Some students are worried after being told they will not be returning to campus this spring semester. Switching from being in class to online can be difficult for some students. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many plans for this semester. One major conversation that has come with these changes is about moving the grading system to pass or fail grading. 

Keene State is not the only school to consider the change. Other colleges and universities across the country have also discussed changing the grading system due to the unforeseen circumstances of online learning.  

Junior Tyler DaRosa started a petition for Keene State to establish the pass or fail system for the sake of this huge adjustment to remote classes and the effects on the students themselves.

“I started the petition because I believe, with everything that is going on, students are stressed enough as it is,” DaRosa explained. DaRosa also mentioned that the need for the change is because most students are doing online classes for the first time and many professors are teaching online classes for the first time. 

DaRosa started the petition over two weeks ago and at the time of publishing this article the petition has over 1,300 signatures. The petition also has over 20 comments supporting DaRosa and the grade change policy. 

“There is going to be a learning curve for both parties; not to mention students didn’t pay to have online learning, they are paying tuition to take face-to-face classes,” DaRosa explained.

Junior Anna Fialho said she signed the petition for her friends because she knows many of them are much more hands-on learners. “I don’t want their GPA to be harmed by this unforeseen circumstance,” explained Fialho.

Fialho was also a little confused about what the pass or fail system will actually mean for her grades. “I don’t know what pass or fail as a whole means,” Fialo said. 

With as many unsolved questions as the rest of Keene State, she remained hopeful for the best for her and her friends.

“In all these circumstances, grades could very easily suffer,” shared DaRosa. “And I don’t think it is fair for students to have their GPAs drop because of these online classes.”

Some students, like junior Valerie Mamish, are worried about having pass or fail grading. “I am doing well in my classes and I am trying to make my GPA go up by the end of the semester,” explained Mamish, who is concerned that her work will not be as valued if it is all or nothing.

The Keene State College Senate sent out an email to students to discuss that they are considering changing the current grading policy. The senate allowed for Zoom meetings to have students discuss whether or not they should be allowed to decide for each of their courses whether they will receive the usual letter grade or pass or fail. 

This allowed students the opportunity to have their voices heard, along with anyone else who is interested in contributing.

The senate vote to change the grading policy is happening on April 8 with the Academic Standards Committee to bring forth the collected campus feedback and come to a final decision.


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