The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

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February 23, 2024

New grading scale leaves editor with explosive thoughts

Words cannot describe the feelings I had when I opened up my Gannon University email last week to find that all I have known and loved for the past three years has gone to shambles.

My worst fear has come true – the Gannon grading scale is changing. At least no flying manhole covers were involved in the explosion that took place in my mind.

We all know that I am a procrastinator. While it’s true that I work hard, I work hard within whatever time limit I allow myself to do things. Which is usually slim.

So, for example, when I have a paper due on Friday, I calculate exactly how much time on Thursday night I’m going to have to work – breaks included – to scrape by with an A. But come fall, it will not only be possible, but probable, that the beloved A I once would have received will be replaced by the unthinkable A-minus.

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Now it’s going to take some real, legit work to get the same A’s I’ve been striving for my whole college career. Speaking of legit, did anyone else notice that there’s no red scribble under it in Microsoft Word anymore? It’s even sort of on dictionary.com.

But anyway. I envy the incoming freshmen who will have no idea what kind of glorious grading scale they missed.

Worse yet is that, from a teacher’s perspective, I can see why the “minus” is a great concept. They’ll use it for those students who almost deserve the full A, or B or C. I happen to be sure that I am one of those students.

Now that begs the question of whether I’m actually going to put in the extra effort it will take to get an A. I could say yes, I will work harder, but I also don’t know what I would be getting myself into.

I guess what I’m ultimately wondering is, if the work I’m doing now is earning me A’s with the current scale, how much more above and beyond do I need to go to get that same A on the new scale?

This is where I have to give the professors who use percentages a pat on the back. When students see that number, they know how many “points” they missed – it’s easy to tell where the credit was lost; why the B-plus wasn’t an A.

Even on papers that don’t have percents on them, I generally know what was or wasn’t lacking in my paper. An A means I got it right on the ball, as they say, and a B-plus means I came up a little short in one area or another. I can generally figure that out on my own, even without the professor’s comments.

But come fall, the big A-minus on my paper won’t mean much unless I start asking my professors what I could have done better. And that means confrontation – one of my least favorite things.

I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m obviously not going to start yelling at my professors and questioning their judgment. But it seems to me that this new grading scale is going to bring out a lot of ambiguity in the grades I earn, and I fear that students like me will start getting A minuses just because it’s an option now, whereas it wasn’t before.

Is that really fair to those of us who experienced the old grading scale? Maybe it is – I’m probably being completely irrational. But I know myself well enough to predict that I’m going to be upset the first time I receive an A-minus. And I’m sure I’ll write a column about that, too.

 

KELLY MORELAND

[email protected]

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