Listed below are a few of the most frequently asked questions about the new plus/minus grading system. By vote of the faculty, this system will be implemented for Undergraduate (Day & GOAL) programs for the Fall 2010 semester. For information about the use of this system in the Graduate School and Graduate School of Business, see question #12.The School of Divinity does not use the plus/minus grading system.
2. Why is the school changing its grading scale?
A short answer is because the faculty determined by vote that this change was desirable. A longer answer recognizes a number of factors that have been part of a faculty conversation which has taken place over the last two years. The trend in higher education is toward greater use of plus and minus grading. Many faculty appreciate the ability to exercise greater precision in awarding grades. Under the old system, a student who receives 89% of the points available in a class would likely receive the same grade as a student who received only 80% of the points. Under the new system, such differences would be reflected through the use of different grades (B+ and B-).
3. Will the new system result in higher or lower grades for students?
It is unclear what the overall effect will be on average grades at Gardner-Webb. It stands to reason, however, that the new scale will have mixed effects on individual students. Whenever a student receives a grade of B+, C+, or D+, the student is receiving a higher point value than he or she would under the older system, and consequently the GPA will benefit. Whenever a student receives a grade of A-, B-, C-, or D-, the student is receiving a lower point value than he or she would under the older system, and the GPA will reflect the decline.
5. Will plus/minus grading impact the Dean's List policy?
The Dean's List/Honor Roll policy includes the numerical grade point average. This will remain the same. A student's GPA will include any plus or minus grades posted to the transcript.
6. How does chromatic grading affect my requirements for graduation?
Plus/minus grading does not affect the grade point average required for graduation. Undergraduates are still required to have a 2.0 in order to graduate. Graduate students are still required to have a 3.0 in order to graduate. However, it is important for undergraduate students to note that the GPA equivalent of a C- is less than a 2.0 and for graduate students to note that the GPA equivalent of a B- is less than a 3.0.
7. How will transfer students' transcripts using plus/minus grading be interpreted?
There will be no change in the way that grades are calculated for those who apply for admission as transfer students.
8. How will policies which state "a grade of C or better is required" be interpreted?
For purposes of University policies or regulations which state that "a grade of C or better is required," a grade of C will be considered a 2.00. This means that for these policies and regulations, a grade of C- will not satisfy the standard. The same is true for rules and regulations that require "a B or better" or "a grade of A." An A- or B- will not satisfy this standard.
9. Will students who receive a C- in a course in their major need to repeat the course for it to count in their major?
Yes. For a course to count in their major, students must make a C (2.00) or higher in the course.
10. If a student makes a D- in a core class, will that class meet the core requirement or will the student need to repeat the course and make a D or higher to meet the core requirement?
Unless the student's major department stipulates a higher standard to meet a requirement, a grade of D- in a core class is sufficient to meet the core requirement.
12. What courses are covered by the switch to plus/minus grading?
All undergraduate courses in the TUG and DCP programs are covered by the plus/minus grading system described above. A modified plus/minus grading system has been adopted by some programs in the School of Graduate Studies and by all programs in the Graduate School of Business.
13. Is an instructor for a course required to use plus and minus grades?
The assignment of grades in a course is the responsibility of the instructor. The new plus/minus system provides more grade options, but how those options are used is the decision of the instructor.
14. Is there a value assigned to each grade on a grading scale of 0-100 (e.g., 90 = A-)?
The University does not prescribe a predetermined set of grade values as in the example above. Grade values are assigned at the discretion of the faculty member.
16. Why is the point value for "A+" the same as for "A"?
4.0 is the maximum grade that can be awarded. While the point values for A and A+ are the same, the grade of A+ signifies the recognition of exceptional achievement.
17. How can a student calculate the impact a grade will have on his/her GPA?
A GPA Calculator is provided on the Registrar's webpage. This calculator allows students to enter anticipated grades (including repeated grades) and calculate the effects on their GPA.
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