The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 20th

UNC transcripts to feature contextual grading

Testing and transcripts — two words that most students fear — will see major changes in the near future.

On Monday, the Faculty Executive Committee met to discuss contextual grading and the UNC system's strategic plan, "Our Time, Our Future."

Though originally scheduled to debut in the fall of 2012, transcripts including contextual grading will now take effect fall 2014. Contextual grading is meant to show how a student performed relative to others in his or her class.

Each transcript will include the median grade of all students in the course, the percentile range in which the student's grade fell, the number of students in the course section and an overview of how the student performed in other course sections.

"The registrar said that it's had a number of requests from students now to ask if they could see their current transcripts in contextual form," said Andy Perrin, a sociology professor who has led the push for contextual grading at UNC.

Following the discussion of contextual grading, psychology professor Abigail Panter updated the committee on her work with the UNC system's Engaging Experts subcommittee, which was created to identify current methods of assessment and find experts to develop assessment strategies for the UNC system.

These assessments are meant to test students on two core competencies: critical thinking and written communication.

The way students will be tested has yet to be determined.

The project has not received a budget yet, though Panter thinks that expenses will be high.

"This is costly. All of this is costly," she said.

"I think that none of us love the idea that there would be a huge assessment going on across campuses. But if there is one, we want to make sure that it's done with faculty input and with all the assessment expertise that we have available to us."

The Engaging Experts subcommittee is preparing to report to the UNC Board of Governors in January. There are still no plans as to who would grade the assessments and what the data collected from the assessments would be used for, Panter said.

Jan Boxill, chairwoman of the faculty, said the implementation might be an opportunity for Chapel Hill to be a frontrunner in the field of core competency assessments.

Committee member and biology professor Gregory Copenhaver sees the need to tailor the plan to UNC.

"You can view (the assessments) as a boulder going down a hill in that there's nothing we can do about it except stand where we are and get run over by it," he said. "Or we can get busy digging the trenches and steer it in the direction we want it to go in."

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel's 2023 Black History Month Edition

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive