Since a vast majority of students, including myself, lost some momentum of learning new material in a virtual college education, the continuation of social isolation and difficulty to adapt to virtual learning create roadblocks for students trying to succeed in this virtual academic year.

CSUSM was concerned that a transition to a credit and no credit grade might harm students considering applying to graduate school in the following fall. Furthermore, they provide online tutoring resources along with laptop loans to contribute to assisting with students’ academic success during a virtual academic year. 

However, students have lost confidence and morale to perform well academically this semester due to the quality of teaching in an online environment worsening compared to in-person learning. 

Normal college grading during the pandemic era made students concerned about their academic grades along with unique personal circumstances in a virtual college education during an unprecedented time. 

Most students have a more difficult time focusing in their online classes than the in-person environment because they may not be fully committed to learning in the online environment.

These are extraordinary times for college students in both academics and personal situations in our lives. 

Since we are living in a national public health crisis, the Academic Senate acknowledged the learning difficulties in a virtual environment and passed a resolution to relax the academic policy. Their decision will help give students more confidence in their academics and help improve their mental health.