Student Records botches transcripts
A simple error in the explanation of the new plus/minus grading system could affect hundreds of transcripts despite assurances from the Office of Student Records that the mix-up has been easily resolved with subsequent letters of explanation.
In mailing transcripts requested by students for summer programs, future jobs, and research grants, the Office of Student Records attached outdated transcript guides which fail to explain Bowdoin's adoption of the plus/minus grading system. While new paper explaining the new grading scale was printed in preparation of the switch, the Office of Student Records mailed nearly 500 transcripts without the explanatory note before realizing their error.
According to Registrar of Student Records Christine Cote, "We were going to use up the older paper by November 2002. Grades with pluses and minuses were not supposed to be on there, but no one remembered to change the paper when the fall grades started coming in."
Cote noted that the actual difference between the old and new paper is a one-line addition that simply states that pluses and minuses have been implemented into the grading system. She also said that it would not be out of the ordinary for the College to not explain the new system at all.
"I don't want to underestimate the importance of the mix-up, but the grading system Bowdoin switched to is not that different from many other institutions. It is not odd that it would not be explained." Cote said.
The error in the transcripts, printed over a ten-day period earlier this month, was not recognized until junior Jeff Cook brought the mistake to the attention of the Office of Student Records.
In preparing applications for the selection committee for a national fellowship with the American Society for Microbiology, Cook requested a personal copy of his transcript for his personal review. When he saw no explanation for the new grading system, he went to Student Records for answers.
"Student Records said, 'We are using up the old paper,'" Cook said. He requested and later received a transcript printed on the new paper.
When Cook brought this to the attention of Student Records, he was initially told that the office required "special permission" to include the explanation of the new grading system with his transcript. Cook told one of his professors about his predicament, and she, in turn, spoke with the Office of Student Records. Soon thereafter, measures were taken by the Office to rectify the situation.
Cook expressed concern for students who have not been made aware of this mistake.
Cote encourages any students with concerns over transcripts requested during January to speak with her. "If there is any problem, we can reissue a transcript and communicate directly with the registrar of any other institution involved."
Student Records reports that all transcripts are now being printed on the new paper.