COMMENTARY: SGA supports “value added” grading scale

SGA Executive Cabinet

The executive cabinet of the Student Government Association at WKU applauds and unanimously supports the “value added” grading scale system recently introduced by provost and vice president for Academic Affairs Gordon Emslie. This measure will encourage the student body to excel in their classes by rewarding students who achieve at the higher range of the grading spectrum and who narrowly miss earning a higher letter grade for the course. 

Currently, the GPAs of WKU students are calculated using quality points on a scale from one to four: A, 4; B, 3, C, 2; D, 1; F, 0. The proposed system would add two additional categories: B+, 3.5 and C+, 2.5. Students who receive final course grades of 87, 88 and 89 will receive a B+, while students who receive 77, 78 and 79 will receive a C+.

We believe that this proposal will provide a more accurate portrayal of WKU students on their academic transcripts. The system’s incentives will make students more competitive on graduate/professional school applications and more lucrative to recruiters and admissions officers.

Emslie has taken the time to address concerns that arose from an earlier proposal (rejected by Barbara Burch, the former provost), which embraced a “plus/minus” system. By eliminating the “minus” aspect, Emslie has ensured that students will not be punished for receiving an 81 or a 91 in their course as in the previously proposed model. 

Many believe that our current grading system does not accurately give credit to students where it is due. For example, a student who receives an 89 in a course will receive the same amount of quality points (3) as a student who receives an 80. This body believes that an 89 is much closer to an “A,” and that the “value added” system is a fairer way to assess academic performance.

Other universities across that nation have successfully integrated a “plus-only” grading system into their GPA configuration. Knowing this, we thoroughly support the measure to move in this direction. After a thorough analysis, we have not deduced any negative ramifications that would affect students and their academic or professional careers. 

We encourage all students to support this proposal and will work to see its implementation at WKU.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cory Dodds, SGA president

Keyana Boka, executive vice president

Cain Alvey, administrative vice president

Travis Taylor, chief of staff

Drew Mitchell, director of public relations

Brittany Crowley, director of academic and student affairs

Sarah Hazelip, director of information technology

Christopher Costa, speaker of the student senate