Yale Modifies Grading; Adopts Plus-Minus System

NEW HAVEN, CONN.--The Yale College faculty last week voted to change its grading system by adding pluses and minuses to the current letter-graded system.

About 60 per cent of the faculty voted in favor of adding three grades--A minus, B plus, and B minus--to the grading system, in an attempt to check grade inflation.

Jerome J. Pollitt, professor of classics, and author of the grade amendment, said this week he "proposed the measure two years ago because 80 per cent of the grades at Yale are A's and B's."

"We are trying to restore the dignity of the 'A'," Pollitt said, adding that the Yale transcript has become virtually meaningless.

Robert E. Apfel, chairman of the student-faculty Teaching and Learning Committee, said this week that a poll of faculty members showed that 80 per cent of the faculty was in favor of "a greater degree of structure in the grading system." Some faculty members, and A. Bartlett Giamatti, president of Yale, favor a stricter 100-point grading scale. Apfel added.


"Most of us feel this is a gentle compromise allowing the faculty to give grades more equitably while taking grade inflation as a given," Apfel said.

But a recent poll conducted by the Yale College Council (YCC) indicated that 68 per cent of the Yale student body favors the current system, Daniel Meyers, chairman of the YCC, said this week.

"There's quite a bit of antagonism and disappointment among students over this issue," Meyers said, adding. "I think it's likely to cause grade grubbing and increased grade consciousness."

Pollitt said he does not think academic pressure will increase much, and that student's concern about it "reflects timidity on their part."

"Even if the pressure does increase, the students must learn that it is simply a reflection of the real world," Pollitt added.

Alex Clapp, a sophomore, said "This will turn Yale students into weenies and result in less real learning."