Column: More of a minus than a plus
My summer semester ends this week and I’m looking to get either a B- or a C+ in my class. If I do really well on the last test, I will still only be looking at a B-, and not a B. While a C- is certainly better than a C-, if I didn’t earn a B then I shouldn’t be given some consolation prize. And that is what the university is doing with its new “plus/minus” grading scale.
Adopted in fall 2000 after being voted for by the student body, the new grading scale is now catching up with us and is looking to have more negative effects than positive. I can only assume it was presented to students as a way to help. However, the voters failed to realize that what seemed like a good idea at the time is actually just another way to hurt us.
College is hard. That’s a fact we learned after the first semester when our advisers didn’t tell us which classes to take anymore. We learned that college was hard when we first called financial aid to ask a simple question and were transferred to fifteen different people.
We found out college was hard when we arrived on campus at 9:15 a.m. one morning and discovered the closest parking space was a mile farther than the day before when we arrived at 8:55 a.m..
If college was easy then it wouldn’t be as rewarding when we finally finish because we’ve jumped over hurdles put in our way. But one more hurdle disguised as a handout is not fair to students. It’s not fair to students who make a C- and it’s even worse to those who would make an A+.
For example, if you make a 79 percent in a course, your professor has the option to give you a C+ for your efforts. (A C+ is worth 2.33 quality points.)
But on the other hand, if you make a 70 percent or even a 73 percent in a course, your professor has the same option to give you a C- for your efforts (giving you 1.67 quality points).
While the misconception that a C- will prevent you from graduating is untrue, it still hurts your overall GPA and could threaten your scholarships.
And what happens when you ace a course and you make a 97 percent or higher?
Nothing, because the system is based on quality points and there is no such thing as a 4.33 (which is what an A+ should be). Students who make high grades on a consistent basis are actually hurt by this system.
The rare student who makes all As during their college career will not graduate summa cum laude if they received an A- in one of 40 plus courses taken during four years.
And it’s not like this system improves your GPA any. For example, if you get three Bs and one B+ each semester, your GPA remains at 3.0825.
There was nothing wrong with the 10-point scale and if anything it presented a challenge to improve that 89 percent to a 90 percent at the end of the semester. The new system doesn’t present a challenge as much as it forces students to accept their fate.
It’s not fair and Student Government should consider adopting grading scales that will enhance the education of students instead of setting them back even further.
– William Albritton is a seniormajoring in mass communications.