On Sunday, the National Union of Students (NUS) launched their #SaveOurStudents campaign with a list of six demands. The LTSU has begun pushing La Trobe University to meet us on some of these demands; namely, the call for fair assessment and grading for Semester 1 2020.
We commend the University’s decision to:
Remove ‘fail’ grades from academic transcripts for Semester 1 and;
Not allow ‘fail’ grades to affect your WAM for Semester 1.
However, this does not go far enough. On Monday, the LTSU submitted a proposed extension of this policy to the University. In it, we called for La Trobe to commit to not lowering the WAM of any student in Semester 1, pass or fail. This would mean that if you pass your subjects, but achieve lower grades, your WAM will not decrease.
Why is this important? Because students should not be academically penalised for a pandemic.
Online learning comes with many challenges. It is:
Linked to higher drop-out and fail rates
Shown to negatively impact students whose first language is not English
Reliant on having a stable internet connection at home, and Zoom not crashing.
This is before accounting for the impact of COVID-19 on our mental, physical and financial health. Our grades this semester should not impact our ability to get a job, maintain a good WAM, or transfer courses in the future.
We will update you on the outcome of our proposal when we know. And, crucially, we will continue to push for these changes even if the University says no.
You can read the full list of NUS demands by visiting their website here.