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University of Manitoba students propose ‘compassionate grading’ amid pandemic

Click to play video 'University of Manitoba students propose ‘compassionate grading’ amid pandemic' University of Manitoba students propose ‘compassionate grading’ amid pandemic
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union and the Student Senate Caucus have backed a proposal that would see students given the option to choose either a “pass” or a “fail” on a single course during the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms. Global's Erik Pindera has the story – Nov 26, 2020

Some students at the University of Manitoba want a more compassionate grading system while they grapple with the complexities of online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union and the Student Senate Caucus have backed a proposal that would see students given the option to choose either a “pass” or a “fail” on a single course during the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms — similar to what was imposed when the university abruptly shut down last winter.

Read more: University of Manitoba faculty ratifies wage agreement; strike off table for 2020

“What happened in the winter of 2020 was students were able to select one of three options — keep your grade, exclude it from the GPA or take it as a pass or fail, and that was available for all their classes,” said Kristin Smith, UMSU’s vice president of advocacy.

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“Online learning in the fall simply hasn’t improved enough from when COVID first hit us in the winter.”

The proposal went to the university’s COVID-19 steering committee Thursday, a communications staffer said in an email.

Meanwhile, Brandon University introduced a compassionate grading system this week.

“A student who obtains a satisfactory standing grade on a course can convert that letter grade into a ‘P’, or a pass, so they get credit on the course but it doesn’t count in their (grade point average), then a student who didn’t receive satisfactory standing on the course, doesn’t just get an F that counts against their GPA, they actually get no credit for the course,” said Andrea McDaniel, BU’s registrar.

“It’s very much like they withdrew from the course without an academic penalty.”

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