It's Time That Universities Rightfully Compensate A+ Grades
Politics and Activism

It's Time That Universities Rightfully Compensate A+ Grades

A+ is not an A, so don't weight them equally.

Paradox 56 on Flickr

The semester is never truly over until final grades are posted. The week or so between your last final and when your grades are actually posted feels like some sort of limbo. However, when those grades are posted, the relaxation of the break can finally begin.

However, that all depends upon whether or not you get the grades you wanted.

At my college, and many many others, we are on the plus/minus scale. Where in addition to regular As and Bs, we can get a plus or a minus version of that grade, which thus alters our GPA. So a B+ actually counts as a 3.3, whereas an A- counts as a 3.7. As a consequence, plus grades feel like a reward, and minus grades feel like a punishment.

As long as you're only dealing with the pluses, it seems beneficial, right? It can boost your GPA leaving you feeling better about the semester. But on the flip side, if you are stuck with a bunch of minus grades, it'll just lower your GPA.

The one main drawback with this method of grading is the failure to reward the highest possible grade: the A+. Instead of an A+ being worth 4.3 points, it is just worth 4.0, like a regular A. Many schools across the nation, are punishing students for an A- without rewarding them for an A+.

I understand that many universities don't want to overcompensate. Traditionally, a 4.0 is the highest GPA one can achieve. But that's just simply not the case anymore. There are high schools that weight AP courses on a five-point scale, with students graduating with over a 4.0.

If universities have problems with students achieving over a 4.0, then a simple capping system would solve that problem. A+ grades can only be used to supplement lower grades, rather than just boost them over a 4.0. Or even just match A+ to A-, where they would "cancel" out.

When it comes down to it, a student can go all throughout college with A+ grades in every class, but the second they get an A-, their GPA is no longer a 4.0. Making an A+ worth 4.3 points is the only way to make the grading system fair.

If universities aren't willing to compensate students for the grades that they rightfully earn, then maybe the plus/minus system should be abolished. Students work hard for their grades. If the performance of one student drastically outweighs the work of another to the point that the professor awards a different grade, then that grade should be worth more GPA points.

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