Students call on University of Ottawa to implement pass/fail grading amid pandemic
OTTAWA -- The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is calling on the university to introduce optional, one-course-only pass/fail grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The students' union said nearly 5,000 uOttawa students have signed its petition supporting the grading system.
In a letter to the university, the UOSU said it is asking the school to make changes to the grading structure, including allowing one course per semester to be converted to the “pass” or “satisfactory” designation.
The UOSU also made recommendations regarding a reduction of workload and course delivery.
“The adaptation to online learning during the pandemic for students has created unique challenges and disruptions that could not have been anticipated,” wrote Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s Advocacy Commissioner.
“The use of flexible compassionate grading options has been introduced in other universities, such as Carleton University which includes a use of Pass/Fail which we feel could be implemented at the University of Ottawa.”
Carleton University approved the use of flexible and compassionate grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms in early November.
The UOSU also called for all grades that constitute a fail to appear as “Not Satisfactory” on their transcript, which would not be included in grade point average calculations.
The union represents more than 38,000 undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa.
In a response to CTV News, the University of Ottawa said it is aware of the petition.
"Last spring a decision was made by the (University) Senate to allow the Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory mark to be used, given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, which hit us close to the end of the Winter 2020 semester. The University is aware of the petition and is looking into the matter."