Saskatchewan universities decide on grading after COVID-19 disrupts semester

University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina deciding how to grade students in an unprecedented term.

University of Regina giving students several options, University of Saskatchewan keeping status quo

The University of Saskatchewan has decided to grade students in the manner already outlined for the semester. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

It's been far from business as usual at University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina over the past two weeks. 

Both universities shifted to remote learning on March 16, in response to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions laid out by the province. 

And now, both have decided how students will be graded for this unprecedented semester. 

At the University of Regina, students will have a number of options.

  • They can withdraw from a course right up until the final day of classes, April 9, without it affect their grade point average (GPA).
  • They can take the traditional numeric grading method.
  • They can choose between two pass/fail options — Credit COVID-19 or No Credit COVID-19 — either of which will not impact their overall average and will preserve their academic standing. 

Students choosing Credit COVID-19 (CRC) will be recognized as passing that course, but will not affect the student's GPA.

Students who complete a course can request to receive a No Credit – COVID-19 (NCC) grade. Students who do not pass due to failure to complete a final exam or other key component of the course, will not be eligible for NCC.

Thomas Chase, U of R Provost and vice-president (academic), said the new grades reflect the unprecedented circumstances the students are facing.

Students at the University of Regina will have a number of options on how they want to be graded for this term. (Kevin O'Connor/CBC)

For example, CRC is "for students who pass the course but because of the pandemic and all of the stresses and strains their academic performance is not where they want to be," Chase said.

"Still students under this option would have the ability to replace a numeric grade with CRC. And the reason for that grade is that it will not impact their overall average. And it can be used in degree completion requirements."

And U of R students can choose any of these options for each course.

"So let's say I'm a student in biology and I've done well and I want the numeric grade," Chase said. "[But] I haven't done so well in another course and I want one of the new options. I can do it on a course-by-course basis."

"By doing this we hope that we have met the needs of the vast majority of students who ... are facing just an incredible range of pressures and stressors, program requirements, life situations and everything that students are going through around the world right now."

U of S grading

In a statement today from Patti McDougall, the vice-provost of teaching, learning and student experience, she says comprehensive conversations have taken place, and the university has decided it's in the best interest of students to maintain the typical grading practices already outlined for this semester. 

So for the most part, grading at U of S will remain status quo. However, the statement also says the university's College of Law was approved to adopt a new model for classes completed in this term only. It says the grading model for the Juris Doctor program is still being finalized.