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Dalhousie first-year chemistry students protest final exam grades

Dalhousie students in Chemistry 1012 and 1022 have been passing around a petition asking administration to reevaluate its grading method.

Madison Milne made the petition on April 24, a day after receiving her exam grade. She posted the petition on the Dalhousie chemistry and graduating class’s Facebook group. It currently has 536 signatures.

“I got an overwhelming amount of support,” says Milne, 18. “Lots of messages, likes and comments, so I decided to do something about it.”

Students had three hours to complete the final exam made up of 60 multiple choice questions – something Milne says is an inadequate form of assessing one’s knowledge.

“It fails to allow students to show their work and knowledge through the methodology,” she says

Milne says this is the first time the exam has been comprised only of multiple choice questions.  Milne is asking for the department to bell curve the grades, allowing the class average to be worth more.

“I put in 25 plus hours when I studied for this exam,” she says. “I feel that students are putting in this much effort, and this much time and money, as well. We deserve to have an exam that is not just marked by a machine.”

The final exam is worth 40 per cent of the student’s overall grade. The two midterms, which are also all multiple choice, are worth 30 per cent combined. The other 30 per cent goes towards assignments and labs.

Milne, who plans on majoring in neuroscience, says she loves chemistry, but admits the low grades are making her lose passion.

“It just didn’t seem fair to me that this passion that many students have isn’t going to be continued because of the detriments that this had on them.”

Milne says the calculations required for each question takes 5-10 minutes, and it’s unfair for students to not be given the opportunity to show their work.

Milne says she’s still waiting for a response from the chemistry department.

“Hopefully if this petition goes the way I want it to and according to the grades, they’ll definitely realize that 100 per cent multiple choice is not the way to test chemistry.”

Dalhousie’s chemistry department did not return our calls.

Graeme Benjamin
Graeme Benjamin
Graeme is the Gazette's Sports Editor. He was the Assistant Sports Editor for Volume 145.

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