University to begin using plus/minus grading system next semester

Ryan Loew

COLUMBUS — Just squeaking by with a C in microeconomics won’t look the same on Web for Students next fall, as Kent State’s Board of Trustees adopted a plus/minus grading system yesterday afternoon.

The new system will incorporate plus and minus symbols to course grades, such as A- and B+, which are currently not included in the university’s grading system.

A plus/minus grading system enables more careful distinctions among levels of performance, said Provost Paul Gaston. A transcript with pluses and minuses also becomes more informative to employers, and students will have a clearer idea of their academic progress.

“When I was an undergraduate, it mattered to me a great deal that I was able to improve from mostly B’s to B plus’s and A minuses,” Gaston said.

The plus/minus issue first arose in 2003 via a faculty petition to the provost’s office. A subcommittee of the Educational Policies Committee then spent a year reviewing the system, which was approved by the Faculty Senate last year.

“This idea came from, was developed by and approved by the faculty,” Gaston said.

The trustees also approved revision of the Freshman Rule for Recalculation of Grade Point Average, or the “freshman forgiveness rule.”

The revision will include the new “Not Attending Fail” and “Stopped Attending/Fail” grades, along with C- and D+ grades under the new plus/minus system.

“The important principle is that it does give students an opportunity for a fresh start,” Gaston said.

The Academic Forgiveness Policy, which gives former Kent State students who return after some absence an opportunity to have previous academic shortfalls disregarded, was also revised.

The board’s revision “brings into line those two policies and procedures,” said Associate Provost Gayle Ormiston. “To the policy itself, it’s no change substantively.”

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].