Yesterday we met with the Committee for Graduate Studies and discussed a point from the memo we brought to the External Reviewers regarding how grades are awarded for PhD qualifying exams (namely that we are awarded numerical grades but those grades disappear into the ether after we see them, and only “pass” “fail” or “pass with distinction” appear on our transcripts.The numerical grades aren’t used for anything — not even SSHRC applications — and cease being of use as soon as we read them). Bringing this to the External Reviewers and to the CGS was a decision we made based on feedback we got from GES members at different points in their doctoral career. For more information, please see the final point under “Comps” here:
As a result of this meeting, the graduate faculty is now discussing this practice amongst themselves, to determine if it’s the best way to communicate qualifying exam grades.
This discussion is in its nascent stages, and we welcome feedback from members of the GES. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com if you would like to weigh in on this matter.
Again, this is only a conversation we’re having with the department at this point, and no action is close to being taken. It’s a great time to voice your opinion over email.
Important: Please know that we won’t be responding in detail to your emails, as we will be compiling a document that encompasses the fine points of our conversation with the CGS faculty members, along with the pros and cons of moving from numerical grades to Pass/Fail/Pass with distinction grades. We will confirm receipt of your email, but we won’t engage with your opinions until we’re able to do so on a mass scale (this will likely be in February). As a result, this will not affect those who are writing comps in January, and probably not even May, should the department vote to change anything.