Keeping the Old Way of GPA
NDSU students polled, want to keep current grading scale
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 09:01
NDSU students appear as if they don’t want GPA changes anytime soon.
Faculty senate and student government sent two emails last week to survey the student body about a possible proposal to change the current grading scale. Final results on Tuesday indicated that of the 3,673 students who voted, 2,196 want to keep the current NDSU standards.
Under the current NDSU guidelines, students receive a 4.0 GPA and an A in a class for earning a 90 percent or higher. From there, a full point is taken off for every 10 percent lower the grade is until 60 percent or below is failing — an F.
Two alternate methods of grading were presented in the survey, both adding further tiers of GPA. The first would add pluses and minuses to each division of a grade, with a new GPA representing each. For example, if a student earned a 79 percent in a class, rather than receiving a 2.0 GPA and a C, the student would earn a 2.75.
The third and final choice on the survey would be similar to the second with the additional divisions, but would keep the 90 percent and above scale the same. So if a student earned a 91 percent, the student would earn the same GPA as one with a 99 percent, while students with 89 and 82 percents would end up with different GPAs.
However, 60 percent of the NDSU student body wants to keep things the way they are. Student Body Senator of Graduate Studies Chris McEwen said this kind of statement by NDSU students is noteworthy considering how many students voted.
“I think it’s a pretty strong statement made by a lot of people in the student body that they would like to see the status quo as is,” McEwen said. “(The survey) basically said that they would rather keep the current grading system than move to a different choice. That was the kind of feedback we wanted to take forward to the faculty senate. That way, we wanted to know what to do as far as advocating for students.”
Though 60 percent wanted to keep the grading scale the way it is, 40 percent want some sort of change. While 14 percent of student want each letter grade divided further, 27 percent of students voted to keep 90 percent or higher a 4.0 and have pluses and minuses with each letter grade below A.
It is possible students simply aren’t looking for any change at all because they are used to the way things are. Of the 3,641 students who gave their year in school on the survey, 59 percent of students voting were upperclassmen, with 27 percent of the total surveyed being juniors.
“In my NDSU career, I would never have been benefitted by having the proposed grading scale,” said an anonymous response to the survey. “It is easier to convince a professor to change your grade when it affects an entire grade point.”
No effect is set in stone. Student Body Vice President Erik Diederich admitted he wasn’t sure how much more professors would have to deal with requests for small bumps up in order to get a better grade.
“They’re either going to say it will alleviate a lot of those ‘Please bump me up’ emails, or it would hyper-inflate them,” Diederich said, “like there’s going to be a ton of emails saying ‘Hey, bump me up one point because I would be going from a B to a B plus.’ I’m not sure if that’s a positive or negative.”
While downsides are prevalent to the changes, the benefits would come for students who score in certain ranges.
“Someone who gets 80% and someone who gets 89% get the same GPA,” an anonymous response said. “That’s too large of a gap and this scale would have helped me numerous times… I’m a bad test taker and margins really help me.”
Diederich, who said he received multiple question-filled emails ever since the first survey message was sent out, explained whether a student does or does not want any change is usually determined by what percentages students usually get.