Waiting to get grades back is the most thrilling and terrifying rollercoaster there is. But in order to take the pressure off students, the University of Alberta is abandoning letter grading during COVID-19. While some may be happy, thousands of students are protesting the changed system and have even started an online petition against it. 

The University of Alberta has announced that they will be temporarily switching to a pass/fail system in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

This means that students will no longer know their exact exam outcomes and will instead receive a pass or a fail on exams and assignments. 

This would come into effect for the winter semester of 2020. 

The Edmonton Journal has confirmed that students will receive a “CR” as credit, “IN” as incomplete and “NC" as non-credit. "The designations will be based on whether students met course objectives and will not impact their grade-point average."

While some students may be happy about this decision, an overwhelming amount of the students are not pleased with the decision. 

So much so that an online petition on Change.org has been started. 

Just four days ago, the petition started with a goal of gaining 15,000 signatures. As of publication time, the petition has over 11,800 signatures from students. 

Started by Ethan Kreiser, the petition's description reads: “This change will erase the hard work of students who have exerted their intellectual might all semester to achieve their desired mark.” 

He is suggesting that the university allow students the option to accept their grade while also providing the option to "receive a NR/CNR" for those who desire. 

By the looks of the online petition, many students are in support of the movement. 

Some students have left comments on the post stating that seeing the grade is what they work hard for. 

“We don’t grind so hard all semester long just to be given a pass or fail and be grouped in the same category as those who have slacked off and not put in as much time effort and dedication,” wrote Brianna Manning in the comment section. 

Some students are concerned that this pass/fail grading system will allow students the ability to not work as hard for the same outcome. 

Countless online comments are from concerned students worried that they will not get the recognition they worked hard for. 

CBC News has stated that some exemptions to this grading scheme can be established by the deans. 

“The university is making a number of changes to our normal practices in order to set students up for continued academic success and with your best interests in mind," said UofA in an online statement.

In addition to the phasing out of letter grades, the school has moved to cancel as many exams for the semester as possible. 

This has forced faculty to look at attentive forms of assessment other than the traditional final exam.

Just last week, Alberta confirmed their first COVID-19 death in Edmonton. 

Everyone is now being encouraged to stay inside and self-isolate to prevent the spread.

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