By Jennifer Rogers/News editor
The Faculty Senate told the Student Government Association Monday it needs more time to review the plus/minus grading system. “My report is that we do not have a report,” Senate President Pam Schlomann said during Monday’s meeting.
The SGA had asked the Faculty Senate to review the 12-point scale, which is being used this semester for the first time. Nick Bertram, SGA president, and Erin Michalik, the SGA’s chair of academic affairs, presented their own research on the plus/minus system to the Senate Nov. 5.
The Senate’s executive committee contacted several campus representatives and discussed the SGA’s report at its meeting Nov. 19. They concluded that making a recommendation now would be premature.
Schlomann said that two compromise motions had been suggested during the executive committee’s meeting.
One of those options was to base students’ GPAs on the original five-point scale, but continue to assign plus/minus grades for a more accurate reflection of course work. The other motion was to add an A+ to the scale, which could push the grade scale up over 4.0.
But both of those motions were shot down before being brought to the entire Senate, Schlomann said, because more research is needed.
For instance, if the Senate decides to add an A+ to the scale, the scale’s overall value could be bumped higher than four points. That could negatively affect students who want to go to graduate schools, since many of the schools “normalize” GPAs to a standard four-point scale.
Other options to amend the scale include limiting the number of As professors can give and taking out the grade C-. However, those changes are merely options to be researched, Schlomann said.
Michalik and Bertram handed out a follow-up report to the Senate Monday, which included summaries of their research and faculty and student comments from a survey the SGA conducted this semester on the plus/minus system.
Bertram called the plus/minus scale “the most important issue to the student body” and asked for continued Faculty Senate dialogue in the interest of shared governance.
At the SGA’s meeting Tuesday, Michalik promised the SGA would be taking a “very active” role in getting students’ voices heard next semester.
“It’s not something anyone can expect to be muted,” Bertram agreed.
The Senate’s next move will be continued review by the executive committee and a report to the Senate at its February meeting, Schlomann said Tuesday.
“I think there is a recognition that this is a big issue among students,” Schlomann said, stressing the Senate’s desire to work with students’ concerns. “I think we have a responsibility to do that.”