The grading method for group activities has been converted to the S/U method in which students are evaluated by pass or fail grading system, but the overall grading will remain with the relative grading scheme.
Share Leadership was established as a general education course in 2013 with the purpose of training students into intellectuals who are able to value the meaning of community life by engaging in a set of goal-driven collective tasks. The course combines lectures, team projects and presentations. Students learn theoretical contents under topics of communication and empathy, regional society, global citizenship and women. Then these theoretical contents are implemented in turning their concerns about social issues into actual projects.
The grading system has been, however, a source of constant controversy. It has been pointed out that the relative grading system of the course contradicts its aim of encouraging student activities.
While the positive messages of the projects were admirable, heated controversy was triggered among students due to the evaluation method.
“There were not only team projects but also mid-term and finals to take for this class,” said Ha Ji-hee, a junior majoring in Journalism, recalling her freshman year. “As the team projects accounted for a considerable part of total grades, we all got tied up with the group activities. Considering the efforts most of the students put in the project, relative grading seems meaningless and paradoxical.”
Recognizing the demands of the students, instructors of Share Leadership pondered on how to improve the course.
“We also thought the absolute evaluation system was necessary, and we discussed this matter with the school,” said a professor who is in charge of the course. “However, the grading system is an issue that cannot be decided solely by professors’ demands because the school’s basic rule is to have a relative grading system.”
As a result, the instructors decided to accomodate students’ need by converting the evaluation method of the team project to a pass or fail system while maintaining the relative system on exams and attendance.
However, some students cast doubt on the effectiveness of the change. “As we are relatively evaluated on reports which are based on our experience in the team project, I think there is no difference,” said Park Ye-rin, a freshman majoring in Communication & Media.
Despite such problems, students welcome the change while expecting it to be applied on overall grading.
“With the absolute grading system, I think students would be more motivated to take this course,” said La Yi-rang, a freshman majoring in Communication & Media.