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News in Brief Survey finds grading system change unnecessary

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Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:00 am

A survey was sent out to students Dec. 6 regarding a possible change in the grading system, and the results are finally in.

Due to student preference, the grading system will not change. Academic Standards and Policies Committee chair Ryan Fries said out of about 14,500 students, 2,090 responded.

“Our survey came out at the end of the semester, and it worked well because that was right around final grades time and it was a topic on everyone’s minds,” Fries said. “By January, we had almost 2,100 responses from students. As far as surveys go, I think that’s pretty good.”

Fries said the results of the survey showed that students were satisfied with a whole letter grade system.

“We asked questions to get some more details as to why they’re satisfied with it,” Fries said. “Overall students feel that it accurately enough represents their grades and their work and knowledge in classes.”

Although the majority of students who responded to the survey favored keeping the current grading system, Fries said the majority of faculty wanted to change to a plus-minus system.

“We want to make sure that students know their opinion really matters with these issues,” Fries said. “It was 59 percent either agreed or somewhat agreed to changing the grading system, and we didn’t think that was more significant than [about] 80 percent of students [who] either agreed or somewhat agreed to keep the system.”

Fries said the results were not surprising to him based on the research the committee had done on other universities during the past academic year. They looked around the Midwest and throughout all of Illinois and found about 50 percent of universities have whole letter grades.

“Students across the country are rather pleased with whole letter grades compared to plus-minus,” Fries said. “Faculty, overall, want to have more definition.”

The report the committee put together of their results was finished in February. Because changing the grading system may affect the curriculum, it was then sent to be reviewed by the University Curriculum Council and finally approved by Faculty Senate.

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