By Genevieve Mills–
The Student Government Association proposal to change the point-value of an A-plus has been gaining steam since the start of the Spring term.
This plan has been in the works for a long time, but current academic vice president and proposal sponsor Carrie Mattingly has worked on making progress with it. Now, an A-minus results in a 3.7 credit on GPA’s, and an A and A-plus for 4.0 credit, the proposed plan would change the A-plus to 4.3 credit.
“The proposal is to alleviate the inconsistency with the A-plus, which currently carries only 4.0 rather than 4.3 quality points that I believe are earned by students who earn an above excellent grade in a course,” said Mattingly, a junior political science and economics major.
Mattingly has a 4.0 cumulative GPA and is also running for SGA president.
While there have been objections against the plus-minus system since U of L adopted it in 2002, Mattingly made changing this system a priority. “This semester, I am taking the A-plus initiative to all academic units that house undergraduate students. The College of Business has already announced its support for the change, and I am already on the agendas to speak with faculty of all the other units this spring. My suggested effective date is Fall 2013.”
Mattingly has worked with various heads of schools throughout U of L towards this change. A petition on Change.org for the initiative has 636 signatures towards its goal of 1,000. The university has over 22,293 currently enrolled students according to the most recent estimates.
The plan also has its opponents, who point out that the plan will lead to grade inflation at U of L.
Alternatively, opponents of the plan proposed eliminating the plus-minus system at U of L. The University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, Morehead State University and Murray State University have not adopted the system. Only Northern Kentucky University follows a plus-minus system, although their systems slightly differ from U of L in the credit they assign to different grades.
Eric Wall, sophomore economics major with a 3.4 GPA, said that he wants to see the return of the standard grading system, no pluses or minus. Said Wall, “My problem with the A-plus initiative is that it’s not fixing a problem, it’s just trying to validate a faulty system. I think more people have their grades tarnished by an A-minus than those who would benefit from the A-plus.”
Mattingly’s response is that U of L can’t get rid of the plus-minus system. Said Mattingly, “Last semester, Institutional Research (and Planning) helped me conduct a study where we examined the precise numerical effect that grade scale changes, including the A-plus initiative, would have upon cumulative student GPAs by unit and at the university as a whole. I found that the A-plus Initiative contributed to the least possible grade inflation.
“Because (the system) was adopted around ten years ago with the purpose of differentiating between students who barely earn a letter grade—an 81 for a B—and those who earn a certain letter grade comfortably—an 89 for a B. Getting rid of the plus-minus system would significantly increase grade inflation according to my research.”
Keyonna McKinsey, sophomore bioengineering major with a 3.95 GPA, was asked about her thoughts on the A-plus initiative. “If we can get less towards our GPA for an A-plus or even more for a B-plus, why shouldn’t be able to be rewarded for an A-plus?”
Said McKinsey of the plan, “It would be more of an incentive to do better than just an A. If you’re getting an A-plus, shouldn’t you be rewarded for that work and achievement?”
When asked if she thought being elected as SGA president would make it easier for her to achieve her goals with the plan, Mattingly said, “The key to success of long-term SGA goals like the A-plus initiative is continuity. I am doing everything I can to get the A-plus initiative passed this semester.
“However, it will definitely be carrying over into April and May for the reason that faculty in some units do not meet until April. If I am re-elected to SGA executive top four, I will be able to utilize the relationships I’ve made with faculty as Academic Vice President in order to continue work on the A-plus until it is passed.”
The SGA Supreme Court sponsored debate will give each of the presidential candidates a chance to share their stance on the issues. It will be Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Red Barn. It will follow the SGA senate meeting, which occurs every two weeks, and begins at 7 p.m.
Voting for SGA elections will be Feb. 11 to Feb. 13 on ULink. The Louisville Cardinal’s coverage of the election will continue in the following weeks, in print and online.
Infograph: Carrie Mattingly