Grading system change

Keene State aims to change grading scale for fall 2021

Olivia Cattabriga / Art Director

Puja Thapa

Administrative Executive Editor

The new 11-step grading system will be effective from the fall of 2021, according to Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs Ockle Johnson. He expressed his regret for the new 11-step grading system being pushed to be implemented from the fall of 2021 instead of fall 2019.

Keene State College’s current grading system looks like A, AB, B, BC 4.0, 3.5, 3.0… and it is moving forward to adopt a new grading system that would look like A, A-, B+, B, B- 4.0, 3.67, 3.33, 3, etc… . According to KSC Academic Scheduler Brendan Denehy, KSC is going from a grading system that had eight-steps from an A to an F to a system that involves minuses and pluses that includes more finesse. “Both of them are based on a 4.0 scale,” Denehy said.

Johnson said, “Having that finer grade system would provide a more accurate assessment of where each person stood, and each person would get appropriate credit for what they have done.”

The existing grading system didn’t necessarily satisfy many students. Senior and biology major Ashley Ruston  shared her frustration regarding the current grading system during her first year. “I remember being frustrated, because if I worked hard to get an A-, then it should be seen as an A-, and not a B+,” Ruston stated.

Denehy explained the difference between the two systems, “The basic change is where in the past we went from A ( 4.0) to AB ( 3.5) to B ( 3.0), now there are two steps in between, so we go from A (4.0) to A- (3.67) to B+ ( 3.33), and to a B ( 3.0).”  So, the AB in the current system will be replaced by two steps: A- and B+.

Ruston said, “Now that I’ve been through almost four years here, I think that it has worked more in my favor whereas I have gotten right at the cusp and it is counted as an AB,[….] a 3.33 will be a B+ where it will be an AB for the current system… I am a little concerned to see what they are going to do to students in the middle of the career [because] this won’t affect me.”

Denehy explained, “Basically, your transcript is based on the GPA, so the GPA doesn’t change. It’s just the letters that are attached to it. “ At the back of the transcript, there is a section that explains the letters A, AB, B, BC… and the numbers attached to it.” After the system changes, a new section will be added with the letters A, A-, B+… and the numbers attached to it.

Associate Professor and Head of Special Collections and Archives Rodney Obien said, “The proposed system is more granular, this new one represents a student’s performance, it will allow the faculty member to better represent what the current status of the student is… Because the system of A and AB just doesn’t say as much as the system of A, A- and B+, it seems a little more specific.”

Johnson said, “There is a perception that all students grades will be higher because of this (the new grading system), in fact they won’t, some people will. As an AB shakes itself out, some people end up with a higher grade of A-, others will end up with a lower grade of B-, but those with the upper range of the case, who were more concerned about their work not being accurately reflected in the grade, will benefit.”

Johnson said that there will be some impacts after the grading system changes. He said, “I think it will vary from student to student. I think some students will experience little to no change, it will wash out, some students will have some slight changes in their GPA, it’s hard to predict exactly  what the change would be. I think there will be changes, but I think they will be small, significant perhaps but small.”

Denehy said that the reason for the delay is really the mechanics of making the change and not resistance to it. He added, “Students should know that it’s something that we are working, a lot of thought has gone into. We didn’t want to rush it and get it wrong. So, accuracy is really important.”

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