Thanks everyone for your comments.
To return to Kenneth's initial comment about whether the goal is to incorporate the LSU gradebook changes into core, or to create a series of patches that allow it to be more easily used with core, as the LSU gradebook includes a number of features, it seems easiest to track these as separate issues.
Thanks to everyone who has voted for this issue. Please consider voting for individual features of the LSU gradebook which are listed as related issues -
MDL-18228 and MDL-18229 so far.
If there are additional features of the LSU gradebook which you'd like included in core, please create separate issues for them.
I'm removing 1.9.5 as the fix version for this issue, since to make changes in core so that LSU gradebook does not need hacks in core (the title of this issue) would require database changes which can only happen in Moodle 2.0.