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UNF Spinnaker

Subjective grading policy might damage futures

UNF’s grading scale for students is very subjective. It’s a concern exemplified largely by the process all college graduates go through upon applying for jobs or graduate school – judgment and acceptance based on GPA.

Although GPA isn’t the sole indicator for success in a job or graduate school, it is something very representative of a student’s performance, and there are a lot of pressures ranging from scholarship requirements to parental advice to keep it high.

With no universal standard for a grading scale, how can students’ GPAs be a valid gauge of anything?

When teachers determine their own individual grading scale, it is limited to that specific class. Students who take the same class with a different teacher and score the same number value could get an entirely different grade simply because of the grading scale.

The minimum the university could do is make the grading scale the same within departments. That way, students with similar performance won’t look extraordinarily good or bad next to their peers when looking into options after college.

An even better option would be universalizing the grading scale for all of UNF. Graduate schools and employers would be aware that certain schools have certain standards, making students’ GPAs a much more meaningful measurement of success.

But as it is now, with no real standard for grading, who’s to say what an A or a B really means? Plus and minus grades even influence GPA, so a student with As and Bs and a student with A-minuses and B-minuses, over time, could present an entirely different academic performance.

Some administrators disagree with this policy. It’s difficult to force professors to grade a certain way, and they prefer using their own discretion, said Dr. David Jaffee, assistant vice president for Undergraduate Studies.

But with some students being graded significantly on attendance and recognition in class, this adds even more subjectivity to an already unreliable system.

With a system this shaky and loosely based, all students should be aware their future truly lies in the hands of each individual professor at UNF, and that could be an uncomfortable thought.

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