Pros and Cons of Using a Plus-Minus Grading System Essay

6726 WordsNov 12, 201027 Pages
Student and Faculty Views of Plus-Minus Grading Systems Working Paper Series—07-11 | December 2007 Jim Morgan (928) 523-7385 James.morgan@nau.edu Gary Tallman Robert Williams All professors at: Northern Arizona University The W. A. Franke College of Business PO Box 15066 Flagstaff, AZ 86011.5066 Student and Faculty Views of Plus-Minus Grading Systems Introduction Many colleges and universities have adopted or are considering adopting a grading system that provides a larger number of marking choices than the A through F whole-letter system. This usually takes the form of a plus-minus (+/-) grading system in one version or another. While a variety of reasons have been put forth for the move to +/- grades, a key motivation…show more content…
Note that about one third of the schools continue to use whole-letter only grading systems. Among public schools, 30 of 71 (42.5 percent) use only whole-letter grading. Plus-minus grading systems are clearly the most prevalent type of grading system among this group of schools. To clarify the notation used below, the A+ to C+ system would use the grades A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C , D, F, while an A+ to D- system would use A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F and so on. The plus or minus typically raises (lowers) the grade by .3 or .33 grade points. As the table indicates, many schools 1 do not allow pluses and minuses across their full range of grades. The grade of A+ creates the possibility of a GPA greater than 4.0 and, probably for this reason; only 9 of the 60 schools with a +/- system include an A+. Four of the 9 schools using the A+ resolve the GPA problem by recording the A+ as a 4.0 when calculating GPAs, so that the A+ becomes just a notation on individual course grades. Schools also differ with respect to the bottom of the +/- range. Most frequently, pluses and minuses are used all the way down through the D-, however, due to issues relating to transfer grades and determining the grade required for satisfying prerequisites, a number of schools terminate the use of pluses and minuses with the D+ (they do

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