After much debate, the House of Student Representatives voted against a resolution to support the implementation of a plus/minus grading system.If passed, the resolution would have given the House’s endorsement to TCU’s intent to invoke the grading system as early as fall 2007.
In the plus/minus system, a teacher would have the option of giving a student a grade with a plus or minus attached to it instead of just a base letter grade. As a result, a B-plus would be given greater weight in calculating a student’s GPA than the standard three points for a B, and a B-minus would be given less, for example.
Jason Ratigan, who authored the resolution, said the system would more accurately reflect students’ work in the classroom.
David Grant, professor and chairman of the religion department, said 80 percent of the top 118 schools use the plus/minus system, which Ratigan, a senior representative, said places TCU in the minority.
Sheldon Pearson, representative of the School of Business, said that just because the top schools use plus/minus grading, does not mean the system is right for TCU.
Pearson voiced concern with the fairness of the system for students because teachers would decide individually whether to use plus/minus in their classes.
Multiple teachers may teach the same class, and one professor may use plus/minus while the other one would not, he said.
“We have to be fair to students,” Pearson said. “I just don’t like that scenario.”
Justin Brown, representative of the College of Fine Arts, said the current system does not accurately represent students’ grades.
Under the existing system, a student with an 80 and a student with an 89 in a given class both have B’s, which does not accurately reflect either student’s grade, he said.
“People that are GPA motivated will still keep taking initiative and will get rewarded for it,” Brown said. “Let’s keep encouraging hard work, and let’s try and discourage people that just stop when they know they’re in the range of what they need.”
Lindsay Beattie, representative of the junior class, said that while students would have to work harder under the plus/minus system, it would serve as a motivating factor.
“We should try to push ourselves and try to work a lot harder, versus taking an apathetic route to our grades,” she said.
Beattie said the plus/minus system would be in the best interest of the university and an overall better change.
Despite well-voiced support, the House failed the resolution with a vote of 28 to 9.
Ryan Johnson, representative of the College of Communications, said the failure of the bill simply unifies SGA’s voice against the administration’s decision to switch to the plus/minus grading system.