SGA Proposes Standard Grading Scale

By Heather Gazella
Staff Writer

A strong QPA is one of the many anxieties of a 21st Century college student. Many aspects of college life, and life after, depend on having a strong QPA such as playing a sport, selecting on-campus housing, maintaining scholarships, graduating with honors and acceptance into graduate school.

Members of the Undergraduate Student Government Association have found that the current grading procedure at Marywood is inconsistent when comparing individual class grading scales across the university. The Executive Cabinet of SGA has researched and developed a proposal for a Standardized University Grading Scale.

“Upon discussing the issue, the Executive Cabinet clearly saw the benefit for students especially in respects of having a [standardized grading scale] since it is used to determine student eligibility for so many areas…” said Tracey Fagan, SGA Executive Cabinet President. A formal proposal was written for the December 4, 2007 Student Government General Assembly meeting and current members cast a vote, showing that majority agreed to move forward with the proposal.

The Standardized Grading Scale proposal will be presented by Tracey Fagan, Executive Cabinet President, Leslie Sikora, Executive Cabinet Secretary, and Ian Reynolds, Senior Class President, at the Faculty Senate meeting on Friday, February 22.

In October of 2007, the SGA Executive Cabinet agreed that the issue of inconsistent grading scales would be of interest to current students. “Kristina [St. Jean] and [I] attended the Board of Trustees meeting in October and found they were extremely supportive and offered any help we needed,” Fagan said. A sample of syllabi from several students was collected and analyzed to further prove the rational of the proposal.

The reason for this proposal comes from the inconsistency in grading scales across academic classes. For example,if one student receives an 82 percent in two classes, the 82 percent in one class may be equivalent to a B (letter grade), and equivalent to a C (letter grade) in the other class. As a result, the inconsistency alters the cumulative QPA of the student, therefore affecting their ability to participate in many aspects of campus life at Marywood.

As part of preliminary feedback on this issue, SGA College Representatives were asked to talk with their respective Deans to gain faculty perspective. “It is very healthy to have these discussions [between student representatives and faculty representatives]… However, different subject matter lends itself to different ways of grading,” said Dr. Devorah Namm, Dean of the Insalaco College of Creative Arts and Management.

The Executive Cabinet of SGA researched other colleges and universities and found that eight have adopted a universal grading scale that is used across their curriculum regardless of course or department. Among these colleges are Albright College, Duquesne University and Alvernia College. “Deciding the grading scale equivalents may be a long process that requires consideration of different grading models…and a discussion of common objectives,” Dr. Namm said. “It is good to have these discussions because everyone will gain a better understanding and maybe there are other suggestions, or issues that can be brought to attention,” she added.

The Undergraduate Student Government hopes that Marywood will consider the students’ concerns and take steps towards defining a common grading scale that can be used across the university. For more information on this topic please contact Tracey Fagan at [email protected]