If you have college-age children, you are hearing a lot about pass/fail. Many colleges are allowing this spring term to be graded as pass/fail instead of the students actually earning a number or letter grade. I’m not a fan of the concept pass/fail because it’s not a great way to encourage and develop anyone, let alone college students. It doesn’t prepare anyone for life and there is surely a wide range of effort that falls between passing and failing.

Pass/fail instantly instills a laissez-faire attitude. We are no longer doing our best, we are simply doing enough to get by. Imagine if your boss instituted a pass/fail policy. Imagine how long your company would last with a pass/fail mission statement. Imagine if spouses took a pass/fail approach toward their marriage. In life, pass/fail is a recipe for disaster.

Most of us are working from home now. This is not the time to adopt a pass/fail work ethic. This quarantine is not a free-ride. When this is over and you return to work, is that when you’re going to jump back into the “grading system?” When this is over, you better hope someone is using words to describe you like: integral, indispensable, critical, and essential because you know what the opposite of those words are, right? Yup, dispensable, nonessential, unnecessary and unimportant. Do you want pass/fail or do you want to be graded? I ALWAYS want to be graded—always! It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

With Gratitude,

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