Queen's University: Offer pass/fail grading option for Fall 2020 & Winter 2021 terms

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The COVID-19 pandemic has reached a record high number of infections in Canada this month with a province wide lockdown taking effect in Ontario today, December 26th, 2020. In these extraordinary times, university students across Canada have faced pandemic-related stresses and challenges related to academic performance, employment, personal health, family crises, and housing. The long-term persistence of these challenges may be overwhelming and may have negatively impacted the academic performance of students through the Fall 2020 term and has the potential to impact Winter 2021 term performance.

On March 25th, Queen’s University announced the adoption of a compassionate grading scheme for the Winter 2020 term given the sudden impact of COVID-19, which allowed students to convert letter grades to passing grade options. This measure helped ensure students had a flexible grading option to account for an impact in performance related to the pandemic. This concession was hugely helpful to students but was only applicable to the Winter 2020 term and is not applicable today despite the ongoing pandemic.

Other universities across Canada have begun to adopt compassionate and flexible grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms to support students who are struggling during this extended difficult time. These universities recognize that grades recorded during this term and next are not an accurate reflection of the student’s comprehension of the course materials. This grading option is especially important for students who passed their courses but who did not achieve a grade they would have in normal circumstances, or for those who did not pass. 

Based on the precedent set forth by Carleton University, Concordia University, Dalhousie University, Laurentian University, McGill University, University of Manitoba, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto and University of Winnipeg in offering flexible and compassionate grading options through the Fall/Winter 2020/2021 academic year due to COVID-19, we call on Queen’s University to offer students the option to select one 3 credit course per term, or one full-year 6 credit course, for grading on a pass/fail basis per Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms.


Carleton University

Students may convert one 0.5 credit course to a passing Satisfactory (SAT) grade per term throughout the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. Alternatively students may convert one 1.0 credit full year course to a SAT grade.

https://carleton.ca/academicadvising/faqs-about-sat-uns/#:~:text=The%20Carleton%20University%20Senate%20has,2020%20and%20Winter%202021%20terms


Concordia University

Students can choose a PASS grade for one eligible course per term in the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms. 

https://www.concordia.ca/coronavirus/students/pass-disc.html


Dalhousie University

For courses taken in the fall and winter terms of the 2020-21 academic year, the University has approved the option of converting letter grades to a PASS or an ILL, once all final grades have been submitted for the term.. 

https://www.dal.ca/campus_life/academic-support/grades-and-student-records/pass-ill-grades-2020-21.html#:~:text=If%20you%20receive%20a%20passing,factors%20related%20to%20COVID%2D19 

 

Laurentian University: 

"This week, the university's senate approved what it's calling a "compassionate grading" system. With the system, students can choose a pass or fail designation for their courses, rather than having specific grades listed. "

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/laurentian-university-compassionate-grading-covid-19-1.5836159 

 

McGill University

For Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms students may take up 6 credits over the two terms to be graded as S/U. These credits may be associated with elective, complementary, or required courses.

https://www.mcgill.ca/student-records/adjusted-academic-measures 

https://www.mcgill.ca/science/covid-19/undergrads/satisfactoryunsatisfactory-su-option 

 

University of Manitoba

"The newly approved system gives students the choice to exclude one course grade received in the fall term and one received in the winter term from their grade point average."

https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/university-of-manitoba-approves-compassionate-grading-for-fall-winter-terms-1.5217215

University of Ottawa

Undergraduate students have the option to select one course to receive a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade per Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. 

https://www.uottawa.ca/coronavirus/en/student-information#qualitative-grading 

University of Toronto

"The Faculty of Arts & Science has extended the deadlines for the Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) and Late Withdrawal (LWD) options for the Fall/Winter 2020-21 session. This extension will allow students an opportunity to view their final term marks before deciding if the CR/NCR or LWD option is right for them. This applies to courses offered in the Fall/Winter 2020-21 session (F, S and Y courses) only."

https://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/academics/creditno-credit 

University of Winnipeg

"Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, University of Winnipeg students may choose how their grades will affect their grade point average (GPA) calculation for the Fall 2020 term."

https://www.uwinnipeg.ca/covid-19/final-grade-options-faq.html