Opinion: ‘I was determined to remain focused’

Sophomore shares thoughts on Driver’s Ed going pass/fail


Alexis Ban

After the district announced that Physical Education/Health and Driver’s Education will be pass/fail for the 2020-21 school year, sophomore Alexis Ban shares her thoughts on the change of curriculum and how it might affect one’s driving capabilities.

Alexis Ban , Staff Writer

Driver’s Ed is a class that prepares us for one of the largest responsibilities and privileges that we have. We not only learn the rules of the road, but we also learn how to keep ourselves and others safe while driving. The class is the first step to being able to drive on the roads by yourself and can have a large impact on your life.             

When Pascack Valley Principal Glenn deMarrais sent an email on Sept. 30 informing the district that Physical Education/Health and Driver’s Education will be pass/fail this year, I was shocked. According to deMarrais’ email, this method of grading “will not be included in the GPA calculation” for the 2020-21 school year. 

The decision was made by PV’s restart committee, which was required by the state of N.J. for schools to decide on protocols and changes regarding COVID-19, according to Athletic Director Shawn Buchanan. 

“As the district started looking at the COVID restrictions that are going to be in place on a national and state level for physical education classes, it became more evident that it was going to be very difficult to have what we would consider a normal year for physical education,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan also explained that physical education makes up ¾ of the grade for Drivers Ed/PE and Health/PE the district, so this also contributed to the district’s decision to implement a pass/fail system for these courses only for this year. 

While some people, especially ones not taking the class, may have glanced over this change without giving it a second thought, I looked at it differently. I wondered whether this change in grading will affect my work towards this class. Although I was determined to remain focused on Driver’s Ed, I recognized this may cause other students to make the course less of a priority.          

This new version of school that we have become accustomed to has been extremely stressful and has made many feel overwhelmed. This could cause students to feel the need to prioritize certain activities or subjects over others.

Once students are allowed to go on the roads by themselves, they are going to be expected to know information taught in their Driver’s Ed class. However, if one decided that their other classes are more important, it could cause them to slack off or to not try as hard when it comes to Driver’s Ed.  This could cause them to miss crucial information that will be needed when they start to drive.

Additionally, if students are bored or tired, they might also be more likely to procrastinate the Driver’s Ed work because the course is structured differently. This can result in disregard for Driver’s Ed, a course that is made to essentially keep people safe when driving on the road.

Despite the changes being made around our Driver’s Ed classes, I still try my best to stay focused on this course so that I can secure my driving capabilities in the future and I encourage others to do the same

Student reactions to pass/fail Driver’s Ed year