Grades should be consistent

Issue: The Faculty Senate is discussing the pros and cons of a plus-minus grading system, which could possibly replace the current A, B, C, D, F system.


The problem with both grading systems is inconsistency.

Whether we keep the current system or switch to a plus-minus system, this must change.

Currently, instructors are given freedom in how to grade. Some round up; some don’t. Some consider 92 percent to be an A; some keep it at 90.

It sounds as though the new system would not change this subjectivity. At the Students’ Association’s Oct. 24 meeting, Faculty Adviser Chris Schmit said it will depend on “who’s grading and how they’re grading.”

This makes no sense. The whole point of grading students is to have an accurate measure of their retention and classroom performance. An instructor’s grading preference should not be a factor in this measurement.

At the same meeting, Faculty Adviser Dan Hansen said he would like to see more research “on what an A student looks like, what a B student looks like [and] what a C student looks like.”

We agree; this is an absolutely necessary step before any final decision can be made. A-students in the pharmacy department are not the same as A-students in the journalism department. A pharmacy student likely studies at least 30 hours a week. Journalism students maybe put in two a week.

We are not saying that every major should have an equal difficulty level, but it’s an issue that deserves considerable research. The Faculty Senate should not rush into decisions about the grading systems without understanding all the factors.

As far as which system is best, that is not our main concern at this point. The merits of each system are irrelevant when instructors are given freedom to do whatever they want.


Stance: Whatever grading system is selected should be consistent and objective.