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Retrospective Review of the Potential Effect of a ‘Plus/Minus’ Grading System on Students’ GPA and on Class Ranking.

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Abstract:

Objectives: Western University College of Pharmacy recently changed from a High-Pass, Pass, No-Pass system based on percent score (80-89% = Pass, ≥90% = High Pass) to an A/B/C/U (ABC GPA) grading system. Some advocated a ‘plus/minus’ A/B/C/U system (+/- GPA). The Academic Performance and Standards Committee (AP&S) initiated this study to determine whether differences between the systems would impact grades and class ranking.
Methods: The summary grades (percent scores) for the classes of 2004, 2005, and 2006 were converted to the ABC GPA and +/- GPA systems. The differences between the three systems were analyzed using the paired t-test.
Results: For the 275 students included, the mean percent score was 88.98 (± 2.79). The mean ABC GPA was 3.452 (± 0.28) and the mean +/- GPA was 3.436 (± 0.25); this difference was statistically significant (p<0.0001). The +/- GPA system resulted in a reduction in GPA in 60.6% of the students compared to the ABC GPA (mean reduction = 0.0473 ± 0.0334, range = 0.0014 – 0.14). Increases in GPA were seen in 33.9% of students (mean increase = 0.0385 ± 0.0279, range = 0.0029 – 0.15). Class ranking decreased for one student.
Implications: Even though the +/- GPA system seems to offer greater discrimination when comparing grades, the AP&S concluded that it offered no advantage over the ABC GPA system, and recommended retaining the ABC GPA system. A prospective study would be needed to determine if a +/- system offers more motivation for students, which could result in improved grades.
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Association:
Name: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
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http://www.aacp.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p117987_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Scott, James., Murray, Wallace., Jun, Jeany., O'Barr, Stephen., Hacker, David. and Iannuzzo, Mark. "Retrospective Review of the Potential Effect of a ‘Plus/Minus’ Grading System on Students’ GPA and on Class Ranking." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, California, USA, Jul 05, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p117987_index.html>

APA Citation:

Scott, J. D., Murray, W. J., Jun, J. , O'Barr, S. A., Hacker, D. and Iannuzzo, M. , 2006-07-05 "Retrospective Review of the Potential Effect of a ‘Plus/Minus’ Grading System on Students’ GPA and on Class Ranking." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, California, USA <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p117987_index.html

Publication Type: Abstract
Abstract: Objectives: Western University College of Pharmacy recently changed from a High-Pass, Pass, No-Pass system based on percent score (80-89% = Pass, ≥90% = High Pass) to an A/B/C/U (ABC GPA) grading system. Some advocated a ‘plus/minus’ A/B/C/U system (+/- GPA). The Academic Performance and Standards Committee (AP&S) initiated this study to determine whether differences between the systems would impact grades and class ranking.
Methods: The summary grades (percent scores) for the classes of 2004, 2005, and 2006 were converted to the ABC GPA and +/- GPA systems. The differences between the three systems were analyzed using the paired t-test.
Results: For the 275 students included, the mean percent score was 88.98 (± 2.79). The mean ABC GPA was 3.452 (± 0.28) and the mean +/- GPA was 3.436 (± 0.25); this difference was statistically significant (p<0.0001). The +/- GPA system resulted in a reduction in GPA in 60.6% of the students compared to the ABC GPA (mean reduction = 0.0473 ± 0.0334, range = 0.0014 – 0.14). Increases in GPA were seen in 33.9% of students (mean increase = 0.0385 ± 0.0279, range = 0.0029 – 0.15). Class ranking decreased for one student.
Implications: Even though the +/- GPA system seems to offer greater discrimination when comparing grades, the AP&S concluded that it offered no advantage over the ABC GPA system, and recommended retaining the ABC GPA system. A prospective study would be needed to determine if a +/- system offers more motivation for students, which could result in improved grades.

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