UGA to test plus/minus grading system

Athens, Ga. – Starting this summer, University of Georgia students could find something extra on their transcripts: Plus signs.  That’s because the University System of Georgia Board of Regents recently approved a plus/minus grading system for use at UGA and Georgia State University.

The board of regents is allowing the university to operate under the plus/minus system for three years in a pilot program. At the end of three years, the program will be re-evaluated for long-term adoption.           

“Instead of the strict A, B, C system, students’ achievement will be measured on a tighter scale that includes A-, B+, B-, C+ and C-. Faculty members say this new grading system could add to their ability to more precisely evaluate students’ accomplishments,” said Delmer Dunn, vice president for instruction at UGA and co-chair of the task force on general education and student learning.

“The task force that met last year also strongly endorsed the rationale that this would give students more incentives to work hard throughout the course, rather than slack off toward the end of the semester if they knew they had a solid A or B,” he said.

The system goes into effect at the start of Maymester, May 16.

“The reason for the pilot program is to assess whether this will have any impact on the HOPE Scholarship or whether it will have impact on transfer students,” said Arnett C. Mace Jr., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.  Mace pointed out that HOPE grade eligibility will be calculated as it is presently – grade point average based on A, B, C, D and F.

“Most of our peer institutions, and particularly our aspirational institutions, have gone to this system because it provides a better assessment of achievement in the classroom,” he added.

“There are some downsides.  Students may have an A and slip to an A minus after a final exam, but overall it’s a truer measure of academic achievement,” he said.

The University Council voted for plus/minus grading at least three times in the 1990s, but this is the first time the board of regents approved the recommendation.

Grades and numerical equivalents under the new system are as follows:  A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D (1.0) and F (0.0).