My high school and undergraduate college did not offer grades of "A+." At both schools, the grading scheme was this:

93–100: A

90–92: A–

87–89: B+

83–86: B

80–82: B–

(Grades below 80 were similar for the C-range and D-range.)

At my current graduate institution, A+ grades are given for grades of 97–100 and an "A+" appears on the transcript, but they still count as 4.0 toward the GPA, same as an A.

To add to the intrigue, the transcripts from both my undergrad and grad institutions have a line on the back stating a historical change in policy around A+ grades: My undergrad stopped giving A+ grades in 2006, and my grad stopped counting A+ grades as 4.3 toward the GPA in 1993.

Conclusion: The practice of granting A+ grades seems to be falling out of fashion.

But why? Did some particular event prompt this widespread change in policy, or is it due to a gradual shift in educational philosophy?

closed as off-topic by user9646, user3209815, Jon Custer, Buzz, Flyto Oct 27 '18 at 10:07

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  • 3
    You probably need more data before proposing a conclusion. In the U.S. alone (to say nothing of the rest of the world) there are roughly 40,000 high schools and colleges combined, so data from only 3 of them is not very convincing. Plus, these 3 are probably somewhat correlated in various ways (location, prestige, size, cost, etc.). – Dave L Renfro Oct 26 '18 at 6:20
  • Is your question solely about undergrad / highschool grades? If yes, it is off-topic here. If not, you should clarify this in your question. – OBu Oct 26 '18 at 7:08

The problem with A+ grades comes when your grades are evaluated by your next institution - next level of education. In some cases at least, an A+ from one institution will be treated exactly the same as an A from another that doesn't offer the "higher" grade. But this propagates down the scale. Your A- grades are now considered B+ grades.

Another way to look at it is that an institution that offers A+ grades may be considered to have a 4.5 top end, rather than 4.0 (I know this has happened historically), which scales every other grade accordingly.

Aside from the scaling problem is just the hassle of having to reinterpret every student's grades.

  • 1
    I think A+ grades were awarded at one university, at least, from those I've attended (there have been several), and my recollection is that for this university A+ grades were treated as 4.0 along with A grades, and the purpose for A+ was to provide a way for an instructor to show that a student was especially excellent, such as in the top 2% to 5% or so, rather than just the top 10% to 20% (percentages for when I was in college). Of course, this doesn't help with the fact that many other colleges did other things that caused the kinds of problems you've mentioned. – Dave L Renfro Oct 26 '18 at 15:11

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