BY PAMELA MCLAREN
From Dateline (November 11, 2004)
Campus Institutes Plus/Minus Grading
It used to be that an “A” was
the highest grade Cal State Fullerton students could achieve in
class. Next spring, if faculty members so choose, they may give
students who have shown exceptional achievement in a course a grade
”Earlier this year President Milton A. Gordon
approved a university policy that allows faculty members to award
pluses and minuses when giving course grades to students.
“This new policy benefits students by rewarding
them for better performance,” said Kristi L. Kanel, associate
professor of human services who chaired the Academic Senate’s
Academic Standards Committee, which proposed revisions to the old
policy regarding grades. “This offers students a motivation.
I don’t think that someone who achieves an 88 percent should
get the same grade as someone with an 80 percent.”
Prior to making its recommendation to the Academic
Senate, the standards committee had surveyed California State University
and University of California campuses to see how widespread is the
use of plus/minus grading. The committee found that only four campuses,
including Fullerton, did not use it. “We felt that allowing
faculty members to use the plus/minus would allow more distinction
in grading,” said Kanel. “The committee was unanimous
in proposing the change.”
Other faculty members believe that the plus/minus
system allows them to delineate student effort, or to use it as
an incentive for students who may have reached a comfortable “B”
or “C,” but with a little additional effort could achieve
a plus to their grade.
“This is something I thought we should have
had for a long time,” said Atara Stein, professor of English,
comparative literature and linguistics. “No grade system is
perfect, but this will provide more distinction. Grades should reflect
more precisely the students’ work.
”Grades and their values are:
• “A” or “A+” is 4.0, “A-”
• “B+” is 3.3, “B” is 3.0, “B-”
• “C+” is 2.3, “C” is 2.0, “C-”
• “D+” is 1.3, “D” is 1.0, “D-”
is0.7, and an “F” is 0.
A 2.0 or better GPA is required to satisfy certain
GE requirements and the upper-division writing requirement. In addition,
a 2.0 is the minimum average GPA required for both graduate and
undergraduate students to remain in academic good standing.
Faculty members are not required to use the plus/minus
system. All faculty members are encouraged to announce in their
course syllabuses how they will be grading.