Dear Deakin students
DUSA asked for your feedback and you gave it. After the major success of our Student Survey we put to our 11,000 members, we’ve approached the university and requested changes to the grading scheme. Deakin hasn’t been able to meet all of our demands, but we’ve had some great progress and we wanted to share it with you.
The changes for Trimester 1 and Semester 1, 2020 as they stand are;
• New grades (letters) have been created – the Credit, Distinction and High Distinction grade bands are now divided into 2 categories to allow for clear result recognition on academic transcripts. These have been designed to ensure high achievement can still be recognised.
• Marks (numbers) will not be recorded on academic transcripts.
• Results for Trimester and Semester 1 will not count towards the Weighted Average Mark (WAM), noting that WAM is not published on Deakin transcripts under normal circumstances.
WAM AND ACADEMIC PROGRESSION
DUSA recognizes WAM plays a significant role within the academic progression of students at Deakin and is a key issue that was flagged by student council when discussing this proposal. These students still deserve to have their academic results acknowledged in their WAM. For this reason, DUSA would like to see this system have an opt-out capability, however Deakin has advised us the student management system is not currently capable of recording some students with a WAM and others without.
The special grading schema makes provision for dependent processes including course transfer, progression and completion which depend on grade or WAM calculation. This means students who will be adversely affected by these concessions will be able to request case-by-case consideration from the university.
You can find a complete explanation of this grading schema for Trimester and Semester 1 2020 in the Deakin Policy Library. Additionally, the Vice-Chancellor has assured that students requiring WAMs will not be disadvantaged:
“I wish to assure you that students who require a WAM for selection into courses within Deakin or for employment or study applications will not be disadvantaged by these changes. Processes are being created now for any student in this situation.” – Iain Martin
It is important to remember that while some students are coping well during this challenging study period, thousands of students are not. Our survey made it clear that the majority of students are struggling, and an alarming amount have stated that the Covid-19 environment has impacted their studies negatively, with over 70% saying their grades will be heavily impacted. Additionally, the majority of students which answered our survey voiced that they are struggling financially as they have had a decrease in their income due to Covid-19.
Many students are struggling to adjust to the new teaching arrangements and are facing adverse conditions such as job loss, financial arrears and other challenges no student could be expected to prepare for, especially Deakin’s very large international student cohort. This proposal was created in consultation with DUSA and is intended to alleviate the academic stress and anxiety felt by Deakin students across the country and internationally.
DUSA acknowledges this is not perfect, but is a step in the right direction, and we must prioritise advocating for the academic and personal welfare of those who are experiencing severe hardship at this time.
Despite the technicalities – DUSA will continue to push for an opt in/opt out system, we assure you it is not the intent of DUSA nor the university to penalise high achieving students or hinder students wishing to pursue postgraduate study.
DUSA wish you all the success with your studies.
Take care and stay safe,
2020 Student Council