The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday April 14th

UNC Faculty Council votes for transcript changes

But unlike the last meeting, it did not feature anything that caused a stir.

The group discussed a number of topics including contextual transcripts, changes to the honor system, and the University’s public records policy, but did not reveal the results of an outside data review of former learning specialist Mary Willingham’s research.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean said a team of three experts is conducting the investigation, and the results should be available this week.

“You’ll have that very soon,” he said.

Sociology professor Andy Perrin unveiled a model for contextualized transcripts, which will be offered for all courses with more than 10 students beginning in the fall.

The transcripts, which are used only by a handful of schools, add information such as median course grade and cumulative GPA.

The concept was developed in April 2010 and was approved the next year.

“When it was a proposal, we spent a remarkable amount of time in conversation with student government,” he said.

“Now that we’ve got what we wanted, we need to step up and make sure that this process works well.”

The transcript will also include a new statistic called schedule point average, the average semester grade point average for a student taking any particular set of courses. Perrin said the SPA will not be used to gauge an individual student’s academic ability.

“I don’t think we’re going to make a strong claim as a university that the difference between GPA and SPA is a measure of achievement,” he said.

Perrin said there a still a few kinks that need to be worked out.

Some faculty members said they were confused that the method categorizes students at the top of their class as being in the zero percentile instead of the 99th.

In addition to contextual transcripts, changes to the Honor Code were also presented at the meeting, including the introduction of an “XF” grade, which would indicate that a student who failed a course also committed a violation to the Honor Code.

UNC School of Law’s Associate Dean of Affairs and Professor Richard Myers said the Honor Code does not distinguish between undergraduates and graduate students.

Myers pointed out one particular change which will expand the definition of plagiarism to include multiple submissions of the same work in different courses, otherwise known as self-plagiarism.

“We had folks who were in different places, particularly in plagiarism cases,” Myers said.


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