A few days ago I wrote about shifting from a 4 point, GPA-based, grading scale to a 6 point scale, still based on the GPA scale but with some weight added to the bottom end, to make non-submissions weigh more heavily. In the graph below I compare the grade distribution on the 4 point scale vs. what it would have been on a 6 point scale. The blue columns are the grades on the 4 point scale I used this term, and the red is what the grades would be on a 6 point scale.
As you may notice, there’s a general shifting of the distribution to the left, toward lower grades. The number of Fs may seem excessive, but each of those students had multiple missed assignments/quizzes/tests. Out of 9 of those things, the student who would have Fs under the 6 point scale missed, respectively 6, 5, 5, 5 (with a plagiarized paper), 4, 3, 3, and 2 (with a plagiarized paper). The plagiarized papers received scores of 0, so they are effectively also missed assignments, so each of the students who would have received an F missed at least 1/3 of the assignments/quizzes/tests. And under the 4 point scale none of those students actually receive an F, which surely is wrong.
So with the problems of the 4 point scale, why do colleges use it? Well, the graduation requirements at my college specify that you must have a cumulative GPA, and a GPA in the major of, of 2.0. So effectively the college has bumped the standard up by 2 points also, because the 0 grade points of an F don’t weigh heavily enough in the calculation.
So all in all, I feel as though I’m on the right track. We’ll see.