Is it grading or degrading?


By Erin Clingenpeel

The plus/minus grading scale has been a highly-debated topic since it was implemented in the Fall 2013 semester.

For those of you who don’t know, the plus/minus grading scale is a new policy invoked by the university that gives professors the option to grade with a plus or minus.

For instance, instead of calculating a grade based on the 10-point scale (A, B, C, D, F), it would calculate it on a tighter scale (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-… you get the idea, I’m sure).

This means, that students which have a 4.0 GPA would have to work much harder, as would the C-students who are just on the cusp of a 2.0. As you can imagine, a lot of people are mad about this.

Thankfully, most professors aren’t using the plus/minus grading scale just yet. However, there is talk of the scale becoming mandatory after a certain transitional period has passed.

Am I mad about it? No, I’m not. I can see where they are coming from, and I don’t see how they could have done this better than they did.

It’s a bit of a shock to be told that the school is transitioning to this new grading scale, particularly for students working hard to keep 4.0 GPAs, and those of us who are teetering on the edge of a 2.0.

The new scale may not impact current upperclassmen in any real way, but it could impact freshmen in a couple of years. I get why people are mad, but Radford would have to negatively impact some students to do this no matter how or when they did it.

Every batch of students would want the new grading scale to wait until after their class graduates, and though I personally wish it didn’t have to happen, I understand that it does.

Radford University is a great school, but we’re trying to compete with James Madison and Virginia Tech. We’re trying to transition into an academically-focused institution instead of a so-called “party school,” and for once I can actually see where students are going to eventually benefit.

This isn’t costing anyone any money and it’s not wasting anyone’s time or resources. This change isn’t going to sacrifice the needs of some departments while bolstering the reputations and resources of others.

It’s just going to be a little difficult for people to get used to.

It’s a little laughable to hear this from someone who’s graduating in 2016, I realize, but I do agree with the direction the school is going in.

It has to be done eventually and despite RU’s reputation as a great-but-not-amazing school filled with students who like to party, we have the professors and the academics to compete with a lot of schools that have better reputations.

The school’s ultimate goal should be to give students the education we come here to get.

Yes, I get that it’ll make keeping a 4.0 that much harder, but won’t it be that much more impressive for people who manage to do it? Won’t it mean more?

If this helps RU focus more on academics to get students, then this is absolutely a step they should take.

It has to be done eventually, might as well get it over with, right?

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