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TCU 360

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Grading system gets new plans

Officials met Tuesday to discuss implementation plans for a plus/minus grading system. In November, Provost Nowell Donovan announced the plus/minus grading system would be grandfathered in, and, therefore, would not affect currently enrolled students.

Donovan met with the registrar and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee Tuesday and chose to have faculty members grade all students on a plus/minus scale. A computer program will then remove the pluses and minuses from current students’ grade point averages, leaving them on the current grading scale.

This system will go into effect for all incoming students, freshmen and transfers in the fall of 2007, Donovan said.

Donovan said the system they chose is the cheapest and easiest option.

“It means that faculty can just give the grade and needn’t worry about whether a student is a senior or a freshman or whatever,” Donovan said.

Patrick Miller, registrar and director of enrollment management, said the creation and testing of the new program will take about 18 weeks of work before it will be sent through an approval process.

The mixed program will run for four years and the software development is estimated to cost about $50,000, Miller said.

It will not be mandatory for faculty members to assign pluses and minuses, Miller said.

David Bedford, chair of the Student Relations Committee for the Faculty Senate, said he thinks it is better to keep students on the grading system they entered with.

He said students have certain expectations when they enter a university, and it is good to maintain these expectations.

“The new students coming in, knowing that that’s the system, they won’t have objections,” Bedford said. “So I think it’s a win-win, and I’m glad of it.”

Andrew Fort, former chair of the Faculty Senate, said he wanted the new grading system to affect all students immediately.

“My preference is and was, was and is, to do it all at once because doing it this way is going to have people sitting in the same class next to one another who do the same work getting different grades, and that’s never, I think, a good idea,” Fort said.

The decision to grandfather the new grading system was made because of student opposition to the addition of pluses and minuses to their transcripts, Fort said.

“I want it to be clear that it was the students who emphatically and forcefully asked for it to be this way,” Fort said.

Jace Thompson, president of the Student Government Association, said SGA worked to ensure students’ opinions about plus/minus grading were heard at the administrative level.

“SGA feels like the concerns were heard and really met,” Thompson said. “I think that the overwhelming sentiment is that we’re pleased with the results.

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