Weighing grade scales

I study nonstop, pouring as much information as I can into every last crevasse of my mind. My day is consumed by hours of note-reading and makeshift quizzes.

Note cards litter the floor of my room, casualties of a veritable war on the coming exam.

Weeks later, I find out what I made: 91.

“Eh, not bad,” I think to myself, flipping through the syllabus. “I could have done better, but that’s not-”

The syllabus lists a grade of 91 as being within the range of a B instead of an A.

This is the most disquieting part of my experience as a student. Not so much getting a less-than-desired grade, but the disparity between different classes’ grading scales.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s make things a matter of A’s and B’s.

Since my freshman year, seemingly centuries ago, a large majority of my courses have followed a straightforward scale. Basically, the difference between one’s grade and the next is about 10 points: 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B. Sure, the actual volume of points you get from completing your assignments can vary, but the scale is the same.

Running counter to that, a handful of my courses have used a scale that gives. As a smaller margin, usually 92-100, with the B range being larger, usually 82-91, and following as such down the scale. The range between these two grades is one point.

This may seem completely trivial to some, like, “So what, you got a B instead of an A,” and it wouldn’t be the problem. I feel that it is if our GPAs factored in the actual percentage of points you received in a class.

As you well know, however, they do not. On your transcript, letter equals number. And if you’re on the bottom of the scale and are off by that one point where you would have been fine in another class, you get nothing at semester’s end.

Granted a D’s nothing to fistpump about.

I realize these systems are used for simplicity’s sake, and I don’t have an easy solution that would make every point a student gets in a class matter in the factoring of their GPA.

However, I can at least take solace with the fact that grading scales are and will definitely continue to be a constant source of stress for students, because of their lack of standardization.