Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Canadian University adds "FD" to grading scale

Students know the letter grade "F" means fail, but what about "FD?" reported that Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada is taking punishment to a whole new level by adopting a new grade of "FD," which means failure with dishonesty. This is now the worst possible grade a student can receive.

Rob Gordon, director of criminology at SFU and acting chair of the senate committee on academic integrity, said the new grading is intended to curtail cheating using the Internet.

"What used to be a lot of cheating in libraries has changed quite significantly," Gordon said. "We now have to be concerned about cheating during exams with high-tech devices and the inappropriate use of Internet sources and downloading, including online companies offering services to students that promote academic dishonesty."

Department chairs can impose the "FD" grade if they feel the incident warrants a severe penalty.

Gordon said the new grade will only be used in cases of dishonesty.

The grade has yet to be used in its introductory semester, however, it will stay on the student's transcripts for two years after graduation.

Some students say it's unfair to carry the stigma of the grade into the working world.

"Two years loss of your life is a bit too far," said Olid Amid, Simon Fraser student.

However, some students said they feel the grade will finally hold cheaters accountable for their actions.

Student John Aubrey said the grade "makes it a lot easier for those of us who don't cheat to get good grades and to not worry about the people who are cheating."

Even though this grading system is fairly new, other universities have already began implementing its own system. The University of Alberta gives cheaters an "F8" or "F9," which is reduced to an "F" after three years.

"In our case, we give the students a chance to redeem themselves," Dean of Students Frank Robinson said. "[In] three years they can graduate and have a clean record and get on with life."

I have never been a fan of cheating, which is why I agree with this grading system. There is no excuse for plagiarism or being too lazy to study. If you're in college, then it's time to study. You knew going into it that it wasn't all fun and games.

This grading system should be considered in the United States, especially with all the new technology that makes it easier for students to cheat. However, cheating is a choice and if you make that choice then an "FD" is what you should receive.