UNSW Civil and Environmental Engineering has become the first Australian university faculty to transition to a pass/fail system in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This follows in the steps of several major Ivy League Colleges including Harvard.
An email circulated to students cited “the high level of disruption to teaching, the high levels of anxiety caused by the COVID-19 and the lack of integrity of online quizzes,” as the major reasons for the move.
The new assessment criteria does not apply to theses, project courses and where the course coordinator has been granted an exemption. The mark a student receives at the end of the semester is either SY (success) or FL (failure). Students still earn 6 credit points and must achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50%, but the subject does not count towards the student’s overall WAM.
The pass/fail debate has grown significantly in Australia over the past week, with a petition organised by USyd students attracting over 3300 signatures so far.
More to come.