Proposed grading system adds plus grademarks

Quiche Matchen

During Tuesday night’s Student Government Association meeting, Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, informed members about a new grading scale proposal.

SGA president Cory Dodds attached the email conversations between himself and Emslie along with the proposal to SGA’s agenda.

In the proposal, Emslie said the idea is to institute two new grade points — B+ and C+ — as a way to reward students.

“Using the top one-third rather than the top one-half of the range provides the necessary motivation for students to improve their grade, while leaving the grade for the bottom two-thirds of the range unaltered: a solid B is a B,” according to the document.

The proposed system would not include minus grademarks.

Dodds responded to Emslie’s email regarding the new proposed grading system.

In the email exchange, Dodds said the proposal was well-received, but raised concerns.

“I have spoken in passing with several individuals who work in graduate/professional advising at WKU, and they stated that this proposal could in fact make students more competitive,” Dodds said.

Emslie responded saying: “Many other quality schools have a plus-minus system (albeit with the minuses). And, as you suggest, the appearance of B+ rather than B grades could actually help an applicant.”

Mac McKerral, university chair of the Faculty Senate, said versions of this proposal have been seen before.

“The faculty had signed off on the plus-minus, and they sent that recommendation off to the previous provost, and she didn’t support it,” he said.

McKerral said this grading system proposal isn’t new, but it’s different.

“This version has no minuses,” he said. “Which I think the rationale behind that is it addresses the concerns of students that said it could jeopardize their chances of getting into graduate school because of the impact that it might have on GPA.”

He said the logic behind the proposal makes sense.

“If we’re going to use a system, it has to be consistent throughout, and everyone has to use it,” he said.

McKerral said he thinks this proposal is a positive modification and is on the agenda for the Senate Executive Committee meeting.

He said students can’t lose with this system.

“You’re either going to get a normal, traditional grade, or you’re going to get a little bit better, but you’re not going to get nicked,” he said.