Report #345

DATE: September 22, 2010
PARTIES: R.K.A, (the Student) v. University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering


Hearing Date(s): June 22, 2010

Committee Members:
Tad Brown, Chair
Professor Varouj Aivazian
Professor Christina Kramer
Professor Ito Peng
Margaret Kim

Appearances:

For the Student Appellant:
R.K.A. (the Student)
Joshua Chan, DLS for the Student

For the University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering:
Professor Tom Coyle
Barbara McCann, Faculty Registrar
Adam Fox

University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering – aegrotat standing – no dispute regarding medical grounds – procedural grounds – request for aegrotat standing – request for standing to write deferred examination – request denied – assessed mark – reassessment formula – see case #308 – mechanistic nature of the formula – University refusal to accept alternate remedies – no previous missed examinations – not possible to determine whether an assessed grade under a formula is a true indicator of a student’s grade – appeal allowed

Appeal of a decision to deny the Student aegrotat standing in a course on medical and procedural grounds. The Student had fallen ill the day of the final exam in the Course. The Student submitted a Petition of Final Examination requesting aegrotat or standing to write a deferred final examination. The Committee on Examinations delivered a written decision granting accommodation in the form of an assessed mark. The Student appealed for aegrotat standing and was subsequently denied. The Committee found that a deferred supplemental examination would have been the most appropriate remedy if it had been granted at the time of the initial appeal. The Committee found it would have provided the most accurate and fair assessment of the Student’s ability in the Course. The Committee noted a previous case (case #308) of the Academic Appeals Committee in which a previous committee expressed discomfort with the mechanistic nature of assessing grades by a formula when a student is unable to perform due to reasons beyond their control. The Committee found the Student’s case to be another example of a rigid application of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s practice of providing accommodation in the form of assessed grades. The Committee expressed displeasure with the Faculty’s near total refusal to consider alternate remedies that were more appropriate. The Committee noted the Student had never before missed a final examination and had put significant and timely effort into requesting the opportunity to write a deferred supplemental examination. The Committee noted the Faculty had already indicated its belief that the Student knew the material well enough to pass the Course through the application of an assessed mark. The Committee noted that without the opportunity to write a supplemental examination, it was not possible to determine whether the assessed grade was a true indicator of the Student’s ability to perform in the Course. The Committee held that by granting aegrotat standing in the course, the Student would retain the pass which had already been granted but would have the mark removed so as not to affect the Student’s GPA. The Committee granted aegrotat status in the Course. Appeal allowed.