Many students have different perspectives about grades. Some students strive for that little extra, while others are happy with the grade they have. Whatever the case, beginning this semester, WCU approved the new ‘A+’ system for students who like to be the best they can be. The inclusion of an available ‘A+’, or “gold star” as it may be called, has caused members on the Editorial Board here at the Western Carolinian to raise our eyes.
Despite that few schools have adopted this new grading system, and we are overall satisfied that WCU is one of a few on the short list of schools adapting the ‘A+’, the concept may have not have been thought out before the transition was made.
An ‘A+’ is the highest mark one can make, and with that, comes both honor and prestige for the student who achieves the grade and their families. Transcripts have been adjusted and have an explanation on the back to indicate the change and what an ‘A+’ means for transcripts that are mailed, however, the Registrar’s Office neglected to put when students were first available to obtain an ‘A+’ in their classes-leaving those receiving a student’s transcript to easily, and rightfully so, assume that the student did not receive an ‘A+’ in their previous semesters prior to spring 2009.
Also, since the ‘A+’ does not increase a student’s GPA, the question raised by us is, why even have the ‘A+’ if it does nothing for you? Can a simple mark put you above everyone else when the time comes for a student to go head-to-head with a student from another university with job applications? Will this plus set you apart from your peers and strengthen your academic merit?
Furthermore, WCU is not requiring that all professors participate in this new grading system, considering it as completely honorary. Thus, for students who like to shoot for the stars and be the best they can be, may not be able to get an ‘A+’-even if they deserve it.
Maybe this ‘A+’ system will push some students to do better, or maybe do their best, either way, the Western Carolinian gives the new WCU ‘A+’ system an ‘F’.