Newman to consider plus/minus grading system

By Courtney Klaus, Editor- In- Chief

The University Academic Council will consider implementing a new plus/minus grading system that would change the way grades are weighed at Newman.

“It seems the current system is not sufficiently precise enough to accurately reflect a student’s achievement,” said David Shubert, chair of the UAC and professor of chemistry.

Shubert said it seemed unfair that if one student has an 89 percent, while another has about a 79 percent in the same class, both students could conceivably get the same grade. Distinguishing between different levels of a letter grade with a plus or minus, he said, would be a more exact way to look at a student’s performance.

An example of the way the system could work, Shubert said, would have an A weighed as a 4.0, an A- weighed as a 3.7, a B+ weighed as a 3.3, and so on. The exact percentages that would constitute those grades and the specifics of how they would be weighed are yet to be determined. Shubert said nothing would weigh above a 4.0.

Shubert said he believes the more specific grading scale could help with applications to medical school because it better defines the student’s accomplishment.

Junior biology major Sydney Triggs said she doesn’t like the idea of a plus/minus grading system because it would make things more complicated.

“It’s harder to calculate for students and faculty, and I don’t think it would change whether or not you get into grad school,” she said.

Senior criminal justice major Erin Mink said although she will not be around next year for the change, she thinks its a step in the right direction for the university.

“I think the difference between and 89 and an 80 is so drastic… that’s such a big difference and it’s not fair for someone who gets an 89 to get the same grade as someone who gets an 80. I think the degree of effort is so much more varied there,” she said.

Of the other two universities in Wichita, Wichita State University uses a plus/minus grading system, while Friends University does not.

Shubert said, as of right now, there is no certainty as to whether Newman will adopt a new grading system. After the topic is fully discussed in the UAC, each member of the council will bring the proposal back to the faculty in their division for discussion. Then, members will report back to the UAC with their division’s thoughts before the proposal goes through a faculty-wide vote.

PHOTO: A PLUS/MINUS SYSTEM, Shubert said, would draw more distinction between students who recieve a high letter grade. Carley Sullivan, Photography Editor