Despite the wishes of many chemistry, calculus and physics student, LSA won’t be adding median course grades to transcripts anytime soon.

Jessica Boullion
Illustration by Jaclyn Hornstein and Mike Hulsebus

As a way to combat grade inflation and to contextualize low scores in difficult classes, the LSA faculty passed a resolution in December 2004 requiring that transcripts display a class’s median grade next to the student’s grade.

However, the proposal will not be implemented in the near future. After the LSA faculty passed the resolution, the Office of the Registrar recommended to the Office of the Provost that the proposal would violate a University policy that requires transcripts from each of the 19 schools and colleges to have the same format. Currently, none list median grades.

The ultimate decision on whether to implement the change does not lie with the LSA faculty, but rather with the provost’s office.

According to several administrators, there are no current plans to enact the proposal.

Robinson said it would set a precedent if the Office of the Provost accepted any one school or college’s request to change the official transcript.

Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs, said it is vital to preserve the uniformity of transcripts.

“If we have a situation where (the School of) Music had a certain kind of transcript, and LSA another … it would be a nightmare in managing that on campus,” Monts said.

According to Monts, there are no universities in the United States that have inconsistent transcripts among their schools and colleges.

Some universities, such as Indiana University, have developed content transcripts – separate documents that include additional experience about a student’s experience on campus, including median grades.

University Registrar Paul Robinson said the University could use content transcripts without altering the way it formats official transcripts.

Although LSA faculty members voted to add median grades on transcripts, Monts said not all faculty in other schools share this preference.

“We’re still looking at this – we’re not saying that we’re not going to do it,” he said. “(We’re) trying to do it in a way that’s not disruptive to what we already have.”

Paige Butler, vice president of LSA Student Government, said students have mixed opinions about putting median grades on transcripts.

Before the LSA faculty voted on the resolution, a similar proposal passed LSA-SG by a narrow margin. Butler said the close vote reflected conflicted student opinion of median grades on transcripts.

LSA sophomore Andrew McIntyre said he would welcome the change.

He is currently taking Psychology 111 and said the class’s curved grading system makes it very difficult to earn an A.

“You can have a person who has a 90 in the class, which is a fairly good score, but that might not end up being an A,” McIntyre said. “Even though the person did relatively well in the class, they don’t earn a good grade because the class is easy and everybody did well in it.”

Prof. Brian Malley, who teaches the course, said his grading system is motivated by a desire that an A be meaningful.

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