Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential

In the modern educational fields – whether in higher educational institutions like colleges and universities or secondary education, there is often a lack of clarity and acceptance regarding the academic achievements assessment systems. The old-fashioned A-B-C-D-F style is usually replaced with numerical grades when the students enter colleges and universities. However, those grades do not translate correctly into the alphabetical marks used in high schools (Johnston 1). This situation creates misbalance and misunderstanding that could be overcome through implementing the educational reform that will introduce the plus and minus aberrations to correspond to determined numerical points. Moreover, the reform should aim to reach an agreement among the teachers and professors, who usually have diverse perspectives on what those pluses and minuses mean and in which cases the students deserve or do not deserve being stimulated with these additional assessment tools.

One of the main benefits of the plus and minus grade system is the opportunity for eleven types of grades instead of five. Most experts point out the inconsistency in correspondence of these eleven types with digital ratings compared to the five-type grades. However, the contradictions can be easily eliminated if such a system is introduced in all states. The advantage of a system would be the stimulation of students to achieve better results and greater diversification in the assessment of their efforts. In addition, a system of eleven types would make it possible to bring school grades closer to the numerical system used in universities. Students could prepare themselves for the numerical grading system and take more responsibility for their learning outcomes.

The second indisputable advantage of the system is associated with its use by teachers. Of course, teachers react differently to the pluses and minuses style of assessment, but if such a system was implemented, schools could likely reach an agreement on its use. In this case, positive effects would be approved as a requirement, and negative factors would be eliminated. For example, pluses help evaluate the additional effort that the student has put into completing an assignment or project. This is an honest approach since it allows distinguishing those who received an A from those who received an A +, B from B+, and so on. It is not uncommon for a teacher to find themselves in a situation of ambiguity and balance bad grades with good grades to express a true opinion about the student’s progress. Therefore, the introduction of a pluses and minuses system will give teachers more freedom in assessing academic success.

The third argument in favor of a system relates to the requirements of universities for GPA. As a rule, higher education institutions set specific requirements for the GPA, which usually must be at least 3 or 3.6. The system of pluses and minuses allows students to closely monitor their progress and show the learning activity when and where it is necessary. The same can be said for teachers who can better track student progress without having to “average” their results according to the A-B-C system. In other words, the introduction of a system of pluses and minuses will better prepare students for admission to universities and will allow them to treat their studies more responsibly and more accurately assess their academic success.

Another important advantage of the system is the ability to negatively stimulate students without the need to resort to extreme measures. For example, in the A-B-C system, teachers are forced to put C, D, or F to draw the attention of students and their parents to problems in mastering a certain school subject. On the contrary, in the system of pluses and minuses, C- or B- will signal the student about the existing problem, and they will be able to fix it faster and more efficiently. Therefore, the introduction of a system of pluses and minuses will help improve academic performance.

Opponents of introducing a system of pluses and minuses give many arguments why this system is worse than the existing A-B-C system. One of the most persuasive views is that teachers do not have consistent behavior in terms of plus and minus grading. Some use the predominantly pluses as rewards without taking these signs too seriously. Other teachers, on the contrary, emphasize the disadvantages of using minuses. Special attention should be paid to the fact that teachers do not always recognize the grade A + and the A-, leading to an overall decrease in student grades. All of these arguments are reasonable and difficult to disagree with. However, the problem of inconsistency can be solved easily if the system is officially introduced in all states and detailed requirements for its implementation are developed. These requirements must be implemented rigorously, just like the implementation of the A-B-C system. As a result, the country will receive a more detailed grading system that will help educate more successful and responsible students.

Therefore, the plus and minus grading system should be implemented in all states as soon as possible. Using it will lead to the fact that students will better understand their problems and achievements in studies and will have a more responsible attitude towards grades. This system will also prepare them for admission to higher education institutions, which are universally focused on GPA. After the introduction of the system, teachers will become freer in assessment and will not need to average the students’ achievements. The introduction of general requirements for the implementation of the system will align and harmonize the use of the system by teachers and solve most of the problems that critics present as arguments against the introduction of the system.

Work Cited

Johnston, H. Plus/Minus Grading: Solution or Problem? 2012. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. (2023, August 29). Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential. Retrieved from


ChalkyPapers. (2023, August 29). Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential.

Work Cited

"Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential." ChalkyPapers, 29 Aug. 2023,


ChalkyPapers. (2023) 'Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential'. 29 August.


ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential." August 29, 2023.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential." August 29, 2023.


ChalkyPapers. "Pluses and Minus Grading System – The Underestimated Potential." August 29, 2023.