U of A and NAIT students say new grading systems during COVID-19 pandemic is unfair

University of Alberta campus, on April 17, 2015. Paul Rampersaud, Global News

Students and faculty members at the University of Alberta (U of A) are demanding the university claw back its recently changed grading system.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U of A made the decision to change its grading and assessment by getting rid of most final exams for the winter 2020 courses.

Students will instead be given a credit or no credit (C/NC) grade.

The petition, directed to U of A president, David Turpin, had been signed by more than 12,000 supporters, as of Tuesday morning.

The petition reads:

“The University of Alberta has made the decision to award all students the same pass or fail grade for the 2020 Winter semester. This change will erase the hard work of students who have exerted their intellectual might all semester to achieve their desired mark. The University must allow students the option to accept their grade while also providing the option to receive a NR/CNR for the students who desire this outcome.”

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Biological sciences professor Andrew Derocher signed the petition and stated he would have liked a choice to assign grades.

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Derocher told Global News the structure of his courses would have allowed him to assign letter grades.

“I would have preferred the option that students could view their tentative grade and then have the option of Credit/No Credit or a letter grade.”

Several students have stated the U of A should follow the lead of other major universities like the University of Calgary.

The U of C said based on feedback from its staff and students and to alleviate the stress that both are experiencing, it is allowing students a choice.

“We have made the decision to offer our students the choice to accept their final course grade or opt for Credit Received/Fail (CR/F) for each of their courses in the Winter 2020 term,” said Dru Marshall, Provost and Vice-President of Academic at the U of C.

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A NAIT student has also launched a petition — it states students are worried the newly imposed grading system at the university would affect their grade point average.

Deanna Bauder, a fourth-year student in Human Resources Management at NAIT, said this is her final semester and the the grading system change won’t allow her to graduate with honours.

Bauder said the honours recognition would not be recognized for her cumulative GPA and said all her hard work has “gone to waste.”

“It is really disheartening,” Bauder said.

“We have all worked hard and believe that we deserve the option to choose to opt in or out of this grading system.”

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