Confusion over new grading scheme continues

Photo by Zara Golafsahni.

By Kaitlynn Zygmont

Since it’s introduction this year, Laurentian University’s new grading scheme has been the cause of many questions for students.

Although Secretary of Senate and Registrar, Serge Demers, said that students “should not worry” about the new grading scheme, there has been confusion regarding how the new grading scheme was originally implemented at the university.

According to the Students’ General Association President Johnny Humphrey, “the decision was made a couple of years before my time here at the SGA. It was set into motion by the Teaching and Learning Success Committee, which Mark Mancini, (who was a member of Laurentian University Senate at the time), professors, students, and university administrators were on. From there, (the committee) did some research and made a recommendation which then went through senate.”

Humphrey also addressed concerns and confusion which students may have thus far about the new grading system, stating “not many students have been coming to the SGA with concerns about the new grading system, but generally talking to students about it, it seems as though it is more confusing than anything else. I don’t think people are saying whether it’s good or bad, but mostly that they are not used to it and would like to know more. So maybe there is something that we could put out there that would clear things up and explain the new system.”

Sara Fortin, a second year English Rhetoric students, hoped that students would have had more choice in the matter of the new grading scheme.

“I wish that there would have been an option for students to contribute their thoughts on the new grading system beforehand through a poll or survey… What concerns me the most is that you can’t know your exact grades in percentages, (and) instead we just get a ball park figure with the letter grade.”

Humphrey said that professors still have the option to enter grades how they choose, and said he knows that “some students would have a better understanding” if they were able to view the percentage grade, as well as the letter grade.

Humphrey said that although this is a possibility he could look into, the new scheme has been in the works since 2012-2013.

Though there are mixed feelings and opinions about the new grading scheme, there may be some benefits that the new grading system offers for students: according to Humphrey, “(the new system) makes a huge difference for bursaries, and overall I think it makes it more accurate because there is always a margin of error in tests and evaluations. Psychometrically, this gives a better method to measure a student’s success and performance. It also levels the playing field between students, especially for courses that have interpretation to account for. I think it will be something that will probably take us a year or two to get used to, but I’m sure what will happen is the Senate will look at this new grading system carefully in order to see the pros and cons.”


Photo by Zara Golafsahni.
Photo by Zara Golafsahni.