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Plus - Minus Grades at Drake - A Discussion: Notes from Oct. 10 Student Open Forum

Resources and discussion pieces as Drake considers Plus - Minus grades

Notes from Oct. 10 Open Forum

Drake University

Open Forum on Plus-Minus Grading

Forum Attended by Students and members of Student Senate and Faculty Senate

October 10, 2012

Notes compiled by Keith Summerville, Faculty Senate President

  • Took poll – alpha cappa psi – our professors do not adequately use blackboard – more uncertainty about where we stand in our classes. Many hand raised about communication

  • Prospective students might not like / do not like +/- grading system – the rationale to go to drake is to get jobs and we need to understand that deflationary grade pressure created by +/- might harm our competitiveness in the marketplace.

  • Hovering around A/B range – getting a B+ punishes me for being borderline / close performance

  • At Drake we provide ourselves on being go-getters – putting more stress on the people that try to get A grades will decrease involvement in outside activities.

  • No one will convince me that an A- is ok – I strive to do the best that I possibly can and the time that I will spend studying for classes will take away from outside activities

  • Can we transition this program for existing students – if this program was implemented and phased in for future students then current students would feel some relief

  • +/- disfavors risk in the classroom because there will be a penalty for risk taking courses outside an area of expertise

  • Students that lack natural ability feel punished by +/- grading system – classes where grades are based on writing or other soft rubrics make assessment difficult

  • Numeric grading system? Something other than +/- ; what other options are being considered by Senate and why is this the only one being considered if that is true.

  • Feel +/- grading would be hurting top students.

  • +/- grading hurts top students more.

  • Students at Drake don’t feel comfortable unless they are stressing ‘– Drake mission statement is key to why I can here – I don’t want to have to shift my experiences outside of the classroom in lieu of experiences inside the classroom. This initiative would move Drake away from drake’ mission.

  • Different professors being able to use different methods would confuse understanding of GPA

  • Companies not interested in fine grain grading system – companies want experiences and research projects.

  • Drake university prides itself on having a 96% employment rate - +/- will hurt

  • Point of education is to empower the student and putting ability to assess in professors; new system will empower professors not students

  • +/- will make it more difficult to get into graduate school

  • Outreach – students in pre-pharmacy and business law 3-3 program are concerned about how this.

  • AOI classes should not have +/- grades because.

  • Leave grading system where it is if only 66% of faculty think it is a good idea.

  • Will this cost me $?

  • Will this create a system where faculty are backlogged with office hours?

  • Support for the idea – when I work harder I feel like I deserve a higher reward; not a good way to implement this – teachers do whatever they want anyway.

  • Taking classes outside your comfort zone is something that is attractive about Drake and part of the benefit of being here is taking risks and +/- harms that.

  • Two goals of being a student is learning and be able to apply learning towards a productive end. We need to make sure the conversation is focused on creating an environment that is most conducive to learning

  • If you are a student that has to take 18 creds per semester than the +/- grading system will hurt students more because of load

  • Grading written assignments is subjective in many contexts as well;

  • Assign rewards due through the letters of recommendation not +/-

  • Maintaining scholarships is something that could be compromised by the +/- system if GPA will decline.

  • Make it a lot harder to get into grad school –

  • Top performers will get A grades anyway – so this hurts the marginal top performers.

  • This will compromise the ability for Drake to maintain meaningful personal lives

  • Employer will take experience more than GPA

  • Discussion on a plus grading system – is there even a remote possibility of a plus system without minus

  • From a pharmacy perspective – pharmacy competition is large and competition will be exacerbated.