The Grade Debate


Ethan SwansonPhoto Editor

One of the hardest parts of maintaining sanity in this information age is having to hear the continual flow of stupid ideas. One such idea being floated is to make grades more precise by taking the simple whole letter grades and dividing them into pluses and minuses. Supposedly this will make the grading more accurate by giving a truer picture of each student’s overall academic performance. Although more precise information can result in better data, this change does not occur in a vacuum. Students who currently try to maintain balance by taking part in activities, getting involved on campus, or having a life in general will now have to put more worry into each final, test and assignment. A student who comes in with a 92 percent for a nice A now has to stress themselves out trying to maximize their finals score so they can get from an A- to an A. This is particularity absurd for a couple of reasons. First, it seems strange to try and get such a tight measurement on things such as understanding of concepts and communication abilities. I know we need some differentiation, but let’s keep it simple and not try to show precision that may not really be there. As an analogy, imagine measuring the length of an object with your finger. You can state that it’s 2.14684 inches long, but all you really know is that it’s probably over two inches. Second, I hear a lot of language on how college is about life experiences, building thinking skills, making valuable citizens, and none of that can be measured so precisely.

Tony GorderOp/Ed Editor

As a studious individual and firm believer in recognizing academic achievement, I support SDSU moving to a plus-minus grading system. My grades and GPA are incredibly important to my future and my own personal satisfaction; however, the current system is inaccurate. Two students who receive an 80 percent and 89 percent will both receive a B under the current model. Allowing a plus-minus system would accurately differentiate those who put in that extra time and effort to receive an upper level percentage from those who simply scraped by with a lower-level percentage, and rightfully so. It is nice to have that wide percentage span for a simple letter grade, and it would take more time and stress to achieve, for example, an A at 95 percent; however, this sorts out the weak from the strong 8212; the students who are willing to go that extra mile, work their hardest and challenge themselves. College is about more than grades, and one can argue the purpose of higher education (life skills versus grades, etc.), but the truth of the matter is grades are important in many instances, especially for students seeking to continue their education with medical school, law school, or graduate school or for students applying for scholarships 8212; things in which GPA is sometimes a deciding factor. Students who are willing to work harder than the rest for that tiny but significant plus sign next to a letter should be recognized.