Pass-Fail Does Not Live Up to Student Hopes

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Published November 27, 2020
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The Montclarion
Last Friday, the Montclair State University administration sent an email to all undergraduate students, detailing the fall semester's pass-fail guidelines. Photo courtesy of Montclair State University

Montclair State University issued an extension on the pass-fail option in a schoolwide email, explaining that students have until Wednesday, Dec. 2 to register for the pass-fail option.

The email explained that the program is being extended to allow students to choose only one fall semester class to change from a letter grade to a pass-fail grade.

Regarding students’ selection, the policy states, “only those courses that are free electives in the student’s program may be considered.” Free electives are credits that do not count toward a student’s major. Instead, they count toward the 120 total credits that a student needs to graduate.

Lori Ann Guenther, a senior television production major, explains as a transfer student, this option is useless to her.

“As a transfer student, I have no more free electives to take, so that would make no sense for me,” Guenther said. “This doesn’t help.”

Rebecca Martino, a senior business administration major who will be graduating at the end of the fall semester, has spent the last three months petitioning for a pass-fail option due to the pandemic.

“For me, it feels like they are showboating options we already have,” Martino said. “While I do think it’s [a] minor success and we are being heard, I don’t think this [is] the outcome we intended.”

Rebecca Martino : Photo courtesy of Rebecca Martino

Rebecca Martino believes that students should not consider the pass/fail option as a victory.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Martino

Martino believes that students should not consider this a victory.

“While we can celebrate the victory of some part of our story being heard, Montclair State has added a caveat to this option; it should be noted that you can pass-fail free electives any semester, by special request to your advisor. This is not a victory,” Martino said. “What I am looking for is the same policy as last semester. I think we were given a lot more empathy than we are now, and I think they just expected us to come back and shake it off. Now is when we are feeling the true weight.”

Jeffrey Alexander Lopez, a junior political science and Spanish double major, explains that this is not at all what students were looking for.

Jeffrey Alexander Lopez : Courtesy of Jeffrey Alexander Lopez

Jeffrey Alexander Lopez, a junior political science and Spanish double major, believes the pass-fail policy isn’t what students expected.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Alexander Lopez

“I feel like the pass-fail policy is kind of an insult to the students, this is not what we meant when we asked for a pass-fail option,” Lopez said. “I would say offering this is kind of worse than not responding to the plea for pass-fail.”

After the 5 p.m. deadline on Dec. 2, the pass-fail option will be closed.

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