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Rules & Regulations:
University Grading Practices Policy


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Purpose

The purpose of the University Grading Practices Policy is to ensure:

(a) that grading practices throughout the University reflect appropriate academic standards;

(b) that the evaluation of student performance is made in a fair and objective manner against these academic standards;

(c) that grade scales, while remaining suited to the particular circumstances of every division, are compatible with each other;

(d) that the academic standing of every student can be accurately assessed even when courses have been taken in different divisions of the University and evaluated according to different grade scales.


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Application of Policy

The Policy applies to all individuals and committees taking part in the evaluation of student performance in degree, diploma, and certificate credit courses (hereafter referred to as courses), excluding courses in the School of Graduate Studies.

Amendment to Policy

Amendments to the Policy shall be recommended to the Academic Board. Changes to the divisional regula- tions on grading practices shall be forwarded to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs.
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Distribution of Policy

A copy of the Grading Practices Policy as well as the description of the grade scale used in a division and the substance of divisional regulations indicated in Part II of this Policy shall be published in the Calendar of the division. Similarly a copy shall be given to all students upon initial registration and to all instructors and others, including teaching assistants, involved in the evaluation of student performance. The Policy is in three parts: Part I deals with grades, Part II outlines grading procedures to be adhered to in divisional reg- ulations adopted as part of this Policy, and Part III is an administrative appendix available upon request from the Office of the Provost.
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PART I: GRADES

Meaning of Grades Grades are a measure of the performance of a student in individual courses. Each student shall be judged on the basis of how well he or she has command of the course materials.

I.1 A grade assigned in a course is not an assessment of standing within a program of studies. To determine the requirements for credit and standing in a program of studies, the academic regulations of the divi- sion in which the program is offered should be consulted.

I.2 Grades for each course shall be assigned with reference to the following meanings (which may be ex- panded in the divisional regulations under Part II): Excellent, Good, Adequate, Marginal, Inadequate, Wholly inadequate.

Grade Scales

I.3 Once a judgment on the performance of the student has been made, the following grade scales may be used in accordance with divisional practice:

(a) a compatible letter grade scale;

(b) the numerical scale of marks; and/or

(c) the scales Honours/Pass/Fail and Credit/No Credit.

Grades vs. Scores

I.4 Grades should always be based on the approved grade scales. However, students may find that on any one evaluation they may receive a numerical or letter mark that reflects the score achieved on the test or essay. The cumulative scores may not be directly identified with the final grade. Grades are final only after review by the divisional review committee described below.

I.5 A table of correspondence and a translation table are defined (under "Grading Regulations" in Section Six of the Calendar) for each of the letter grade scales referred to in I.3(a) in order to allow the conver- sion, when necessary, of a grade assigned from one scale to the corresponding grade in another. It should be noted that these tables are not to be used to translate a score to a grade directly.

University Grading Practices Policy

Grade Reporting

I.6 Only one letter scale, as referred to in I.3(a) may be used in a division for assigning grades, but the numerical scale and the H/P/FL and CR/NCR scales, as referred to in I.3(b) and (c) respectively, may also be used. The grades assigned in a course, however, must all be from the same scale.

I.7 Grades in each course shall be assigned according to the practice of the division offering the course. Grades in each course shall be reported according to the practice of the division administering the pro- gram in which the student is registered (the reporting division).

(a) Grades shall be reported as assigned when the division offering the course is also the reporting division, when the offering and reporting divisions use the same grade scale, and when the grades are assigned from the H/P/FL or CR/NCR scales.

(b) In all other cases, grades shall be reported as converted to the scale used by the reporting division, and the conversion shall be made according to the tables of correspondence and translation tables defined in the Appendix.

(c) With the exception of H/P/FL and CR/NCR scales, two different letter grade scales may not be used on the same transcript.

(d) A grade not reported in the form originally assigned by the offering division must on request be made available to the student in that form by the reporting division.

I.8 All non-grade symbols used in reporting course results must correspond to the University-wide stan- dard. A list of the currently approved symbols and their meanings is given in the Appendix A.2.

I.9 The information in grade reports and transcripts must be communicated to the user, whether within or outside the University, in a clear and meaningful way. To that end, transcripts issued by every division of the University must indicate the relationship between the divisional grade scale, the grade meanings, the basic letter grade scale, whether refined or unrefined by plus and minus signs, and the scale of nu- merical marks as well as the translation table. A list of non-grade symbols and meanings shall also be included in the transcript.


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PARTII: GRADING PROCEDURES

Approval of Grades

Grades shall be recommended by the instructor to the chair or division head. The grades shall then be re- viewed and approved following the divisional review procedure. Grades shall not be reported or released to students as official until the divisional review procedure has been carried out. The divisional review constitutes final approval of grades except when grades are changed on appeal.

Divisional Review Committee

II.1 In each division, a committee chaired by the divisional head or designate, and where appropriate, an additional committee structure, with the chairs (or their designates) of departments or other academic units of divisions serving as chairs, shall:

(a) administer the implementation of the University Grading Practices Policy at the divisional level and oversee the general consistency of grading procedures with the division;

(b) formulate, approve, and administer the division's specific regulations concerning the grade scale or scales to be used, the assignment of non-grade symbols for course work, classroom procedures and approval methods of evaluation;

(c) review, adjust and approve course grades recommended by instructors. The grades recommended for any individual student in the professional faculties may be adjusted according to his or her performance in the course or program as determined by the committee. The divisional committee has the final responsibility for assigning the official course grade.

Classroom Procedures

II.2 To ensure that the method of evaluation in every course reflects appropriate academic standards and fairness to students, divisional regulations governing classroom procedures must be consistent with the practices below.

(a) As early as possible in each course (and no later than the division's last date for course enrol- ment) the instructor shall make available to the class, and shall file with the division or depart- ment, the methods by which student performance shall be evaluated. This should include whether the methods of evaluation shall be essays, tests, examinations, etc., the relative weight of these methods in relation to the overall score, and the timing of each major evaluation.

(b) After the methods of evaluation have been known, the instructor may not change them or their relative weight without the consent of at least a simple majority of the students enrolled in the course. Any changes shall be reported to the division or the department.

(c) Student performance in a course shall be assessed on more than one occasion. No one essay, test, examination, etc. should have a value of more than 80% of the grade. Criteria for exemption may be determined by the division.

(d) In courses that meet regularly as a class there shall be an examination (or examinations) conducted formally under divisional auspices and worth (alone or in the aggregate) at least onethird of the final grade. Criteria for exemption may be determined by the division. The relative value of each part of an examination shall be indicated to the student. In the case of a written examination, the value shall be indicated on the examination paper.

(e) Commentary on assessed term work and time for discussion of it shall be made available to students.

(f) At least one piece of term work which is a part of the evaluation of a student performance, whether essay, lab report, review, etc., shall be returned to the student prior to the last date for withdrawal from the course without academic penalty.

(g) Grades shall be recommended by the instructor in reference to the approved grades scales on the basis of each student's overall performance.

In formulating their own regulations divisions may add to items (a) to (g) and may adopt fuller or more specific provisions, for example in place of such terms as "a simple majority" (b), "one-third of the final grade" (d), or in particularizing the evaluation methods referred to in (a) and (b).

Procedures in the Event of Disruptions

II.3 The following principles shall apply in the event of disruption of the academic program:

(i) The academic integrity of academic programs must be honoured; and

(ii) Students must be treated in a fair manner recognizing their freedom of choice to attend class or not without penalty.

Procedures

(a) The Vice-President and Provost, or the Academic Board, shall declare when a disruption of the academic program has occurred. The Provost shall take steps to inform the University commu- nity at large of the changes to be implemented, and will report to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs regarding the implementation of the procedures and changes to the status of the academic programs.

(b) Individual instructors or multi-section co-ordinators responsible for courses that are disrupted shall determine, as the disruption proceeds, whether any changes to classroom procedures are needed to complete the course.

(c) Changes to the classroom procedures should, where possible, first be discussed with students prior to the class in which a vote of the students present on the proposed changes is to be taken. Changes agreed upon by consensus should be forwarded to the department or division with a report on the attendance at the class where the vote was taken.

(d) Where consensus on changes has not been arrived at, or where a vote is not feasible, the instructor, after class discussion, will provide the division head or chair of the department in multi-departmental faculties, with his or her recommendation, along with the results of the classroom votes. The chair or division head shall then make a decision.

(e) Where classes are not able to convene, the instructor, with the prior approval of the chair in multi- departmental faculties or the division head, shall make changes deemed necessary to the classroom procedures. In the absence of the instructor such changes will be made by the divisional head and require the approval of the Provost. Where courses are to be cancelled, approval of the divisional council is required. If the divisional council cannot meet, approval of the division head, or in the absence of the division head, the approval of the Provost is required.

(f) Students must be informed of changes to classroom procedures. This may be done by circulating the changes in writing to the class, posting in the departmental and faculty offices, reporting to the divisional council, as well as listing in the campus press. Should classes resume students must be informed, at class, of any changes made during the disruption.

(g) Where a declared disruption occurs in a specific course after the last date to drop courses for the academic term or session, students who do not wish to complete the course(s) during that term or session may, prior to the last day of classes, withdraw without academic penalty. Students who withdraw from a course prior to the last day of classes as a result of declared disruption in that course shall receive a full refund of the course tuition fee.

(h) Where students have not attended classes that are meeting, they nonetheless remain responsible for the course work and meeting course requirements. However, where possible, reasonable extension of deadlines for the course requirements, or provision of make-up tests shall be made and reasonable alternative access to material covered should be provided.

(i) A student who considers that disruption has unreasonably affected his or her grade in a course may appeal the grade following the procedures as set out in each division. If the petition is approved, the student's original grade will be replaced by either an assessed grade or by a grade of CR/NCR, or as deemed appropriate in the particular circumstances.

Assessment in Clinical and Field Settings

II.4 Divisions may make reasonable exemptions to the classroom procedures described above in circum- stances such as field or clinical courses where adherence to these procedures is not possible. Neverthe- less, it is obligatory that the assessment of the performance of students in clinical or field settings should be fair, humane, valid, reliable and in accordance with the principles enunciated in the Univer- sity Grading Practices Policy. Accordingly, where a student's performance in a clinical or field setting is to be assessed for credit, the evaluation must encompass as a minimum:

(a) a formal statement describing the evaluation process, including the criteria to be used in assessing the performance of students and the appeal mechanisms available. This statement should be available to all students before or at the beginning of the clinical or field experience;

(b) a mid-way performance evaluation with feedback to the student;

(c) written documentation of the final assessment. In addition, for such clinical and field experiences, divisions must ensure that:

(d) clinical and field assessors are fully informed regarding University, divisional and course policies concerning evaluation procedures, including the specific assessment procedures to be applied in any particular field or clinical setting.

Any exception from the above would require a divisional request with explanation for approval by the Governing Council.

Grade Review and Approval Process

II.5 The following principles and procedures shall govern the grade review and approval process.

(a) The distribution of grades in any course shall not be predetermined by any system of quotas that specifies the number or percentage of grades allowable at any grade level.

(b) However, a division may provide broad limits to instructors setting out a reasonable distribution of grades in the division or department. Such broad limits shall recognize that considerable variance in class grades is not unusual. The division may request an explanation of any grades for a course that exceed the limits and hence appear not to be based on the approved grade scales or otherwise appear anomalous in reference to the Policy. It is understood that this section shall only be used when the class size is thirty students or greater. Each division shall make known in the divisional Calendar the existence of any such limits.

(c) The criterion that the Divisional Review Committee shall employ in its evaluation is whether the instructor has followed the University Grading Practices Policy. The Review committee shall not normally adjust grades unless the consequences of allowing the grades to stand would be injurious to the standards of the University, or the class in general.

(d) Membership on the Divisional Review Committee may include students but should not include members of the divisional appeals committee(s).

(e) Where grades have been adjusted by a divisional committee, the students as well as the instructor shall be informed. On request, the students or the instructor shall be given the reason for the adjustment of grades, a description of the methodology used to adjust the grades, and a description of the divisional appeal procedure.

(f) Where a departmental review committee changes course grades, the faculty office shall be so informed. Having done so, the faculty office shall relay this information, upon request, to the students or the instructor with a description as to the reason for the change and the methodology used.

(g) Past statistical data, including drop-out rates, mean arithmetic average, etc., should be provided to the Divisional Review Committee as background information where available. The committee will not use this information exclusively to judge whether a specific grades distribution is anomalous. Rather, the information should provide part of the basis for an overall review of grades in a division.

(h) Where class grades have been changed, or when the Divisional Review Committee had reservations about the grades, the issue will be taken up with the instructor by the division or department head, with a view to ensuring that the Grading Practices Policy is followed in future.

Appeal Procedure

Every division shall establish divisional appeal procedures. Students may appeal grades according to the procedures established for that purpose in the division. The appeal may be made whether marks have been altered by the review process or not. These procedures shall be outlined in the divisional Calendar, and available upon request at the faculty or registrar's office.

Student Access to Examination Papers

II.6

(a) All divisions should provide access to copies of the previous year's final examination papers and other years' papers where feasible. Exemptions may be granted by an appropriate committee of the division or department.

(b) All divisions should provide students with the opportunity within a reasonable time to review their examination paper where feasible. A recovery fee should be set to cover administrative costs including photocopying.

(c) All divisions should provide, in addition to the customary re-reading of papers and the re-checking of marks, the opportunity for students to petition for the re-reading of their examination where feasible. A cost recovery fee should be set and returned where appropriate.

Conflict of Interest

II.7 Where the instructor or a student has a conflict of interest, or is in a situation where a fair and objective assessment may not be possible, this should be disclosed to the chair or division head who shall take steps to ensure fairness and objectivity.


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