Faculty Senate votes to discuss alternative grading system


Thirty-five members of the Faculty Senate voted to pursue a new grading system after the SGA presented the plus/minus grading system as having “numerous inequities.” Chase Otero/The Paisano

Gaige Davila and Kenyatta Battle

The Faculty Senate voted to discuss alternatives to the plus/minus grading system this past Thursday, March 22, with 35 yes votes, 0 no votes and 0 abstentions. The Student Government Association (SGA) presented a revised resolution, GA 112, to the Faculty Senate that rescinded the SGA’s previous stances on the plus/minus system.

In GA 111, the previous resolution discussing the plus/minus system, SGA disapproved of the grading system, which they have stated is still their official stance. SGA stated in the GA 112 resolution that the plus/minus system causes “numerous inequities.”

The Faculty Senate and SGA will be working together through a joint-committee to discuss alternatives to the plus/minus grading scale. Currently, UTSA faculty have the option to use the plus/minus grading system to grade coursework, instituted in Fall 2011, after being approved by the Faculty Senate on May 10, 2010.

During SGA’s presentation to the Faculty Senate, they stated inequalities could be present in several alternatives, necessitating an investigation into a consistent, inequality-free grading system.

“It went really well, better than I thought,” Alex Sexton, the primary author of GA 112 resolution and COLFA senator-elect, said. “They seemed very receptive and open to positive change.”

Grading system alternatives discussed in GA 112 include: not using “A+” grades; consistency in grading scales across course sections; capping cumulative GPAs at 4.0; and student transcripts indicating the average of the grades assigned for a course.

If alternatives presented to the faculty senate are not approved, SGA proposes the plus/minus grading system be “implemented, mandated and standardized university-wide.” SGA also discussed the possibility of abandoning the plus/minus system if no alternatives could be agreed upon.

UTSA mechanical engineering professor Xiaodu Wang believes a consistent plus/minus system would be beneficial to UTSA students.

“The grading system for each course should be consistent,” Wang said. “What we need is a consistent system for faculty to use since every system has its pros and cons.”

A student agreed with Wang. “It doesn’t matter what kind of grading system we have so long as it isn’t atrociously bad, and it’s consistent across all the classes,” Liam Quesada, freshman mechanical engineering major, said.

“I prefer the straight letter grades, and I personally do not like the plus/minus system at all,” Ashley Moreno, double majoring in psychology and sociology junior, said. “The letter grades are straight forward and hold all final grades within its range to the same standard.”

The resolution will be discussed further this Thursday, March 29, during SGA’s general meeting.