First year should be pass/fail. Wouldn't this format allow more people to explore and try new things?


I don’t know about you, but my first year was dreadful. I had enrolled in a bunch of physics, chem, and math courses, but the worst of it was probably literature. My lit prof had us select a book to review as an assignment and I was completely stuck. I had some wild ideas, but never pursued any of them and just ended up doing something I thought the teacher would want to see.

If the course hadn’t been so important to getting into the program I wanted, I probably would’ve tried some new approaches out that year. Sadly, we only get one chance at doing this right, and it’s really important to do it right.

The funny thing is, formats that would allow us more chances to learn “right” exist – pass/fail is one of those! Why not make more first year courses pass/fail and provide lots of room for exploration in those first courses?

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