COVID, Social Justice, and Higher Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified many of the injustices in American society. From differential health outcomes to economic disparities, minoritized populations are deeply affected. With these challenges in mind, QSIDE is excited to announce a new initiative at intersection of COVID, social justice, and higher education, led by Prof. Courtney Gibbons of Hamilton College.

The Policies Analysis: Spring Semester 2020 (PASS’20) project will gather COVID-19 grading policies at approximately 1500 not-for-profit colleges and universities offering four-year degrees. The goal of this timely work is to shine a light on grading policies’ effects on inclusion, diversity, and equity. Different schemes for reading Spring 2020 transcripts could disenfranchise students from underrepresented groups. PASS’20 centers on understanding the distribution and magnitude of this disenfranchisement.

Ultimately, PASS’20 will link the grading policy from each institution with information about it and its student body. With this data in hand, PASS’20 will advise employers, graduate schools, and professional schools on interpreting Spring 2020 transcripts for hiring or admissions purposes. PASS’20 statistical analyses will help employers and graduate programs understand the potential effects of transcript reading on various populations, and in doing so, help them maintain their commitments to inclusion, diversity, and equity. Additionally, PASS’20 will provide an interactive website as a community resource for interacting with the data.

Primary Goal: Provide a report containing a statistical analysis of college grading policies for Spring 2020 and evidence-based recommendations for interpreting transcripts for hiring or admission.

Auxiliary Goal: Provide an interactive website that allows users to understand the data.

Interested parties can contact Prof. Courtney Gibbons or visit the QSIDE donation page to donate funds for a crowdsourcing effort to gather 1500+ grading policies.