Is an A Really An A? Does a Plus or Minus Count?

haveuheard plus minus fau

A Plus or Minus Does Count

College grading systems can be especially confusing when coming straight from high school. The biggest difference between the public school and college grading scale is the plus/minus addition to the traditional As and Bs.

At FAU, the plus/minus grading scale adds weight to the letter grade. For example, the difference between an A- and an A is 0.33 points (see FAU grading scale). In order to get an A and not an A-, you need to achieve a grade of 93 or higher. An A- is within the range of a 90 to a 92.5. Most teachers will be nice enough to round your 92.5 or above to a 93, which would give you the complete A. Many students complain about this system and the way it works considering an A- is a 3.7 to your GPA, while an A is a full 4.0.

Many students, including myself, feel that the A- is not an achievement, but rather a punishment, as we came so close to getting an A and now our GPA’s are not going to go up as much as they could have with a 4.0. One of the main problems is that a 3.7 added to your GPA versus a 4.0 creates a big difference in the averages. Many feel that since we were above a 90, that in itself deserves a solid A. I believe the A- is discouraging to students because there is not a big incentive, versus the way a 4.0 incentivize students to keep working hard.

Though the popular saying is “C’s get degrees”, the type of C received will determine if a student receives the degree of their choice. To see your specific degree program requirements, see the FAU website. When it comes to graduating with honors, getting an A or A- may mean the difference between graduating Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. FAU recognizes superior academic performance by granting baccalaureate degrees of distinction to undergraduates who have earned at least 45 credits at FAU as follows:

  • Cum Laude for an FAU average of 3.50
  • Magna Cum Laude for an FAU average of 3.70
  • Summa Cum Laude for an FAU average of 3.90

The +/- system can have a lot of negative impacts on your GPA, especially if you are looking to go to grad school. To calculate your GPA, check out FAU’s GPA Calculator.

Sabrina Kaplan, FAU Intern, HaveUHeard

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2020-10-21T11:17:12-04:000 Comments

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