2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Photo by Mariah Wilson

Universities should standardize grade scales

By Jesse Stilwell, December 5 2017 —

Few things are more frustrating than getting the same percentage grade in two classes to have them translate into two different letter grades on your transcript, or doing substantially better in one class only to receive the same letter grade as another class you struggled with. This happens too often at the University of Calgary.

The U of C should standardize grade scales across departments and faculties. The University of Athabasca has one grade scale for all of its classes, so why shouldn’t all of Alberta’s institutions?

There is tremendous pressure on students to achieve the highest grades possible. Students often feel as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders and one GPA-destroying mark can ruin everything. An arbitrary grading system shouldn’t contribute to this. And the U of C’s tolerance of such wildly varying scales is illogical.

I avoid professors who attach higher percentages to their letter grade breakdowns. Taking a class with a professor who forces me to score way higher than another prof only to receive the same grade on my transcript is ridiculous. It also means I avoid entire departments within my faculty when I know I can take elective courses in a different subject and not have my work discredited.

An A-worthy assignment is an A-worthy assignment. Whether that means it scored 80 percent, 85 per cent or 90 per cent is irrelevant. This is especially true on subjective assignments like creative writing, interpretive essays and other art mediums. If one grade scale would’ve put it in the A-range, every scale should.

There are numerous guides available to create universal grade scales. Even if it means the lower scales are lost, every student will benefit from knowing exactly what percentage will translate to the grades they want. Rather than having to neglect some classes in favour of others, students should know precisely what percentage they’re earning and get the marks they deserve across their entire transcript. Higher grades would be adequately rewarded instead of being obscured by random grade scale fluctuations. It’s time for the U of C’s to follow Athabasca’s lead.


Articles published in the Gauntlet‘s opinion section do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet