SGA discusses pursuing plus-minus grading

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  • Dominique Quarles

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Lauren Gorla

Faculty senate is looking to consider implementing the plus-minus grading system but is first looking to the Student Government Association for suggestions.

“There are no plans to move forward with any recommendation to faculty senate until they hear from student government, so they really want to get our perspective on things before they take it from the committee and bring it back into the faculty senate,” Dominique Quarles, SGA president, said.

The faculty senate executive committee is in charge of the academic standards committee, which has decided to develop a subcommittee to research the plus-minus system, Quarles said.

“In the state of Georgia, there are only two universities (that use the system). That’s the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. They already abide by the plus-minus system,” Quarles said.

Five out of GSU’s 10 peer institutions are using the plus-minus system currently, Quarles said.

11 out of 12 institutions that we aspire to be like already use the plus-minus system, Quarles said.

Seven of the 11 Southern Conference schools that we play against are already using the plus-minus system, Quarles said.

This system, if implemented, will benefit students by providing a grade that more accurately reflects their performance, predicting borderline grades more efficiently, aiding in reducing grade inflation and providing a better expression of the range of a letter grade, Quarles said.

For example, if two students receive the grades of 92 and 98, both will receive an A in the current system.

With the plus-minus system, the first student will receive an A-minus and the second will receive an A-plus, if the teacher uses the normal grading scale.

Drawbacks with the new system would include the lack of requirement of faculty and staff to use the plus-minus system of grading, creating inconsistencies between professors, Quarles said.

This system would also create the possibility of grade bargaining, so a student could persuade a professor to bump up a B to a B-plus, Quarles said.

SGA senators expressed their concerns regarding this system, including the possibility of being optional for professors to use, if professors would decide to use this system during the semester or if they would have to decide before the semester started.