The Dec. 9 email announcing the delay was the first time freshman Dani Callahan had ever heard about contextualized grading.
“I had to look it up myself to find what it meant a couple weeks ago when the email was sent out, and I still don’t know what it means,” she said.
Contextualized grading allows students to compare their final grade in a class with that of their peers. It would change the format of undergraduate transcripts by listing a student’s letter grade alongside the median grade in the section and percentile range from the median.
The contextualized transcript would also include an idea developed at UNC: the schedule point average, which averages the median grade point average for the set of classes the student took that semester.
“It adds key pieces of information that gives transcript readers a much better sense of what those grades mean,” said Andrew Perrin, a sociology professor supporting the change.
A 2009 report identified three problems with UNC grading — grade inflation, grade compression and systematic grading inequality.
In 1995, 27.8 percent of undergraduates received the Dean’s List distinction in the fall, while 40.1 percent were placed on the Dean’s List in fall 2008, according to the report
Proponents of contextualized grading say it will help identify grade dynamics and create more transparency.