Grades could include an added ‘plus’ distinction

Mitchell Grogg

The University Senate accepted a report on Thursday that proposed the addition of “plus” grades from its Academic Quality Committee.

That revision would add grades of B+, C+ and D+. Those grades would carry quality point ratings of 3.3, 2.3 and 1.3, respectively.

Specifics on the percentages that would merit the plus grades were intentionally omitted.

“The AQ committee intentionally did not illustrate percentages or point values to the various grade levels,” the report said. “The Provost was clear that the scores of 87-89 for a B+ (and 77-79 for a C+) were for illustration purposes only.”

“The AQ committee wants to make sure that the percentage grading scale in the proposal is not misinterpreted by faculty, students or administrators as campus policy.”

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, presented his own proposal at a Student Government Association meeting in December.

Emslie’s proposal did not include a D+ grade. It also proposed quality point ratings of 3.5 and 2.5 for B+ and C+ grades, respectively.

“I think the motivation for individual students to push to the next level and excel is promoted by a value added grading system,” Emslie said after the senate meeting.

“I think the next step is for the Student Government Association to weigh that report and come back with whether they can support that or not,” he said.

Emslie said his office would not respond to the Academic Quality Committee’s report because it was not a formal resolution.

Mac McKerral, University Senate chair, said the report needs to go to two other bodies before it can go further.

“My suggestion to the Academic Quality Committee…is that they come to the Senate Executive Committee at our February meeting with a recommendation that we send that proposal to the next two vetting bodies, which is the Graduate Council and the Graduate Curriculum Committee,” McKerral said.

Neither proposed system includes “minus” grades because a previous proposal to include them was resisted by students when it was proposed.

Guy Jordan, Academic Quality Committee chair, said the proposal wasn’t everything the faculty wants.

“But it doesn’t keep it exactly the same, and I think most faculty would appreciate a more nuanced way to evaluate their students.”

Further action could be taken as early as March.

“It wasn’t an action item today,” Jordan said. “My goal is to have it as an action item in the senate at the March meeting.”