Effect of plus/minus on GPAs still unknown

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    The full effect of the plus/minus grading system on students’ GPAs remains unknown a year after its implementation, university officials said.

    Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the number of teachers who use the plus/minus system is unknown. He said the system was originally implemented by faculty to create a grading system that was more fair. He said he expects most professors will move to the plus/minus system within two or three years.

    Donovan said higher quality universities tend to have a plus/minus system.

    “We will revisit the whole issue to see if it is working,” Donovan said. “But we will probably want to wait two or three years to get a cohort of students through.”

    With the plus/minus system, two students in the same class with the same grade of 81, for example, may receive different credit toward their GPA. A senior will receive a B and more grade points, while a freshman will receive a B-minus and less grade points.

    Students who entered TCU in fall 2007 or later are subject to the plus/minus system.

    The decision of whether to use the plus/minus system is up to each professor, said Ralph Carter, a professor and chair of the political science department.

    “It is still up to the individual classroom instructor to determine what is a B-minus and what is a C-plus in his or her own class,” Carter said.”The power to evaluate student performance still lies with the faculty.”

    However, Patrick Miller, registrar and director of enrollment management of the Registrar’s Office, said he does not think the plus/minus system will ever be adopted by every professor at the university. Miller said he can’t imagine there will be much change in students’ overall GPAs.

    Miller said no studies at the university have been conducted to determine the full effect of the plus/minus grading system.

    Many students have adjusted to the new grading scale but not every professor has converted to the plus/minus system, said Thomas Pressly, Student Government Association president. He said SGA has not received many student complaints about the plus/minus system.

    “Professors have the opportunity to pick if they want to use it,” Pressly said. ” I think that is the hard part, from my view, on it and from a lot of students I have talked to.”

    Meredith McDonough, a freshman nursing major, said the plus/minus system gives a more substantial grade than the other system.

    “It doesn’t really matter to me,” McDonough said. “It is kind of nice in a way because it quantifies your grade a little more than just a generic letter.”