New grading scale approved

Plus/minus scale passes, but not yet implemented

By Kara Pound

The Flagler College faculty has voted yes to change the current grading scale to a plus and minus grading scale, but it is still not implemented.

“This is a faculty issue. . . not an administrative issue,” Flagler College President William T. Abare said.

While other colleges in northern Florida use a plus/minus scale, Flagler is one of the few that doesn’t. The University of Northern Florida uses a plus and minus scale, but lets the teachers decide if they will use it in their classroom. Florida State University also uses the system, while University of Florida uses only pluses, and Jacksonville University is along the lines of Flagler College with an A-F grading scale.

Student opinions were varied in an unofficial poll of 15 Flagler students from a range of classes and majors. Seven students said they would not want to implement the plus and minus scale.
“A slight variance in grade should not be defined,” said Jessica DeAtley, a senior and double major in secondary education and English. Six of the students would be for the change in grading scale.

“I’ve seen students skip their final exams because they didn’t have a shot at an A and a zero wouldn’t drop them below a B. A grading scale that includes pluses and minuses would make those students strive for a B+,” junior Blanche Joslin, said.

The last faculty vote on the change in scale was in 2002. A slight majority was for adding the pluses and minuses to the current grading system.

Out of four full-time faculty members interviewed, two were for the change and two were divided as to their opinion. Art professor Donald Martin said grades relay communication.
“Communicating to you how well I feel you are grasping the information in the course, the more specific that communication is, the more meaningful,” he said.

Robert Berger J.D., an instructor of business administration, taught at UNF where the pluses and minuses were optional. He would take a class consensus at the start of each semester and let the majority come to a decision on if they wanted them.

Berger was astonished at the overwhelming response of “No.” Chris Smith, chair of Flagler’s art department, says he tends to round up when a student has a 79.

“I think there is a big difference between a B- and a B+,” he said.

Abare was surprised at the results of the faculty vote. “I really thought that the faculty would embrace the notion of a plus and minus grading scale,” he said.

The administration noted this is a faculty issue. If the current grading scale of an A through F is to be changed to include pluses and minuses, the faculty and students will need to vocalize their opinions.

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