20 universities to trial US-style ‘grade points’ system

According to the Telegraph, twenty universities and colleges will mark students’ work using new “grade points” to replace the 200-year-old system of first, second and third class degrees…

…Undergraduates will have work graded from zero to 4.25 as they proceed through their degree. At the end of the course, they will be issued with a “grade point average” to two decimal places in a move designed to give a far more accurate picture of their abilities.

The trial is being backed by David Willetts, the universities minister, who said earlier this year that the system “appears to offer added transparency and focus for both students and employers”.

Critics say the present system of first, second and third class degrees is too blunt and fails to mark out bright and weak students properly.

Official figures show that 61,600 students – more than one in six – left university in 2012 with a first-class degree last summer. Numbers have tripled since the late Nineties. At the same time, two thirds of students now gain at least an upper-second class degree, which is considered the minimum threshold for applications to most graduate jobs.

The Higher Education Academy – a charity that promotes university teaching – is devising the trial of the grade point average (GPA) system.

It said that the structure “could be implemented alongside, or ultimately replace, the current honours degree classification”…

Under the system, students can score anything up to 4.25. During the trial, 4.25 points would be equivalent to a high first-class degree and 3.75 would be equal to a low first.

A student with a 3.50 average would be gaining the equivalent of a good 2:1 and 3.00 would be roughly the same as a low 2:1.

An average of 2.00 would be third class, while 1.00 would be a low third or a pass degree.

A score of 0.50 would be a marginal fail and 0.00 would be a fail.

Sir Bob Burgess, the vice-chancellor of Leicester University, will oversee the pilot scheme, which will last until July next year.

More at:  Universities to adopt US-style ‘grade points’ system

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