This article, originally titled U of A eliminates contentious curved grading, was edited for clarification at 12:23 p.m., June 5. Changes are in italics.
The University of Alberta has eliminated a widespread grading system that has long been a divisive issue among students and staff.
The university’s decision to abolish the requirement of the bell curve was finalized last week, and will be implemented in the fall semester across all faculties and departments on campus.
The future of the curve has been uncertain since 2009, when members of the General Faculties Council (GFC) proposed its removal during a GFC meeting. Confusion as to whether the grading curve still even existed resulted in a report commissioned by Provost Carl Amrhein,
“The largest recommendation in (the report) was that the curve was pedagogically outdated — that it didn’t make sense to try and fit students onto a pre-determined set of grades,” explained Students’ Union Vice-President (Academic) Dustin Chelen.
However, Chelen remains hesitant about the decision, and still has concerns about the effect this will have on students.
“The curve has been a standard at the university for so long, and I think that without a particularly clear grading policy to replace it … students will be hesitant about how they are (graded) come the fall semester,” he said.
Chelen also noted that the Students’ Union was not consulted prior to the decision to remove the curve, revealing a lack of communication between the university and its students.
“I’m disappointed that the Provost’s office didn’t consult more with students and the Students’ Union in developing this policy,” Chelen said.
“My hope, though, is that with the explicit elimination of the curve, the instructors will understand that it is valuable and necessary to communicate to students how grades are determined.”
More details to come in The Gateway’s June 11 issue.
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