A+ warrants points for grading system


Editor’s Note: Following is an editorial of The UTD Mercury’s editorial board. The Editorial Board consists of the newspaper’s management team (editor-in-chief, managing editor, section editors, advertising managers and copy editor.) The editorial board will discuss, debate and develop editorial positions on issues affecting the UTD community as needed. We welcome your responses.

It’s the same at the end of every semester. Students want to see their grades, and in rapid succession, the recalculated cumulative GPA for their efforts.

Yet, since UTD began awarding plus or minus grades as subsets of the common letter grades, students have not received any more credit for an A+ than they have for an A. Students’ best efforts aren’t being duly represented in their GPAs.

To be sure, the advent of the plus/minus system overall brings a higher level of competition to the grading system, rewarding students who work harder in classes. Rather than scrape by with an 89.5 for an A – as we all did at some point in high school – UTD students have to push harder for a 93.5 to maintain a 4.0 GPA.

But, those students who put in the extra effort needed to achieve a mark of A+ receive no more credit than their 93.5 scraped up A classmates.

If we award extra GPA points for a B+ versus a B, we should likewise award extra points for an A+ over an A.

In an email to the UTD pre-law society earlier this year, its director, Tony Champagne, explained that the Law School Admissions Council recalculates a student’s GPA and awards 4.33 points for transcript grades of A+. He explains, “It makes no difference, of course, how UTD calculates an A+ because Law School Data Acquisition Service (LSDAS) recalculates the GPA.”

This is true. If a student applies to law school and the application system recalculates everything, then his or her official UTD GPA seems irrelevant. But there’s the rub. The problem occurs when a professor doesn’t think that awarding an A+ will help the student on his GPA, as indeed is the case at UTD, so should he bother awarding any?

UTD students who earn an A+ grade for a certain course should be given more credit than those who earn an A.

Of course, for the vast majority of students who don’t apply to law school, there seems little incentive to work hard to achieve an A+. After a single minor slip to an A-, the hope of a 4.0 GPA is gone, and yet a student may have never actually made a B.

To most employers, a 3-point-something GPA implies the student made Bs. At UTD, that’s not necessarily the case. Without having a 4.33 GPA value for A+s, UTD’s grade point system hurts graduates in finding jobs and reflects poorly on the quality of the student body.

We propose fixing the current flawed system so that 4.33 grade points are awarded for an A+ and overall GPAs are capped at 4.0. This system would encourage students to work harder, producing better graduates and a more enriching educational environment.

The UTD Mercury editorial board voted 3-0 in favor of this editorial.


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