Paul L. Caron

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Blackman: Law Students Quietly Oppose Pass/Fail Grading

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Law Students Quietly Agree With My Post on Pass/Fail Grading:

CoronavirusYesterday, I blogged that professors quietly support my views on pass/fail grading. Since then, I have received several emails from students. They note there is quiet support for my view, but many students are afraid of being shamed by classmates on social media. I post here two such messages, with slight edits.


Thank you for sharing your platform with us. You have no idea how validating it is to know that professors also share the same views on the pass/fail grading system. I have taken the brunt of the attacks on social media. I have to admit that I am concerned about my reputation among my peers, but it is what it is. Here are my thoughts:

Like professors, the main method of attack on students who are against a mandatory pass/fail grading system is a lack of compassion for others. Any reasoning given to support our stance is drowned out by the droves of students claiming we are "gunners who want to screw the rest" and we should be worried about our community, not our GPA. ...

I suspect more students agree, but are unwilling to publicly put their names on the petition.

Peer pressure to conform exists at all levels: for students and for faculty. Thankfully, peer pressure never worked on me, even as a kid. I will always voice my views candidly.

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Would it be like the hundreds of professors fired from their jobs, tenured or not, for suspicions or idle gossip of socialist sympathies during the McCarthy era?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Mar 29, 2020 11:56:08 AM

Can you imagine if the same suppression of pass/fail grading views ever expanded to the discussion of political views on campus?

What a nightmare that would be.

So thankful we don't live in that world.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 26, 2020 11:50:03 AM