Plus/minus system debated

Derek Lenehan

Students and faculty have had mixed reactions to the first semester of plus/minus grading. Some claim it helps students’ grade point average, while others say it hurts it.

The plus/minus system gives a bonus to students’ GPA if they get a high-percentage D, C or B, and detracts from their GPA if they get a low-percentage A, B or C.

Michael Jirousek, sophomore athletic training major, was not satisfied with the changes.

“I fought really hard for an A in one of my classes, but only got an A minus, which lowered my GPA and really pissed me off,” he said. “If they’re giving out B pluses, they ought to give A pluses, too. I had a 98 or 99 percent in Spanish but still got a regular 4.0 for it.”

Brian Appel, freshman athletic training major, was a little more content with the new system.

“It kind of helped me, actually. I got some B pluses that raised my GPA a little bit,” he said.

Michael Ellis, associate economics professor, chose to both use and not use the plus/minus system, depending on the class.

“I didn’t want to use it for the upper-division class that I taught, because those students had not been under the system before. In my lower-division, introductory course, I did use it, but it was a pain. There was too much to keep track of, with a class of 220,” he said. “Students always argue about grades, and now there is more to argue over.”

Ellis could not give a figure to how many faculty members chose to use the plus/minus system, but said that most in the economics department seemed to.

“I do understand that it brings more precise grading,” Ellis added. “I understand that side of it, but it seems like it’s just splitting hairs.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Derek Lenehan at [email protected].