Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Maggie Kane, Editor-in-Chief
An A- grade will no longer be considered a 4.0 at Kalamazoo College, starting in the fall of 2013. The college will adopt a new grading scheme that mirrors the one used by many other institutions, particularly graduate schools, across the country.
The current grade scheme weights all variations of a letter grade the same. A B+, a B and a B-, for example, are all calculated as a 3.0. The new system weights each grade separately.
Student representatives on the Educational Policies Committee requested that the college review its grading scheme last fall, according to a summary of the process from the Office of the Registrar. The task was then bumped to the Academic Standards Committee (ASC). Assistant Registrar Nicole Kragt said the main reason for the switch was that graduate schools tended to recalculate students’ GPAs when deciding whether or not to admit them.
“It’s [the new system] more true and more, this is what your GPA is,” Kragt said. “Because we weight them in the new system, the grad schools don’t recalculate it.”
The change will not affect graduating seniors, whose GPA will be calculated on the current system. Current students will have a hybrid transcript — their current grades and GPAs will not be recalculated, but grades received after this quarter will be weighted on the new system.
Kragt said the Office of the Registrar received mixed feedback about whether or not graduate schools will recalculate early grades for students with hybrid transcripts.
“I would honestly say it probably depends on how selective a school is,” she said, adding that more selective schools are likely to recalculate than less selective schools, where the overall GPA average from the two systems would be adequate.
Kragt said the ASC determined the number of points to assign to each grade, a plan they presented to the faculty. The faculty made a few changes, allowing students who receive a C- to re-take a course and solidifying the requirements for Latin honors—Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude.
“We were trying to look for best practices and standardization—what is the most common thing that’s out there? We want to be unique in many ways, but this isn’t necessarily one of them,” Kragt said.
3.5–3.699 Cum Laude
3.7–3.899 Magna Cum Laude
3.9–4.0 Summa Cum Laude