In response to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with other leading universities, has enlisted the support of more than 70 leading colleges and universities in asking medical schools to accept pass/no-credit grades in lieu of letter grades for spring 2020 courses.
The effort seeks to offset the disproportionate impacts imposed on students by their many different home learning environments in the wake of campus closures and the shift to online classes—differences including unequal access to digital technologies and internet connectivity as well as the loss of in-person support services.
Due to COVID-19-related disruptions, universities have adopted a variety of approaches toward grading for the spring 2020 semester—ranging from mandatory pass/no-credit grading for all courses to allowing students to choose in which courses they will receive a letter grade.
Some medical schools, however, plan to accept pass/no-credit grades only from students whose undergraduate institutions made pass/no-credit grading mandatory for all students in spring 2020.
All of these changes have increased stress levels among faculty members and students, especially low-income and underrepresented minority students, especially those applying to medical school, a process that traditionally places a premium on strong letter grades through a student’s final semester of undergraduate study.
For the past month, provosts from several universities have called on leaders at medical schools across the country to accept spring 2020 pass/no-credit grades from applicants without condition. To date, more than 60 of the nation’s top medical schools have announced they will do so.
Universities interested in joining this call to action should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.