Beginning with the Fall, 2006 term, instructors will have the option of assigning grades on a plus (+) and minus (-) scale for undergraduate and graduate courses (see http://enrollment.gsu.edu/) for details from Enrollment Services). Departments were encouraged to develop a policy regarding this option.
The Psychology Executive Committee has considered the potential advantages, disadvantages, and ambiguities of plus/minus grading and recommends the following policy:
1. Instructors of psychology courses may use plus/minus grading so long
A) the course syllabus clearly specifies how all grades (including plus/minus grades) will be awarded,
B) the instructor assigns grades in strict accordance to the guidelines of the syllabus, and
C) the syllabus includes the reminder that “Courses or criteria that require a grade B or C will continue requiring the same. Grades of B- or C- will not fulfill the requirement.”
2. Instructors who elect not to use plus/minus grading for a course must indicate this clearly on the syllabus.
3. Recognizing issues of academic freedom, no department-wide system for awarding points and grades is prescribed. However, course coordinators, in consultation with instructors, are responsible for ensuring that a uniform procedure for assigning plus/minus grades is used for all sections of each multi-section course each semester.
In this period of transition, clarity and consistency will be keys to implementing plus/minus grading in a way that minimizes student complaints and grade appeals. Each instructor should read the information at http://enrollment.gsu.edu/ and should understand how assignment of plus/minus grades affects students’ qualification of prerequisites, eligibility for Honors or other GPA-based activities, and financial aid.
The resources of the university are provided for the intellectual growth and development of its students; it is expected that students should attend class regularly. The Department of Veterans Affairs requires that institutions of higher learning immediately report to them when a student discontinues attendance. Georgia State University institutional policy requires that professors report the absence of a veteran student as soon as it is known that the student will not be returning to class. Generally, this should be reported after one week of absences and no later than two weeks of nonattendance by a student. All matters related to student absences, including the making up of work missed, are to be arranged between the student and the professor. All professors will, at the beginning of each semester, make a clear statement in the course syllabus to each of their classes, describing their policies for handling absences. Professors will also be responsible for counseling with their students regarding the academic consequences of absences from their classes or laboratories. Students are obligated to adhere to the requirements of each course and of each professor. Students must be present for announced quizzes, laboratory periods, or final examinations unless the reasons for the absence are acceptable to the professors concerned. A student who is absent because of participation in activities approved by the Provost’s Office will be permitted to make up work missed during his or her absence, provided that the student misses no more than 15 percent of class hours per course per semester. If requested, the appropriate university official will provide a memo stating the official nature of the university business in advance of the activity.
The grade appeals procedure is appropriate only when there is alleged capricious, arbitrary, or discriminatory behavior on the part of the instructor. The professional judgment of the instructor cannot be challenged or appealed by these procedures
1. Arbitrary refers to a grading decision for which there is no sound academic reason or a decision based solely on preference or whim.
2. Capricious refers to a grading decision not resulting from a reasonable and announced grading policy and procedure.
3. Discriminatory refers to a grading decision reflecting differential treatment based on race, religion, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.
Students who believe their final grade is unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory, can appeal their grade within 10 business days of the start of the following academic term. The grievance policy and procedure can be found at http://enrollment.gsu.edu. Students are encouraged to discuss their grades with their instructors prior to appealing a grade.
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Department of Psychology
Georgia State University
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Atlanta, GA 30303-3083