New plus/minus grading system to begin this semester

Amanda Garrett

Plus and minus aren’t just for math class anymore.

Beginning this fall, Kent State students will have to deal with those pesky numerical signs in English, anthropology and physics classes.

It will be up to the professors to decide whether they will use the old ten-point grading system or the new plus/minus system.

Under the new system, professors will add the plus and minus symbols, such as A+ or C-, to students’ grades.

 The new system will apply to all graduate and undergraduate classes, Kent State Registrar Roberta Sikula-Schwalm said.

In classes with minimum grade requirements, the minus version of the grade will not be acceptable, she said. So for example, if a minimum grade of C is required, a C- won’t make the cut.

The new system will benefit students by allowing a greater distinction in their grades, Sikula-Schwalm said.

“Under the old system, when one student got an 89 and one student got an 80, they both received a B,” she said. “The new system will reflect the better quality of work the student who got an 89 put in.”

Business professor William Acar said the system gives professors greater flexibility.

“For graduate students, if they get one or two Cs, they can be thrown out of the program,” he said. “The plus or minus gives me four good options when I’m teaching MBA classes.”

Sikula-Schwalm said the university’s research of other schools who adopted the plus/minus system showed that student grades were not negatively affected.

The university also made changes to the Freshman Rule for Recalculation of Grade Point Average, otherwise known as the “freshman forgiveness rule.”

The revision will include new “Not Attending Fail” and “Stopped Attending/Fail” grades.

The push for the plus/minus system began in 2003 when faculty petitioned the Provost’s Office. The proposal then moved to a subcommittee of the Educational Policies Committee, and then to the Faculty Senate, where it was approved last year.

Plus/minus grading is a growing trend in higher education, Sikula-Schwalm said. Statistics show that more than 65 percent of colleges and universities currently use plus/minus grading, she said.

For now, Acar hopes students are patient while the new system is put in place. Acar, who teaches around 300 students in two Principles of Management classes, said students are always concerned about their grades.

“Students will be worried about two or three points,” he said. “With large classes, I don’t have time for the hassles.”

Contact on-campus reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].

How each grade is weighed in plus/minus system:

A    4.0

A-   3.7

B+  3.3

B    3.0

B-   2.7

C+  2.3

C 2.0

C- 1.7

D+ 1.3

D 1.0

F 0.0

Source: Web for Students