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SG proposes grading scale revamp

Student Government discussed a proposal Sept. 19 to amend the grading system so A-pluses may finally receive numerical value rather than show theoretical achievement.

The current grading method involves plus and minus marks in addition to the standard A-to-F scale. Each letter and its plus/minus counterpart are split into thirds with the exception of the A-plus, where no extra weight is awarded.

Three options are up for discussion: raise an A-minus to 3.75 from the current 3.67, move to a grading scale with a set range, or remove the plus/minus system altogether, according to minutes from the Plus/Minus Ad Hoc Committee meeting.

“We are researching a previous proposal that was once tabled by SG years ago in fear of diluting the school’s grade point averages,” said committee chair Cordell Chavis. “Our GPAs are lower than other Florida public schools and that can really hurt students applying to grad school or scholarships,” Chavis said.

A recent proposal involves maintaining the current grading system with the addition of extra weight for an A-plus, raising the value to a 4.33.

To keep from inflating grades, a provision will be made to prohibit students’ cumulative and semester grades from exceeding a 4.0, according to SG’s proposal to change the grading scale. This would allow for students to have a 4.0 average with a combination of an A-minus and an A-plus.

“The concern, as I think any student can see, is that you can get all A-pluses and one A-minus, but still have below a 4.0,” said Nathan Davison, Senate president.

Of the 11 public universities in Florida, USF is the only school that assigns a 4.0 to an A-plus. Other schools, such as Florida State University, use a quarter scale rather than a third scale, where an A-minus equates 3.75. The University of Florida has only a plus system and does not calculate minus scores. However, both UF and FSU do not offer an A-plus grade.

In a SG poll on the issue, over 10 percent of students supported the proposal of increasing the weight of an A-plus to 4.33.

“The only thing that hurts us are the A-minuses,” junior David Parrino said.

Not all students believe that the plus/minus system should be removed entirely, and SG is searching for consistency and what benefits the students most, Chavis said.

“If I had gotten a B-plus instead of an A-minus in a class, I would have lost my full-ride scholarship,” junior Mike Stone said. “I don’t think that the plus/minus scale is such a bad idea,” Stone said.