Pass/no credit should be replaced with a more accurate system

Abby Keller

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, students at Park are only allowed to take a Pass/No Credit grade in two elective classes this year, or one per semester. As students, we have grown accustomed to taking a pass or a ‘P’ rather than a letter grade that would negatively affect our GPA, but this new system will encourage us to put in the extra effort needed to get good grades as well as get the help we need to succeed.

Because the Pass/No Credit grading system has no effect on GPA, someone who got a D and opted for a P instead would have the same GPA as someone who scored all A’s. This is not only unfair to the students who earned their GPA without any ‘P’ grades, but will end up hurting the student who took P’s. 

Although I tend not to think of a P as a low grade, most colleges and universities view it as somewhere between a C and a D- on a transcript, which could hurt the student’s prospects more than their original grade would have. This assumption about grades could prevent a school from giving scholarships to a student, making it a lot harder to go to college. 

Now that school is in-person and has been for over a year, we have better resources to help us succeed, whether that be the ability to work one-on-one with a teacher before or after school or the ability to work in the Learning Lab. When we need help, all we need to do is ask. 

As a junior, though I have had the option to take a P for every class in high school, I haven’t. I don’t have perfect grades, but I would rather my grades reflect my ability, as well as the effort I put in, than an assumption someone might make because of a P in my transcript. 

Since I’m motivated primarily by grades, I know this new system will push me to ask for help more when I am struggling, instead of relying on a P. I see this change in policy as an extra reason to make sure we are doing our best.