Nicola Symonds 0

UBC Psychology Scaling Policy Change

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The University of British Columbia Department of Psychology currently has a scaling policy in which courses are scaled to an average of 63-67%, with a standard deviation of approximately 14%. Students pursuing Psychology in the Faculty of Arts as well as students pursuing Behavioural Neuroscience in the Faculty of Science are all currently subjected to this scale.

As of Summer 2017, UBC will now grant a 'BSc Specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience' as opposed to the previous 'BSc Specialization in Psychology'.By this, the university is acknowledging the difference between the Psychology programs in the Faculty of Science compared to the Faculty of Arts. The policies that follow along with this change should also be remodelled.

We believe students in the Behavioural Neuroscience program at UBC should not be scaled in accordance with this policy. The program is relatively small at UBC, with a total of approximately 130 students each year. In contrast, the Psychology program in the Faculty of Arts is one of the largest programs at UBC with a total of approximately 1800 students each year. With the drastic difference in spots available between faculties, admission to the Behavioural Neuroscience program is already highly competitive.

The Department of Psychology at UBC has specifically put the scaling policy in place to "reduce grade inflation and maintain equity across course sections". Since there is only one section of approximately 40 students in each Behavioural Neuroscience-specific course, the purpose of this policy does not apply. Furthermore, no other program in the Faculty of Science applies the same scaling policy; comparing students within different Majors in the Faculty of Science is not possible.

Comparing one specific cohort of science students using a policy designed for the large group and broad range of students from the Psychology program in the Faculty of Arts is inequitable.

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