Universities turn to pass/fail evaluation system

Sarah Bonner-Proulx, an undergraduate student leader at the University of Manitoba, recently addressed a meeting of senior administrators from her kitchen table, determined to persuade them to overhaul changes to the grading system the university had made in response to the COVID-19 crisis, writes Joe Friesen for The Globe and Mail.

Thousands of students had signed a petition asking the university to further alter its evaluation process. They wanted the right to choose whether they would be evaluated on a pass or fail basis, or to accept the letter grade they’re given. The university, which had already decided to allow students to exclude some courses from the calculation of their grade point average, was willing to listen.

The University of Manitoba is among many institutions to adopt what’s being called a compassionate grading policy. Students at more than a dozen Canadian universities can now choose to be evaluated with a pass or fail rather than letter grades. In most cases, they can do this for each class, so a student who did poorly in only one course could choose a pass option, rather than a lower letter grade that could harm their grade point average (GPA). At Manitoba, a failed course this term will not count against a student’s internal GPA, used for calculating academic standing and awarding scholarships.
Full report on The Globe and Mail site