The UC grading system is as messed up as Maria Shriver’s face. The current system, which was implemented decades ago, makes it incredibly easy for a student to have his GPA ruined by a C-, as anyone who has gotten this mark can attest. This is because a C- appears as a 1.7 on your transcript, which really takes a blow at your grade point average. A B- and an A- are credited as a 2.7 and 3.7 respectively, neither of which are fun to see, especially when you know you were points away from the B or A.
On the other hand, nothing is more refreshing than working hard to earn a B+ for a 3.3. Coming from high school, where any B counted as a 3.0, I was really glad to know that putting in the extra effort for the B+ would pay dividends in college. But this is where everything stops making sense. For if a B+ is equivalent to a 3.3 than logically an A+ should count as a 4.3. Instead, an A and an A+ are lumped together as a 4.0, which leaves me troubled and confused. If students are going to be penalized for getting an A- than why shouldn’t they be rewarded for excelling in a class? Obviously I’m biased because I’ve gotten an A+ twice in the past, but I still think anyone could recognize the absurdity of the system. Having the A and A+ lumped together as the same grade not only fails to make any logical sense, but also serves as a slap in the face to those students who totally owned their class. I understand that some classes, like Music Appreciation, are a complete joke, and that it’s relatively unfair to have students boost their GPAs this way. This is why I feel that a 4.3 should only be attainable when the class taken counts towards your major. One could obviously argue that this would slant the system in favor of music majors, but it’s not like anyone takes their grades seriously anyway.
In an attempt to figure out the logic behind the UC grading system, I contacted Beverley Marsh, the assistant to Allan Wyner, dean of Undergraduate Studies. She was eager to help and lovely to talk to, but didn’t really offer much of an answer to my problem. She told me that the four-point system of grading that all the UC schools have was set up years ago, and that at the time, there was no such thing as an A+. So, in typical bureaucratic style, when the A+ was implemented, no change to the policy was made or even offered for that matter. She didn’t find this as upsetting as me, but why should she? She has no GPA to stress over. Marsh did tell me that if change was to be made, it would have to come in the form of a petition, mediated by the Associated Students – I couldn’t help but cringe – and sent to the Academic Senate, which has the final word on this type of matter. I think it’s fair to say that a petition to change the grading system would have about as much of a chance in succeeding as Hillary and Obama have at winning the presidency in 2008. Alas, an A+ is still fun to see, especially juxtaposed next to a string of B-‘s on GOLD. And, as Marsh points out, getting an A+ just screams success. It’s like a “super, super A! Isn’t that enough?” she asks. It’s never enough, Marsh. It’s never enough.