Wednesday, May 15 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
The Cost of Letter Grades: How Transcripts without Percentage Grades Penalize SFU Students Applying to Professional and Graduate Programs

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The competition for entrance to almost every type of academic program is incredible. Coveted professional programs – including medicine, law, business, physiotherapy – are receiving more applications than ever before. In this competitive environment, we propose that SFU’s letter grade-only system puts our students at a disadvantage and adversely affects student mental health.
This panel discussion targets almost everyone involved in assessment at SFU, from students and faculty to administrators (who ultimately hold the key to change). The session outcomes are i) identifying and challenging perspectives on letter grades across role and discipline; ii) reviewing and challenging the available data – anecdotal and otherwise – on the effects of the letter grade system; and iii) considering solutions and next steps (and whether or not any steps need to be taken). The session content will include a panel that spans roles (i.e., faculty and students) and disciplines, presenting their perspectives and fielding questions; the remainder of content will be shaped by the audience, using three different approaches: solo written reactions, small group discussion, and large group discussion. The letter grade system, and its variability across campus, affects faculty and students, and dramatically impacts the learning environment at SFU. We should carefully consider these impacts.

Wednesday May 15, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm PDT
Harbour Centre, Rm 1500

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