Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by the plus/minus grading scale. Alright, put your hand down. You probably look weird trying to hold a newspaper with one hand. But, jokes aside, this is a real issue.
Chances are, you are probably already familiar with the plus/minus grading scale, so there is no need to go into detail there, but some students run into this beast more often than others.
This is because it is the department’s choice whether or not to employ the system. For instance, the math, chemistry and psychology departments are all on the plus/minus system, but the decision to implement it comes down to the professor, so it can vary from class to class. The biology department does not use the plus/minus system, to my knowledge.
Well now that you know which departments to avoid, the questions of “Why?” arises. Why would professors go through the trouble of a plus/minus system when a 10-point scale would be simpler? Professors might argue that it’s a better reflection of how the student preformed in the class, but why split hairs?
If a student makes a B+, then I guess that is better than a B, but if someone made a B-, then that’s worse than a B. It cancels out. It is neutral.
The real problem with the plus/minus grading scale is there is no A+. It is not like I am making any A+s anytime soon, but someone has to, and it is not fair for those people. If an A is a 4.0, an A- is lower than a 4.0, then there should be an A+ worth more than a 4.0.
Have you ever taken a class that had prerequisites? Of course. The minimum grade to advance to the next level class is often a C, but you know what doesn’t count? A C-.
If a student makes a C-, he cannot advance to the next course. The student would then have to spend his summer taking the course over again and then taking the next course. That happened to a friend of mine. But what can you do? Someone start a petition. I will sign it.
James Halbrook is a sophomore chemical engineering major from Brandon.