Volume 95, Issue 59
Thursday, January 17, 2002
Goodbye crappy grade points
The age of averages dawns for Western
If a new proposal is passed by Western's senate, students may never have to worry about their grade points again.
The Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Awards will present a proposal at Friday's Senate meeting seeking to change Western's undergraduate progression requirements from a grade point system to one based on grade average, said Brian Timney, associate dean of social science and chair of SCAPA.
"The [old] system was a nightmare," he said. "A student could get five grades of 59 per cent and not advance in their program (marks of 50 to 59 only receive one grade point), while a student could get four grades of 50 and a 61 (two grade points) and advance in their program."
Timney said the new progression averages will be slightly higher than the previous grade point system in order to reflect today's higher Western admission averages.
He added he does not foresee the increase hindering students.
"If a student has moderate success, he or she will be able to advance in their program," he said.
At the lowest level of academic achievement not including requirements involved in specific programs a student must have an average of 55 per cent or higher, the SCAPA memorandum states. If a student's average is between 50 and 54 per cent, they are put on probation; if their average falls under 50 per cent they are required to withdraw.
"Grade points are a fossil from when there were no computers and universities needed a quick glance to see if a student could get back in for the next year," said Erin McCloskey, University Students' Council VP-education.
The proposal will make the progression system less arbitrary, she said, adding that a new probationary period system will also be introduced in the motion.
Timney said the new probationary period will eliminate the student appeal process and make academic difficulties much less complicated for both students and administrators.
"[Under the current system] students who don't make their required grade points can appeal in the summer," he said, noting a formal process of interviews and paper-work would have to take place before a student is re-admitted.
The proposed probationary period will give students another year to regain solid academic footing, he said, adding academic counselling will be recommended and students will not be allowed to take a full course load. "I don't see why the agenda won't be adopted," Timney said.
Student senator Josh Morgan said he hopes the university will make all efforts to ensure students get through their probationary situation. He suggested academic counselling for probationary students be mandatory instead of recommended.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001