Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AU fails to communicate GPA changes

AU fails to communicate GPA changes

If your GPA was lower than expected last semester, there is a reason for it. AU just neglected to tell us.

As of last semester, the way our grade point average is calculated for grades with “pluses” or “minuses” has changed. They will now include two digits after the decimal, making the grading system more precise than before. An A- now correlates to a 3.67 instead of a 3.7, and so on.

This change is one of the many new regulations aimed to raise AU’s academic standards, according to the Faculty Senate. By being more specific about the worth of each letter grade, an A- will be harder to get, and this will create a more competitive environment for awards such as the Dean’s List.

Students want AU to be a more prestigious school. We want our diplomas to mean something more than spending four years in the college bubble. However, because AU did not inform students about the new GPA system, the change created confusion for many when grades came out a month ago.

Although the grades calculated prior to this change will not be affected, it did alter the GPA calculation for last semester. Students needed warning of the change to avoid being caught off guard in an interview for a job or internship when their transcript did not match their self-calculated GPA.

Juniors and seniors face the worse consequences. They have been operating under the old system for three or four years now. Suppose someone got a 3.7 for their entire career at AU and then suddenly it drops without warning, even if they received the same grades as previous semesters. This could affect interviews, applications, merit scholarships and other opportunities that may have GPA requirements. It was unfair for AU to do this without any communication.

In the long run, this system may more accurately reflect each student’s grade. But it is still unclear exactly how a .03 difference in GPA will make our school more prestigious.

This is not the first time AU faculty has failed to communicate to the students, and this time the lack of communication hurts students more than it strengthens AU’s prestige.? E