Standardization in grading could make minus system more bearable

Here is an obvious statement: College is hard.

This is something everyone knows and everyone can relate to at some point, whether that realization came after failing a test, being confused in class or getting an disappointing grade.

The dreaded minus system was implemented in 2014 as part of the official grading scale. According to the Office of the Registrar online, this change was supposed to “lead to consistent grades and grade point values between undergraduate, graduate, and seminary courses.” However, the exact opposite happens by the way the minus system is implemented.

Now, the minus system has many merits, and definitely makes Baylor stand out as more rigorous compared to other universities who don’t have the minus system. Even though the new grading scale causes some inconveniences and hurt feelings, the problem isn’t the minus system, but rather the lack of standardization of this policy across campus.

Based on the grading scale, an A constitutes a 4.0 and an A- is a 3.67 on the GPA scale. Based on the way the policy was implemented, instructors are not required to grade on the minus scale if they decide not to.

However, the real problem is that everyone has a different idea of what an A- is.

In some classes a 93 is considered an A- and in other classes a 90 could be considered an A-. Other classes across campus might not even use the A- system at all.

This is problematic because this system lacks standardization and does not affect all students in the same way. Some professors on campus believe the minus system makes their class more rigorous, and while that is true, it is not fair to students if not all professors use it. For example, if you have two students taking the same course in different sections, they both could make 93 as their final grades, but one student could end up with an A and the other could end up with an A-, even though they both did they same amount of work, they just had different professors. One student would end up with a 4.0 added to their GPA while the other had a 3.67 factored in, which is a significant difference.

Instead of making the university as a whole more rigorous, the minus system only hurts the students. The differences in GPAs because of the minus system could easily affect the ability of some students to get into law school, medical school, or some sort of graduate program if they have a slightly lower GPA because they took classes with the minus system whereas other students they are competing against might not have.

The minus system as a whole is fine, but in order for it to actually mean something, it should apply to all classes and all students on campus. At the very least, individual departments and colleges could set the standard for what constitutes a minus grade so it could at least effect everyone’s major GPA in the same way.

At the end of the day college is already difficult, but the lack of standardization of the minus system across campus, only complicates it more.