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Grades are important to everyone. Whether they’re worried about getting into graduate school, law school or even into the work force, grades are important. The academic scholarships most students have are also contingent upon maintaining a certain grade point average.
Academic distinctions, honors and societies are all dependent on maintaining a certain GPA, a certain ratio of A’s to B’s to everything else. It’s hard enough to maintain our GPA’s without having to worry about each professor trying to redefine the grading scale.
Baylor currently has a fairly standard grading scale in place: 90 and above is an A, 88-89 is a B+, 80-88 is a B, 78-79 is a C+, 70-78 is a C, 60-69 is a D and 59 and below is an F.
This is the grading scale students expect to have going into a class, but then occasionally, you walk into a class and a professor decides to deviate from this standard.
One of the most frustrating deviations, more so than when professors decide to do away with the plus system in their class, is when a professor dictates a student must get at least a 93 in order to get an A in the class.
It’s hard enough trying to get above a 90 in many classes.
When a graduate school, law school or medical school admissions committee looks at a student’s application and sees a big fat B for a class, it’s not going to matter whether that B was a 92 or if it was an 80. All that committee sees is that it’s a B.
When an employer sees a GPA or a transcript, there are no numerical grades there, just a letter grade. All of that student’s hard work is condensed into a letter grade. That’s bad enough, so why try to blur the lines between letter grades? Why make it so ambiguous?
There are many other ways to redistribute grades so they fall into a normal distribution curve. Raising the cutoff for an A is not going to help normalize the distribution of grades any more than keeping the cutoff for an A at 90.
From a student’s perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. We work hard to earn our grades and we’re shorted when a professor doesn’t give us the grade we would have earned in practically any other class without a skewed grading scale.
The grading system should be standardized. Professors shouldn’t just decide that they aren’t going to give A’s for 90’s. Students should be able to enter a class on the first day and say, “If I make a 90, I’ll make an A.”
At the very least, students should be able to enter a class and know, before a syllabus is given, what an A is.
While a professor should be able to lower the threshold to earn an A, raising of the threshold is deceiving and can really affect students who work hard.