As I prepare to take the GRE's this summer and apply for Graduate school this Fall I'm feeling pretty stressed. The main reason for my stress: my school's grading scale. Our grading scale is not the more universal 10 point grading scale (to which all 3 major universities in the area, Duke, Chapel Hill, and NC State adhere), but a grading scale which tries to incorporate the curve automatically. Our grading scale is as follows: A - 95-100, B - 87-94, C - 77-86, D - 70-76, F 70 and below.
I feel that this grading scale is inherently flawed. For one, instead of allowing a curve to occur naturally (if a professor so chooses to utilize a curve), it builds one in. Secondly, and my main concern, is that it puts Southeastern students at a disadvantage when compared to our peers from other institutions. If someone from UNC and I both make 93's, then we apply to graduate school, my peer from UNC has a 4.0 while I have a 3.0. The suggestion was made to include a copy of our grading scale when we send out our transcripts, but this will do little to help. Schools keep records of their incoming graduate students' GPAs. This is often posted in order to help people gauge whether they should consider a particular school (i.e. if the avg. GPA for a school is 3.7 and you have a 2.5, perhaps you should apply elsewhere just in case). So, lets say I apply to Duke, but because of the grading scale, my GPA is a bit lower than their average...I doubt Duke is going to want to lower their average for that year (and overall) just to let me in because Southeastern's grading scale is more strict.
I don't see any advantage in keeping the grading scale that we currently have. I don't think the more stringent a grading scale, the more academically rigorous your school is. Southeastern is a good school because we have amazing faculty and good degree programs.
Because of this, I'm going to be sending a letter to the Dean with some research I've done on the benefits of a 10-point grading scale. However, I wanted to ask (since many people in the Bibliobloggosphere are educators or are currently pursuing Graduate degrees) your opinion. What do you think?