Lynn Medeiros, Sierra College Faculty Association
When it comes to having marks alongside letter grades, there are, of course, pluses and minuses. Sierra College has gone back and forth on this policy and currently doesn’t allow them. So a student who gets a 70 percent receives a C, just like a student who receives 79 percent.
“I think not having pluses or minuses does students more a disservice than a service,” says Jay Hester, a professor at Sierra College. “Pluses and minuses are a little more expressive of how students actually do.”
Lynn Medeiros, also a Sierra College professor, is on the fence. “I stand by ‘an A is an A’ whether it has a plus or a minus next to it,” she says. “But when I was at Sacramento State College it mattered tremendously. An A minus could really hurt your GPA because it wasn’t a 4.0.”
An instructor she met at the University of Chicago put the issue into perspective:
“A student asked the professor to give him a D plus instead of a D so he could show his parents he was improving, and then his parents would pay for school,” says Medeiros. The professor replied, ‘If that’s what you really want, I can do that. But putting a plus next to a D is really just like putting whip cream on dog poop.’”
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