By Therena Ho
In October, a letter from the New York University Office of the Registrar was addressed to the student body, informing current students of a revision, effective this semester, to the numerical values, also known as quality points, of the letter grades that factor into calculations of grade point averages. The University Senate called for a change after a longstanding inconsistency between the quality points and grade point averages, because the former was defined using one decimal points but the latter was represented using three decimal points. Last March, the University Senate issued a resolution, quantifying letter grades into three decimal points rather than one.
To put it all into perspective, prior to Fall 2018, a letter-positive translated to a point value ending in ‘.3’ while a letter-negative translated to a point value ending in ‘.7’. As of Fall 2018, the NYU Grading System has introduced new point values, where letter-positive and letter-negative grades end in ‘.333’ and ‘.667’, respectively – a 0.033 point value difference. This change is not retroactive, and the new values will only apply to grades earned this fall and subsequent terms.
The Gould Standard spoke with Elizabeth Kienle-Granzo in NYU Enrollment Management at the University Registrar to inquire further.
How did the University Senate derive these specific values?
The values were proposed by the faculty at Tandon, who were concerned that the previous rounding (to one decimal point) unfairly penalized students. The rationale was also to resolve a longstanding inconsistency between quality points and GPA (calculated to the third decimal point). Therefore, standard rounding rules were used in order to revise quality points to the third decimal point.
Why did the University Senate decide to not make the change retroactive?
The Committees that reviewed and endorsed the proposal considered it inappropriate to “rewrite history” by adjusting previously earned GPAs that were calculated according to policy. All agreed this change was a revision to – not a reversal of – former policy. Thus, there was consensus that it was most appropriate for the revisions to be effective in the subsequent academic year, hence Fall 2018.
I recall reading somewhere that this system is in effect for all schools except the College of Dentistry, School of Law, and School of Medicine – is that still the case?
Quality points are now aligned across all schools, but some schools do not issue specific grades.
Would this affect the chances of other candidates garnering the same attention for they have earned the same letter grades, but GPA calculations are different?
I don’t expect this change to have negative impacts on a student’s professional pursuits. Recruiters and interviewers are accustomed to differences in grading practices across educational institutions. My understanding from presentations at professional conferences and with counterparts at other institutions is that interviewers/recruiters place more value on the candidate’s resume, professional experience, and interview content than a line-by-line review of the transcript or GPA calculation.