Manitoba

U of M senate votes for alternative grading in fall and winter terms

The University of Manitoba senate has voted in favour of a compassionate grading system that will allow students to drop a grade from their grade point average.

Students will be able to drop a grade from their grade point average in fall, winter terms

The university senate voted largely in favour — 83 per cent — of the proposal Wednesday afternoon, following some slight amendments. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

The University of Manitoba senate has voted in favour of a compassionate grading system that will allow students to drop a grade from their grade point average.

Student senators, supported by the university's students' unions, had written a proposal to U of M administration that would implement an alternative grading process for the fall and winter terms, similar to that put in place last spring.

The university senate voted largely in favour — 83 per cent — of the proposal Wednesday afternoon, following some slight amendments.

"Students needed this. They needed their university to make a nod to the fact that online learning in the fall has not been all it was promised to be — and for many, that it's caused irregular educational and mental health outcomes," Kristin Smith, University of Manitoba Students' Union vice-president of advocacy, said in a news release.

"The next step is for us to work toward actually solving the problems associated with online learning — to get to a point where we don't need compassionate grading to correct for those problems anymore."

The results of Wednesday's vote "will be a sigh of relief" for graduate students, added Rubel Talukder, vice-president of academic for the University of Manitoba Graduate Students Association.

Students have been distressed by the escalating COVID-19 situation in Manitoba, online learning and the potential job action faculty threatened earlier this fall, the release said.

The new grading will give students the choice to drop one of their grades so it does not impact their GPA — although it will stay on a student's transcript. Students could drop one grade in both the fall and winter term, or drop the grade of a full-year course, the release said.

Deadlines and "other administrative mechanisms" still need to be worked out, and the students' unions will be working with administration on how best to help students understand the new grading scheme, the release said.

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