By Michaela Trainor
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College has decided not to adjust the grading system by adding a plus or a minus to letter grades, the chairwoman of the committee that studied the proposal said in early March.
A new administrator at Camden County College suggested the adjustment at a faculty assembly on Jan. 17. The administrator wanted to change the grade scale to resemble the one at Rowan College at Gloucester County, said Nancy Gartland, chairwoman of the Academic Policies Committee. After careful consideration and investigation, the committee decided not to make the adjustment.
“Any faculty member can bring forward a new policy to the committee and we are in charge of investigating it and figuring it out,” Gartland stated.
The grade scale at Camden County College uses only letters, but the new grade scale would have included a plus or a minus in addition to the letters.
“The idea of going from A, B, C to A+, A-, etc. has come up three times in the last few years,” Gartland said. “It usually comes from someone new coming from another place wondering why we don’t do things the way everyone else does it.”
The adjustment would have affected the way students’ work is assessed.
One student, Aileen Provenzano, said she would have welcomed the adjustment. “I like the idea of having pluses and minuses on grades. That’s how it was in high school so I feel like it should be the same in college.”
On the grade scale at Camden County College, an A is described as superior, having a numeric value ranging from 90 to 100 and a grade point average of 4.0. At Rowan College at Gloucester County, an A+ counts as a 4.0 grade point average but has a numeric value ranging from 93 to 100. Also, the saying “C’s get degrees” doesn’t include a C-. Gartland said most colleges will not accept a C- nor will that student be able to graduate with that grade. This was a concern during the voting that took place in January.
Another concern about the proposed grading scale was with the assignments or tests that students write or take that are more subjective, such as essays or work that is geared more toward critical thinking, Gartland said. That work is not as straightforward or simple to grade as a multiple choice or a true-or-false test. How is a professor to determine whether this essay about one subject deserves a B+ but this essay containing the same information deserves a B-? This consideration is not as simple as people may think.
The process of implementing a new policy such as a new grade scale has several steps, Gartland said. First, someone must introduce the policy at a faculty assembly. Then, the group must approve the policy. Then, the faculty must inform the students and professors about the policy. Then, the college must implement the policy. Implementing the new grade scale also would have required the purchase of new software.