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Thu, 11 Dec 1997 12:35:54 -0500


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From: "Michael A. Gilbert" <Gilbert@YorkU.CA>
Organization: York University
To: gov@mathstat.yorku.ca
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 12:38:19 -0500
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Subject: Drade Dates UPD 1
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NOTE: Mr. Kirkup was the individual who signed the memo containing
the deadlines.
MAG

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From: Self <Single-user mode>
To: skirkup@yorku.ca
Subject: Grade Deadlines
Cc: Mike Stevenson <stevensn@circus.yorku.ca>, gfallis@yorku.ca, CCAS <senate@yorku.ca>,embleton@yorku.ca,yufa@yorku.ca
Bcc: ARTSUGPD@YORKU.CA, Leslie Green <greenl@YorkU.CA>
Reply-to: Gilbert@YorkU.ca
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 15:10:12 -0500

Mr. Shawn Kirkup:

My office staff has passed on to me a memo from you regarding dates
for grade submissions. The deadlines are extremely early, leave
insufficient time for proper grading, and do not take into account
various common practices in departments. In other words, the RO has
acted in its own interests without consulting those affected, and
without taking academic considerations into account.

The deadlines, in bold type, are as follows:
*Grades are due December 10th or 5 working days after the final
examination, whichever is later.*

First of all, the December 10th deadline: In many classes, especially
at the upper levels, there is a final essay worth 40%+ of the grade.
In my department, and I know in several others, it is common to give
students *at least* a week from the date of the last class to submit
the essay. In my 3rd year Argumentation Theory class, for example, the
last day is December 3. I have given my students until the 10th to
submit. I can grade at most 5-7 upper level essays a day if I am to do
a proper job. That means the very earliest I can get them in is on the
17th. My office needs a full day to check them and do whatever needs
to be done, so we're talking the 18th or 19th.

Please note that in Philosophy we have many course at the 2nd, 3rd and
4th year that do not have final exams but final essays instead. (Some,
indeed, have both, which is another wrinkle.) So this issue is very
important.

The second clause can have the net effect that final exams be graded
in two days. If an exam is on a Monday, then the grades must be
submitted to our office on Friday for checking and so that they can be
picked up by the courier on the following Monday [the 5th working
day.] The CD needs at least one full day to compute the final grades
based on the course work once all the grading is done. That means s/he
must do that on day 3, or Thursday in my worst case scenario example.
That means TAs (many of whom also have final papers due) must grade
the final exams on days 1 and 2, or 30 exams a day, which belies any
academic standards in a course involving essay questions or other
"creative" work not machine markable.

In short, the deadlines are unrealistic, and, more importantly,
infringe on academic issues. There is no reason for UPDs not to have
been consulted on this matter, and the same applies to the silly and
capricious rule that the "last day for course work to be submitted" is
8 December-a date no one pays any attention to at all, but still a
fact that can result in needless petitions and difficulties.

How long we and our colleagues have to grade a final essay or final
exam or the date when term work can be handed in is an academic
question, not a bureaucratic one. Students at all levels, but
especially at the higher, put an enormous amount of time and energy
into their term papers and they deserve to be treated with respect and
given the time they require.

I insist that you inform the Registrar that the deadlines are
unrealistic, and that instead, every effort will be made to see that
grades are submitted as swiftly as possible, but not at the sacrifice
of academic standards.

Yours,

Michael A. Gilbert, UPD, Department of Philosophy

And
Regina Schuller, UPD, Deparment of Psychology
Martin Muldoon, UPD, Applied Mathematics Section,
Mathematics & Statistics
Robert Fink, UPD, Linquistics
Mary-Louise Craven, UPD, Social Science Division
Lawrence Lam, UPD, Department of Sociology
Viola Stephens, UPD, Languages and Linguistics
Robert MacDermid, UPD, Political Science

CC: Dean George Fallis, Associate Dean Shiela Embleton, VP Michael
Stevenson, Chair, CCAS, David Clipsham (YUFA)