Library photo courtesy of the Fitchburg State Library Facebook page.
As Fitchburg State is in their accreditation process, it is a time of self-reflection for the university. While in this process, both faculty and students take a close look at what it means to be a Falcon. While this period of time is key for Fitchburg State, students are able to voice their own criticisms about the university at any time. One of the criticisms that has been noted by members of the student body is Fitchburg State’s GPA scale.
For context, Fitchburg State last updated its GPA scale in 2008. The previous GPA scale did not have numerical grades connected to them (ex. 96% = 4.0), just making it a 4.0. This made the system “extremely arbitrary”, according to Student Trustee Joe Cautela.
Trustee Cautela has been closely examining the GPA scale during his time at Fitchburg State. According to him it “hurts higher-achieving students while lower-achieving students benefit.” This is because FSU’s 4.0 is 95-100%, while a national GPA scale like the College Board’s 4.0 GPA is between 93-100%, making it more difficult for students to earn a 4.0 at Fitchburg State. The reason behind this is because Fitchburg State’s GPA scale starts a numerical range of 60-63% being a 1.0 GPA, while many other GPA scales 1.0 starts much higher than 60%. Using the College Board as an example, their 1.0 typically starts at 65-66%. This makes it so that lower-achieving students can score higher GPA’s.
The goal of this re-evaluation process would be to “create a more equitable scale that benefits lower achieving students without hindering the success of higher achieving students” said Trustee Cautela. Currently, the Student Government Association has created an Ad Hoc committee to investigate the FSU GPA in greater depth. Best case scenario, the process for re-evaluation would be completed by the end of the academic year.