U of T’s Committee on Academic Policy and Programs approved the introduction of a Second Attempt for Credit (SAC) proposal on January 14, which will allow UTM students to choose up to 1.0 retaken passed credits to count toward their cumulative GPA (CGPA). This policy does not apply to UTSC or UTSG students.
Currently, marks received for a retaken course are not reflected in students’ GPAs, but are denoted as “extra” on their transcript.
Effective May 1, the policy makes changes to UTM’s existing Repeating Passed Courses Policy, according to an email from U of T spokesperson, Elizabeth Church.
“Under the existing policy, students are allowed to repeat passed courses only once and only when the course is needed to enter a program, to satisfy a prerequisite, or to demonstrate higher performance for an external credential or future graduate study,” explained Church.
Data collected by the university since September 2015 shows that, out of 1,340 instances of repeated passed courses, only 10 per cent of students taking previously passed courses saw a mark decrease. Most students saw a median increase of 13 per cent.
Students must designate a course as SAC before completing it for it to count toward their GPA, or else it will continue to be denoted as “extra.”
The deadline will correspond with the deadlines for late withdrawal and credit/no credit. There is no restriction on the year that the student is in, the level of the course, or the campus where the course is offered.
The Office of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean consulted with UTM’s Office of the Registrar and solicited feedback from UTM Department Chairs and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU).
Professor Angela Lange, Acting Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, formally proposed this policy in October last year, after which it was brought to UTM’s Academic Affairs Committee. Upon the Academic Affairs Committee’s recommendation, the motion was presented to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs for approval.
“The rationale behind this [policy],” said Church, “is to give students more opportunities to recover from challenges in their first year that may keep them from entering programs that require a minimum mark in a particular course… or a minimum CGPA.”
The SAC amendment acknowledges students’ efforts to improve and ensures that this effort is reflected in their GPA.
The new policy will also be consistent with other U15 universities, a group of 15 Canadian public research universities of which University of Toronto is a member.
The UTMSU has been advocating for the course retake policy for years, with the union releasing its policy proposal on the issue last March.
However, this policy currently only exists at UTM; no similar policies have been proposed at either UTSC or UTSG.
Haseeb Hassaan, President of the Arts & Science Students’ Union (ASSU), which represents undergraduate full-time students in the Faculty of Arts & Science at UTSG, wrote to The Varsity that ASSU “supports such a policy at the faculty of arts and science.”
“Our counterparts at the UTMSU have also briefed us on the policy,” confirmed Hassaan. “ASSU has brought this to the attention of the deans office and has made it clear that this [policy] would be of benefit [to] students.”
The Varsity has reached out to the UTMSU and the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union for comment.