Pass/Failing Your Way Through Senior Year

The administration’s decision to allow students to pass/fail a course in the fourth quarter has stirred some discussion. Read more about my personal decision to pass/fail.


The ability to pass/fail courses in the fourth quarter has given seniors, including myself, the time to pick up hobbies, both old and new, like reading books that I never had time to read.

Andrew Yuen, Bear Hub Staff

*The following statements are opinions shared solely by the Editor and others mentioned in the article, not those of EBHS Bear Hub 

The deadline stares at you like a wicked nightmare, 11:59 P.M. Your Netflix history is even scarier, over 20 hours of binge-watching in the past day. Oh well, good thing I pass/failed this class fourth quarter.

For many seniors, the administration’s response to COVID-19 has been a godsend. Even with relaxed deadlines for classwork, the notorious second-semester and college-committed seniors find it difficult to complete work that has little effect on their future education or vocations. Focusing on work during a global pandemic can take a toll on anyone’s nerves, and even some sophomores and juniors are slacking in their studies under the relaxed rigors of remote learning.

Throughout my high school career, I have absorbed a lot of useful information and passed many challenging courses that taught me time management and perseverance. That said, I feel highly prepared and motivated for the challenges college may present. The caveat, however, is that the college I will be attending does not accept AP credits. The core curriculum classes I will be required to take are significantly easier than those I am enrolled in my senior year here at the high school.

This is why I decided to pass/fail my hardest class, which will remain unmentioned, as it dragged down my grade and added unnecessary stress despite how amazing the teacher is. For juniors or those pursuing this subject as a major, it would be useful for them to complete this work and the class is actually really fun. For me, it is just A LOT of work. Instead, I have focused my attention on more relevant topics such as David Hackett Fischer’s Washington Crossing, a required book for incoming freshmen, or on hobbies that I have not been able to pursue due to the demanding workload of my past four academic years.

However, many other students do not like the idea of pass/failing, considering that many of these subjects may be the focus of their future vocations. Especially in a district where all students from grades 9-12 are equipped with a school-issued laptop, there are not many excuses for “difficulties” or even sick days. These classes will help students shape their passions and career interests, so many believe that pass/failing will take away their value and all that they have to offer. Moreso, it is seen that, in combination with the inability to give assessments, this will incentivize underclassmen to be lazier and lose work ethic.

This decision by the administration is not unordinary as many schools in all parts of the country have taken even more serious actions to pass/fail the entire student body for fourth quarter. As a second-semester senior, I am grateful for all that I have been offered at the high school but I am also grateful for this new policy which allows me to spend some quality time with family before I leave for college in June.