BY JESSIE SPANGLER
Drake will be changing its grading policy starting in the fall 2016 semester, meaning that professors will have the option to incorporate pluses and minuses into their students’ grades.
The new grading policy will only affect fall 2016 classes and beyond. Any grades a student has received in the past will not be affected by the changes in grading. Transfer credits will also not be affected by the new grading policy.
“The Faculty Senate in December 2012 passed a motion to bring to all faculty of non- Law instruction, a vote or poll concerning a grading policy change from whole grades to the inclusion of the choice for plus or minus grades,” said Nancy Geiger, a student information analyst who also serves as the Faculty Senate secretary.
The changes in grading will affect undergraduate, graduate and professional pharmacy students. Law students will continue to follow their own grading scheme.
The issue of changing the grading system was brought up several times before that.
“That poll was taken in March 2013, Faculty Senate voted to approved the grading change (non-Law) to be implemented beginning with the fall 2016 courses,” Geiger said.
Professors will not be required to use pluses and minuses in their grading. According to Drake’s website, instructors control what scale their students will be graded on, and some situations may not allow for pluses and minuses as part of students’ grades.
“The plus and minus grades are options for faculty of instruction to use or not. I do not believe in any way ‘to hurt students’ was or is a reason the new grading possibilities were approved,” Geiger said when asked if the new grading policy would hurt or help students.
The changes in grading will not apply to students who received an “incomplete” in a course prior to fall 2016 and complete it the next semester or afterwards.
Some students like the changes in grading.
“I think that the new changes are good because they are a better representation of your actual grade,” said Sara Schnuettgen, a first-year. “Someone that works super hard and gets an 89 percent in a class right now gets the same credit as someone who barely gets an 80 percent.”
Schnuettgen also believes that it will encourage students to work harder, because a B plus will mean more than a B.
“I also hope that it makes the classes a bit more fair and equal on the grading criteria,” Schnuettgen said. “I just think that you deserve to get the grade you worked hard for.”
Not all students are fans of the new grading policy.
“For someone like me who kind of lives their life between 90 and 93 percent, it doesn’t really provide any benefits for staying over 90 percent. It’s actually kind of detrimental to my GPA,” said first-year Tanner Thurman. “There are some pluses. If I got somewhere between 87 and 89 percent then I’m getting more than three points for the class, so that’s where it can make up for it.”
As a student who receives mostly A’s but can “count on one hand” how many A’s that are over 93 percent he’s received, Thurman is not excited for the new changes in grading.
“I want to keep my GPA up, so if the new grading policy is going to force me into a corner to make sure that I’m not in the bottom range of an A, and to make sure that I’m getting great grades in class, then I’ll make myself work harder. In that light, I think it’ll be pretty effective. Do I prefer it? No,” Thurman said.