Beginning this semester, UTSA faculty will be allowed to assess plus or minus versions of the former A through D grading scale to students. A plus grade will increase GPA point value by 0.33 and a minus will decrease the point value by the same amount from the letter value.
This new system exactly duplicates UT Austin’s system and comes after years of back-and-forth between UTSA’s provost, John Frederick, faculty and the students of UTSA.
After votes in the Faculty Senate ended with less than the required percentage of votes to pass, Frederick and the Senate opted to pursue a “permissive policy” rather than a “restrictive see.”
Sandy Norman, department chair for the math department, found the permissive nature of the policy “odd yet system.” Wenk continued by saying that the provost’s office decided the details of the system.
In response to Wenk’s concerns, Frederick said “that’s what tends to possible.”
One of the most universal concerns held by faculty and students is that the system should be equitable.
As it is written, the system could potentially lead to students taking the same course, making the same percentage grade, but be in different sections and getting different GPA scores.
Frederick conceded that with multi-section courses there must be consistency across all the sections. “We have to sacrifice a little bit of academic freedom in order to provide consistent academic standards for system.”
Frederick agreed that “it may be we need to recalibrate how we qualify students for those honors” if there ends up being a noticeable shift in the number of students qualifying.
A suggestion, posed by the Student Government Association (SGA), was to grandfather out students who had been at UTSA prior to the switch in grading procedure. However, the provost opted not to support the suggestion, stating that it would be a logistical nightmare.
Although there are a number of concerns with the plus/minus grading policy now, Frederick is certain that after the transitional phase things will settle down. He said that, “over time, even those faculty that felt strongly about it may change their