Uniquely restricted appeal options

Authority Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Pavel wrote to us because he was having problems getting his foreign nursing credentials recognized in B.C. Pavel practiced nursing overseas and wanted to apply his skills here. He enrolled in the Consolidated Clinical Course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University but during his practical experience and training period called preceptorship, his supervisor identified problems with Pavel’s practice. Pavel was not permitted to complete the course and was given a grade of non-mastery.

Pavel tried to appeal the grade of nonmastery through Kwantlen, but was told that no appeal option existed within Kwantlen for this course and that his only option was to appeal directly to the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC). Most courses offered at Kwantlen offer an internal grade appeal option and the course materials provided to Pavel by Kwantlen gave no indication that grades were not appealable through the university. On these bases, Pavel didn’t feel he was being treated fairly in being denied an appeal option through Kwantlen.

We contacted Kwantlen and discussed the reasons Pavel could not appeal his grade directly to the university. The Consolidated Clinical Course is unusual in that it takes place in a hospital setting under the supervision of a registered nurse employed by the hospital. The purpose is to provide registrants the opportunity to demonstrate their nursing knowledge, skills and abilities. The CRNBC establishes the course content and the standards students must maintain in order to provide care to patients. In Pavel’s case, the hospital and the registered nurse determined, early in the placement, that Pavel’s performance had not met the requirements set by the CRNBC. Pavel had not completed the course and could not take the Consolidated Clinical Course again without approval from the CRNBC Registration Committee. It was up to the CRNBC to decide whether to let Pavel try again and if so, on what conditions.

We consulted with Kwantlen and shared our view on the importance of providing students with an opportunity to appeal decisions that may have a profound impact on their future. Ensuring that students are aware of their appeal options, particularly if they are uniquely restricted as was the case in Pavel’s circumstances, is equally important. While Kwantlen had shared this information with Pavel prior to the grade of non-mastery being awarded, the course materials that were provided to students at the beginning of the course did not inform students that their appeal options would be restricted in this way.

We suggested that both Kwantlen and Pavel would likely have benefited if information about the implications of receiving a grade of non-mastery and the appeal process was made available to him at the time he started the course. We questioned whether providing this information might have given Pavel and students like him a better understanding of Kwantlen’s role in the process and the basis for its decision to refer him back to the CRNBC. Following consultation with our office, Kwantlen agreed to modify the course syllabus to include information about the appeal process. Since Kwantlen had agreed to take this step to improve the process for future students and because Pavel had a way to dispute his grade through the CRNBC, we closed our file.

Category Education
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2013
Location The Lower Mainland