Why You Should Feel Better About Your B+ (and Worse About Your A-)


Alex Domb, News Editor

Earlier this week, University Registrar Elizabeth Kienle-Granzo sent an email to the entire university announcing a subtle change in how grade point averages will be calculated on student transcripts.

At NYU, grades are represented in GPA calculations on a four-point scale; an A is represented as 4.0, a B is represented as 3.0, a C is represented as 2.0 and a D is represented as 1.0.

In the past, plus grades were calculated by adding 0.3 to its respective whole number while minus grades were calculated by subtracting 0.3 from the whole number. For instance, while a B was represented as 3.0, a B+ was represented as a 3.3 and a B- was represented as a 2.7. While this practice was in effect, the numerical difference between, for instance, an A- and a B+ was more significant than the numerical difference between a B+ and a B, or between a B and a B-.

Starting at the end of the fall 2018 semester, plus grades will be calculated by adding 0.333 to a whole number while “minus” grades will be calculated by subtracting 0.333 from the whole number, effectively spacing out grade values equally from one another. Essentially, plus grades will be worth slightly more and minus grades will be worth slightly less when than before when calculating GPA.

NYU made the change due to concerns originally raised by Tandon School of Engineering faculty members, who felt the practice unfairly penalized students receiving plus grades, according to NYU spokesperson Shonna Keogan. These minus and plus grades on transcripts were understood to have been rounded to the nearest one-tenth of a decimal point, while official NYU transcripts did not round to the nearest one-tenth, instead rounding to the nearest one-thousandth of a decimal point.

These faculty members submitted a proposal to make the adjustment, which was subsequently endorsed by the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee and the University Senate Academic Affairs Committee, according to Keogan. The proposal was approved by the full University Senate in March 2018.

 The change will take effect when calculating GPAs for the fall 2018 semester and beyond but will not be applied to transcripts retroactively.

Email Alex Domb at [email protected]