The negatives of (A) minus

Diana Anaya/Contributing Writer

An A minus in and of itself isn’t a problem; like the other minuses, it serves its purpose.
However, in our university there is no A plus to balance out the A minus. This can be a serious
issue for students that have to maintain their GPA for graduate schools, clubs, or scholarships.

The simple answer would be that the student should just work harder in order to make sure they
attain that A. But getting an A in all your classes while going to work or attending five to six
classes per semester (or even both) is easier said than done.

In fact, there are a large numbers of students that receive scholarships that require a minimum
amount of credits per semester, such as Bright Futures or the Presidential Scholarship.

Taking five core classes, which can range from mildly taxing to requiring several hours of study
every day, and attempting to earn an A in all of them is not easy. There’s no such thing as the
perfect student and no university should penalize students for not being perfect.

Then, when you get that A minus and see the reduction it makes to your GPA, you must suffer
in the fact that your GPA will never recover from this drop. You may get A’s in all your future
courses, but if you had a 4.0, it’s gone forever.

This type of grading system is unfair to the very students our university should be supporting.
Any student fighting over an A minus is not a ‘slacker’ and deserves to reap the benefits of their
hard work.

There are three possible solutions to what I see as a problem, which are simple in theory but
undoubtedly require strong support from students in order to be put into action.

First, the A minus could be removed from the grading scale. In this case an A would be made
into a grade that is difficult to achieve, but at least when a student receives an A they get the full
benefits of the grade.

Second, the exact value of the A minus could be changed. The value of an A minus is currently
3.67, which some students consider too low for an A minus.

“I think they should lift it higher, to a 3.75 or a 3.80, so it doesn’t weigh so heavily on the GPA,”
says junior psychology major Evelyn Lopez. “A 3.67 is a lot closer to a B than to an A.”

The value of a B plus is currently 3.33.

Finally, the university could introduce the A plus to the grading system which would counteract
the value of an A minus. Although it would be tough grade to obtain it would ensure that the
students getting an A plus truly care about the class and their grade.

Craig McGill, academic adviser for the Department of English, disagrees with that solution. He
believes that the addition of the A plus would not be the positive outcome some students are
looking for.

“I think what you are proposing would actually hurt students because if an A+ becomes 4.0, that
means an A must be below a 4.0 on a 4.0 scale,” he says. “The system should not be catered to
working students. That lowers the integrity of the degree and the coursework.”

An A minus may not be pressing matter for some students, but for those that are trying to keep
their GPA up to get into a graduate program, it is of utmost importance.

The discussion of whether or not the grading scale is more beneficial or more detrimental could
go on for years, it is of course an imperfect system.