GPA talks resume

Senate discusses options to improve the GPA grading system

Discussions over the GPA grading system resumed in Senate on Tuesday when a fourth-year student was invited by the Principal to speak on behalf of students.

“Principal [Daniel] Woolf granted me three minutes to speak,” Ryan Marchildon, Sci ’12 said.

“My speech ended up going about a minute and a half over that — three minutes is definitely not enough time to address these issues.”

Marchildon was put in touch with Woolf by Senator Jordan Morelli — a vocal critic of the new GPA section.

In his speech, Marchildon proposed three ideas that would improve, but not replace, the GPA system.

He said there are ways to improve the system without drastic and costly changes to Queen’s software.

One recommendation included an additional transcript created by each department to show the student’s percentage grades. This system is successfully used in certain departments at the University of Toronto, he said.

The switch to the current GPA system was made in May, but Marchildon said he was unaware of the disadvantages until he started applying for graduate schools and scholarships over the winter break.

“As a student I don’t think all the problems were clear to me until this semester,” he said, adding that over the winter break many graduating students found it difficult to successfully apply for schools.

Marchildon gave the example of his friend, who applied to a graduate program at Dalhousie with his GPA and was rejected. However, upon receiving his transcript with percentage grades they apologized and offered him admission.

Marchildon said the GPA negatively impacts many faculties and programs and that students should become aware of how it may affect them upon graduating.

If they find it is something they want to speak up about, Marchildon said students should email the principal, provost, registrar and their faculty dean.

“We want to keep [discussions] very open and positive,” he said.

Following Marchildon’s speech, Provost Alan Harrison expressed interest in meeting with the faculty deans to address concerns with the GPA system.

The Provost will return to the next Senate meeting on March 27 with a report on his findings.

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