Students this semester will be learning the ABCs — and D’s — of the new grading system.
At the start of the fall semester, MSU Denver instituted a new grading system. Grades will be based on a plus/minus structure with the expectation that grading will be more accurate.
Story by Daniella Hernandez
Before the change, any grade ranging from 90-100 percent was an A. With the new system, any grade below a 93 percent will become an A-, which could lower many students’ GPAs. It is still impossible to get an A+ or a D- in a class.
“The pros of such a system include being able to more accurately measure student performance, make better grading decisions in borderline cases, and reduce grade inflation,” said Sandra Haynes, dean of professional studies. “It should be able to signify to the students and the faculty early on in their careers here about what their performance is so they can either reprimand or the student can realize and take advantage of the support systems we have in place for students that are struggling.”
Not everyone is happy with the new system.
“I don’t like that our GPAs are going to be affected by this,” said MSU Denver freshman Samantha Kastanek. “I work hard to get my grades, and if I get a 91 percent, it shouldn’t mean my GPA drops below a 4.0.”
The new grading structure will not affect grades earned in other semesters.
“We can’t go back and change the grades that students have already gotten, obviously,” said Vicki Golich, vice president of academic and student affairs. “There will be some impact [on GPAs]. Hopefully it won’t be horribly significant. The A and B students should be okay.”
The idea behind the new policy is to not only to recognize when students need extra assistance, but to help professors see who are their stand-out students.
“I think it’s great that this change is happening,” said Deserae Hunter, a freshman at MSU Denver. “It’s going to give the students who work harder the recognition they deserve.”
Although this is the university’s new grading system, it will vary from department to department, Haynes said that each department has decided on its own direction.
“Most four-year institutions across the country have plus/minus grading in place,” Haynes said.
English professor Gloria Powell is happy to implement the new grading system in her classes.
“There’s a large difference between an 89 percent and an 80 percent, and the pluses and minuses will show that,” Powell said. “I think it will work well.”