Knowing facts would be a ‘+’ for students

Pop quiz: What is the difference between an A+ and an A-? What about a B+ or a B-?

Give up?

If you don’t know, it’s probably because in your time at Western chances are you’ve never had a reason to care. That is because pluses and minuses don’t appear on current university grade reports.

But that could change if economics professor Brian Strow and other members of the University Senate have their say.

Strow recently presented the idea of adding pluses and minuses to the grading system at a recent senate meeting. The change, Strow says, would offer professors a better grading tool and could help give a more accurate assessment of how well a student performs in class. For example, an A+ student would get the usual 4.0 credit points while an A- student would get 3.7 points. Under the current grading model, both students would receive 4.0 credit points in their grade point average calculation.

Opponents to the proposed new system include the Student Government Association. President John Bradley said he was told by several student government leaders at other in-state schools to fight the proposed policy because plus and minus scoring at their schools may have hurt the top 4 percent of students at their universities.

In fact, plus and minus scoring was dropped one semester after being adopted at Eastern Kentucky University because there was such an uproar.

We’ll be the first to admit, when we first heard of this proposed change to Western’s grade system, we shrugged it off. The idea of adding pluses and minuses to students’ grades just didn’t seem like a big deal.

We were wrong. This is a huge deal. Any change to the grading system will affect everyone, no matter which school of thought you subscribe to. And as far as that goes, we think it is too early to buy what either side is selling just yet.

The point is that there is discussion happening about the issue, and while SGA is voicing its opinion, the students this will affect – for better or worse – need to be heard directly.

Too many times students are either too unaware or apathetic to sound off and are content to let change happen. No matter your view, if you don’t get all the information and let your opinion be heard, there will be no grounds to complain about it later. By then, all you will have are your complaints.

Whether you are for or against this particular issue in the end is actually irrelevant, but make sure that whatever way you lean is supported by a thorough knowledge of the facts.

That is the biggest plus of all in this situation.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.