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U of A eliminates requirement to curve grades

Katelyn Hoffart
Staff Reporter
Jun 04, 2012

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“The largest recommendation in (the report) was that the curve was pedagogically outdated — that it didn’t make sense to try and fit students onto a pre-determined set of grades,” explained Students’ Union Vice-President (Academic) Dustin Chelen.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.


This is outrageous. How can faculties that have tests with 34% averages survive? Does everyone fail? Or do they actually have to make tests writable?

Posted by Paul on Jun 04, 2012

Wow, holy shit. U of A, keeps screwing me over since 2008.

Posted by Jared Mulrooney on Jun 04, 2012

@Paul: I certainly hope that we won’t be seeing standardized tests any time soon.

Posted by Glenn on Jun 04, 2012

@Paul: They have to make tests writable lol. Otherwise all these profs would lose their jobs

Posted by James on Jun 04, 2012

Well, there goes my and everyone else’s averages in engineering.

Posted by Kyle C. on Jun 05, 2012

This is a great idea, and I know a lot of classes outside of sciences aren’t curved and follow a guideline, but science classes and other faculties weigh finals at 65-75%... Not sure how this would help. They’ll have to readjust a lot more, like changing the way their exams are written, in order to make up for it. I transferred from macewan, and their marking guidelines are well thought out, and they also make their tests fair. Hope to see professors considering this for the coming semester.

Posted by Arya on Jun 05, 2012

Were just customers and a herd of sheep to these outdated dinosaurs running this farcical institute. Whoever thought of this deserves to lose their job

Posted by Yuri on Jun 05, 2012

wow wtf this applies to engineers too?

Posted by Kane on Jun 05, 2012

WTF… you have to be kidding…....

Posted by Akshay on Jun 05, 2012

this is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. U of A should have at least got the opinions from the students who pay the high costs of tuition to attend this dumb school.

Posted by k on Jun 05, 2012

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