Brac University postpones decision to assign grades without semester finals | The Daily Star
07:00 PM, April 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:49 PM, April 05, 2020

Brac University postpones decision to assign grades without semester finals

Brac University authority has postponed its decision to assign students' grades without holding semester finals.

"Today we have decided to postpone the previous decision," Brac University Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Mohammad Tamim confirmed to The Daily Star this afternoon.

He said that university authorities yesterday [Saturday] had formed a steering committee consisting several faculties to propose how the marks will be distributed.

Several teachers said the university will remain closed until April 9, as per the registrar's office.

"There will be no more classes of Spring 2020 (online or otherwise). Faculty members are requested to complete grading based on coursework completed thus far," a teacher said quoting a registrar's office order on March 24.

"The above decision to conclude the semester was taken primarily to reduce students' anxiety over coursework and grades in this stressful time. There will be no finals. Given the extraordinary circumstances of this term, faculty members are asked to be lenient and understanding of the situation when assigning grades," said the order.

Meanwhile, university website have uploaded a message of it's Vice Chancellor Professor Vincent Chang, dated on April 3, regarding semester conclusion and grading.

He said, "We recognised the obstacles to finish the semester in the face of the Covid-19 threat as early as February and started making preparations for online learning and teaching."

They were prepared to carry on with online learning until the end of semester on April 8.

However, the government stipulation that all universities remain closed until April 9 and the uncertainty beyond that time forced them to rethink the strategy.

"It was clear that we might not be able to hold in-person exams and that it would be unfair and unsafe to require students who left Dhaka to travel back to attend exams. We considered online testing, but that has proved extremely problematic even at first rate universities like MIT and Harvard, and would be particularly so in Bangladesh because of internet connectivity issues outside of urban areas," he added.

"With the semester near the end, and after consultation with department heads and deans and stakeholders, we suggested a new strategy to finish the semester two weeks early and assign grades in a uniform manner that didn't penalise students with poor internet connectivity and rewarded students who had worked hard throughout the semester," he said.

"I am appointing a steering committee to clarify and formalise a grading policy for this semester. I believe that the vast majority of you will find our solution to be fair, practical and in line with common sense. Quality institutions around the world like MIT and Boston University have adopted similar simplified grading policies," the VC said.

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