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Opinion Pass/fail options in Fairfax don’t help students become scholars

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In his Jan. 23 Local Opinions essay, “One Fairfax County schools pandemic modification should return,” Joseph Amsbary argued that Fairfax County Public Schools should keep its policy of allowing students to pass/fail up to two classes. As a junior in FCPS, I believe that the policy does not “encourage students to take chances and explore so they can identify and refine their passions,” but rather encourages students to accept that they are bad at a subject and ignore it.

When FCPS enacted the policy, I had friends decide they were going to pass/fail their least favorite class, chemistry, and then they didn’t spend another minute studying. Though I agree that this greatly reduced the amount of stress, it also lowered the quality of education we received. Grades are important to force students to continue improving as scholars.

Allowing students to pass/fail whatever their worst subject is just teaches that it is okay to give up and accept you are not good at something, instead of allowing students to learn free of stress.

Is this policy really the best way to encourage students to prioritize knowledge over GPA?

James Greene, Vienna