News in brief

University could move to GPA system

The University is considering changing its grading system from percentage grades to grade point averages. The change was recommended to Senate by SCAP, the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures. Under the proposed adjustment, only letter grades would appear on students’ transcripts.

AMS Academic Affairs Commissioner Matthew Lombardi said he’s disappointed the administration didn’t seek out student feedback on the proposal.

“This feels like a very rushed process. … I don’t think that this proposed change has had enough student consultation,” he said, adding that SCAP did consult with the student senate caucus.

“There are so many students who are so concerned about this.”

Lombardi said he’s planning to bring up student concerns at the next AMS Assembly, as well as the next Senate meeting on Apr. 20. He said he encourages students to contact him with their comments at aac@ams.queensu.ca.

Lombardi said if the proposal is adopted, he doesn’t know when the change would take place.

At its annual general meeting on Mar. 26, the Commerce Society passed a motion requesting that letter grades be maintained.

Andrew Brown, ComSoc academic commissioner and Comm ’09, said Commerce students like percentage grades because they offer a greater degree of granulation that appeals to employers.

“It’s also good in terms of us looking at ourselves,” he said. “We do have a ranking system based on percentage grades.

“With a GPA system there’ll be no difference between a 79.5 and an 84.4. … We would have to figure out a new scale for our letter grades. I don’t see the advantage.”

Brown said he does agree that the University needs a standardized scale for determining GPAs.

“They want to make it consistent across faculties,” he said. “Having an in-house GPA that’s generated is good.

“I’m not against having an official GPA on the bottom of this transcript. … I think we need to establish what is a 3.8 and what is a 3.9 in-house.”

Brown said he’s also upset by a lack of effort to get student feedback.

“Students really don’t know about this.”

He said SCAP didn’t consult ComSoc before the change was proposed.

“What worries me is that … it’s not going to change the way faculty mark and yet they sent it out to a group of faculty members.”

GPAs are calculated on a scale from zero to 4.0. Although specific calculation methods vary by institution, a failing grade usually corresponds to zero, while 4.0 corresponds to 90 per cent or higher.

—Lauren Miles

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