The resolution, passed during Friday's Faculty Council meeting, was recommended by the Task Force on Grading Standards and stipulates that each educational unit of the University review its grading standards in a formal meeting each year.
Faculty Council Chairwoman Sue Estroff said the legislation will not actively reform the grading policies of academic departments but will bring any grading discrepancies within each department to the attention of the faculty.
"This says we need to keep an eye on the grading patterns developing on campus," Estroff said. "If we see significant growth or decline, we'll have a discussion about it."
The resolution is a response to recent concerns among faculty members about an inflation in the grade point average of University students. Between 1987 and 1999, the average GPA of the student body rose from 2.7 to 3.0.
An amendment to the resolution, proposed by economics Professor Boone Turchi and approved by the council, requires each department to report the results from each meeting on grading standards to the Faculty Council.
Estroff said she hopes the amendment will help to ensure consistency in grading standards across academic departments. But she acknowledged that different disciplines sometimes require variations in grading. "We do not want to see different colors in grading standards," she said. "But different shades are OK."
But Turchi said a vast divide already exists in the GPA of students taking classes in different departments. He cited as evidence statistics from a 2000 report on grade inflation by UNC's Educational Policy Committee.
"There is a clear differential between departments, and some of them are all over the map," he said. "The average GPA in the math department was 2.3 and it's as high as 3.6 for other departments."
Warren Wogen, chairman of the Department of Mathematics, acknowledged this discrepancy in GPAs, attributing the divide to grading standards he said have been fairly uniform over the years. "I think (the resolution) will have minimal effect on the math department," he said.