As students return to campus from the long deserved winter break — and, for the most part, settle back in to academic life — the excitement of a new semester becomes evident. Students are armed with newly acquired knowledge and skills that they have attained from the previous semester and are ready to tackle their new courses.
Unfortunately, fall courses are still lingering in the backs of some students’ minds, as not everyone has received their final grades — even those who wrote their exams in the first days of December’s exam session.
Although this may not seem to be an immediate cause for concern, delayed grades cause a multitude of problems. Apart from the acute anxiety of waiting for grades, students also have practical reasons for needing to know whether or not they have passed a course.
Students end up enrolling in certain courses that require prerequisite courses — possibly with a certain grade requirement — without actually having their marks available.
The nightmare scenario is being deregistered after a week or two of classes due to the apparent absence of these prerequisites. Not only is the student frustrated, but they are also held financially responsible for the course, as well as any timetable changes they may now have to make.
Professors are also being forced into a difficult position, as many are obligated to respond to the repetitive inquiries of students regarding final grades — even though the course is finished, and even if they have already sent in the marks for departmental approval.
This problem is also compounded if a professor strictly enforces prerequisites and cannot check for them until waitlists have dropped. People that may have been in the course without the necessary requirements have been taking up class space for students who were actually eligible to take the course. A quick glance at this situation poses several issues that may arise from final marks being delayed so long, such as selling spots in courses.
Given that U of T is a large school, we can applaud the fact that some marks are released more quickly than others. As a whole, it seems that the system we have in place does indeed do a decent job with releasing final grades. Nevertheless, it is critical for the university to address the problem and provide more support when it comes to resolving these troublesome issues.
Dmitry Polyanskyy is a second-year student studying math and computer science.
Correction: A previous version of this article featured a misspelling of the author’s name. It is Dmitry Polyanskyy, not Dmytri Polyanskyy.