Kissing my chance at a 4.0 goodbye

A,A,A,A,A. Again, I managed to squeak in another 4.0 last semester. All my hard work, my sacrifices and my attendance to early classes managed to pull my border grades of A/B up to As. However, if the plus-minus grade system becomes effective at Northern Kentucky University, then I could be kissing my chances of another 4.0 goodbye.

The new grading system was put to a vote Sept. 19 at the NKU Faculty Senate meeting. It was approved 18-10. Ten people did not approve this decision. I join them in their disagreement.

Under the new system, honor students may suffer. According to Rick Matthews, who wrote the “Evaluation of the Effect of the Plus/Minus System,” students with a GPA around 3.9 will experience a decrease in their GPA, which could be as much as 0.08. For example, a student might receive an A-, compared to now when they receive an A grade. This results in fewer students achieving 4.0 status.

On the other hand, those students with B grades could experience a raise in their GPA with the plus-minus system.

I see no point in adding a plus or a minus to those definitions. One either does exceptional, high, average, below average or lacks achievement. There should not be a “sort of above average but not exactly high” C+. If it is above average, it is a B.

At the University of Louisville, the plus-minus system was adopted in 2002. Their online newspaper, the Louisville Cardinal, ran an article about the effects the plus-minus system has had on students and on the school as a whole. The Student Government Association hired a committee to investigate this self-described “controversial matter.” The overall tone of the article is uneasy. “One of students’ biggest complaints is that there is no uniformity,” said Sarah Hester, SGA President. “We want to totally abolish the plus-minus grading system at U of L,” said Nugent, a junior marketing major and vice president of the Student Council of the College of Business and Public Administration.

But some professors and students were quoted on having liked the system. According to the article, Dr. Jay Gulledge, assistant professor of biology, said that he thinks the harder working students should be rewarded with pluses so that the less dedicated ones do not make the same grade as them. I say if the student worked extra hard, they should be rewarded a little more than a tenth of a point.

The plus-minus grading system is still a topic of controversy here at NKU. I continue my stance against it. I invite readers to investigate this topic further and voice their opinion, whatever may be.

Kelly Sirk