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LSU eyes new grading system

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 03, 2012 11:09 AM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The LSU Faculty Senate has approved a resolution to recommend the university switch to a new student grading system that awards different scores for "plus and minus" letter grades.

The 26-14 vote passed despite opposition from LSU Student Government, which has argued that a new incremental grading system could hurt "borderline" students.

Additionally, the Faculty Senate proposal gives professors the option of not using the new grading system, leading some to believe the university would be embarking on a path to widespread inconsistency in grading should the plus and minus system be adopted.

The Advocate reported Tuesday's vote is a milestone in a debate that has raged among LSU faculty for the majority of the year.

Those faculty members supporting the switch argued it would allow for more accuracy and flexibility in assigning final grades for students.

LSU System President and Baton Rouge campus Chancellor William Jenkins weighed in on the subject before the vote, but declined to take a position as he called it "very much a Faculty Senate issue."

"I will support whatever their decision is," Jenkins said.

Under the new grading system, an A or B grade would still correlate with a 4.0 or 3.0 grade-point average, respectively, while an A- would mean a 3.7 and a B+ would score a 3.3 in the proposed change.

Currently, a B+ and a B- both result in a 3.0 score at LSU.

The new system was proposed by Don Chance, an LSU finance professor, who argued Tuesday that a plus and minus grading system, with 12 grading increments rather than five, is a more reliable indicator of academic performance.

The vast majority of research universities use the plus and minus system, Chance said, including some of the country's most elite institutions, such as Harvard University and Stanford University.

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