ASUS to consult students on ArtSci grading

Grotsky looking for feedback to pass on to Faculty

ASUS will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday for students to express their feedback on the Arts and Science Grade Report released in April, to be considered in ASUS’s official recommendation to the faculty.

The meeting will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. in the ASUS Red Room in Kingston Hall, to allow students to express their opinions on the report and how they want ASUS to deal with grading issues.

The report, which examined grades from the 2012-13 academic year, showed that the Faculty of Arts and Science gives significantly fewer A-plus grades and more failing grades on average than other faculties.

ASUS President Adam Grotsky said the purpose of the town hall meeting is to solicit student opinions, which he said are “essential”.

“The goal here is to have students come out, tell us how they feel about the report, whether or not these discrepancies warrant change and, if so, what change they want to see,” said Grotsky, ArtSci ’15.

The report also revealed discrepancies in the ways departments in the Faculty of Arts and Science grade full-time students. One of the largest discrepancies is between Political Studies and Classics — only 1.4 per cent of Political Studies students received A-pluses, while 21.6 per cent of Classics students got A-pluses.

Grading discrepancies have been apparent to students for a while now, Grotsky said, as the report uses 2008 data for comparison. Grotsky added that the report has created a stepping stone for initiatives to change these discrepancies and “highlighted what students have been thinking about for a very long time”.

“The Faculty has been very open to whatever we have brought to their attention,” Grotsky said, adding that he’s been in discussion with the Faculty of Arts and Science since being inaugurated into office this summer.

Grotsky said he hopes that after the town hall meeting, the Faculty will continue to be willing to discuss a solution.

He said no concrete solutions have been brought to the table yet, but one option he’s pushing for is the reinstatement of class averages being printed in transcripts.

“The idea is to not have an arbitrary number — you want to have something to compare it to,” he said.

He added that other schools, such as the University of Toronto, Western and McGill, print class averages on their transcripts. He said Queen’s used to print class averages on transcripts but stopped roughly four years ago because of issues in small classes where outlier marks would skew class averages.

Grotsky suggested that classes with a certain number of students below a cutoff number not have their averages shown on transcripts, in order to avoid this problem.

The issue has been brought up at faculty boards where students and professors had the chance to discuss and reflect on the issue at hand, he said.

“Everyone has acknowledged that there is some sort of discrepancy or issue going on, but there is no unified response to it,” he said.

“Professors, understandably, don’t want there to be any sort of changes that would reduce their autonomy to grade the way that they want.”

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