# Grade Point Averages – the current context

## Presentation on theme: "Grade Point Averages – the current context"— Presentation transcript:

Grade Point Averages – the current context
Prof. Graham Curtis

Scheme of Presentation
Honours Degree Classifications (HDC) – issues and comment HDC/Grade Point Average (GPA) – current history GPA – the method and example country models GPA – benefits, issues and comments Group of Interested Universities (GIU) – the proposed GPA model GIU GPA model – testing and comments GPA – the way forward

The ‘cliff edge’ Lack of granularity Discretion and boundary treatments Different algorithms Exit velocity weightings Dropping credit Use of profiling (e.g. median) Use of year 1 modules Different marking practices across disciplines/institutions Does not motivate students Fundamental problem of ‘averaging the unaverageable’ Lack of international understanding/comparability (?) (nb GPA only addresses some of these)

HDC/GPA – current history
Reservations of ‘fitness for purpose’ of HDC expressed in national reports e.g. Dearing Report into higher education 1997 Burgess Reports 2004, 2007, 2012 Group of interested universities (GIU) meet 2011/12 leading to a proposed GPA model (2012) OBU white paper introduces GPA in tandem with HDC (2012) December 2012 meeting of DBIS, HEA, UUK plus others to consider GPA model to replace HDC 2013/14 HEA facilitates national HEI debate/consultation/pilot on GPA

GPA – the method and models
Not new Associate a summative number to each module (assessed piece of work) Calculate an average of these as a final summative mark Common globally but much variation in detail Example 1 – the USA Descriptor Letter grade Grade point Excellent A 4.0 Good/above average B 3.0 Average C 2.0 Minimum passing grade D 1.0 Fail F 0.0 Cumulative GPA (CGPA) can be calculated Often CGPA of at least 2 required for progression Letter grades may have + (+0.33) or – (-0.33) added to increase discretion

GPA – the method and models
Example 2 – Denmark (7 point scale replaces 13 point scale) Grade ECTS 12 Excellent High level of command of all aspects – no or only a few minor weaknesses A 10 Very good High level of command of most aspects – only minor weaknesses B 7 Good good command – some weaknesses C 4 Fair Some command – some major weaknesses D 02 Adequate The minimum requirements for acceptance E 00 Inadequate Does not meet the minimum requirements for acceptance Fx -3 Unacceptable Unacceptable in all respects F

GPA – the method and models
Example 3 – Singapore (NUS) HDC CAP First 4.50 and above Upper Second Lower Second Third Pass Fail Below 2.00

GPA – benefits, issues and comment
Greater granularity and transparency Avoidance of cliff edge Greater student commitment Reduction of appeals Globally understood and international comparability (?) Compatible with HE marking culture Possible issues Continuous pressure on students Possible grade pressure and inflation (mitigating factors in UK) Not yet understood in UK Doesn’t solve all the problems of HDC Note – summative GPA complements ‘rich picture’ HEAR

GIU - membership Initial group meeting in early 2011
Birmingham, LSE, Nottingham, Sheffield, Warwick, UCL, York Joined later by Bristol, Kings College London, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford Brookes, Southampton Reported in Sep 2012 and briefing to DBIS Dec 2012

Excellent 4.25 Top 1st A 4.00 Good 1st A- 3.75 Low 1st B+ Good 3.50 High 2.i B 3.25 Mid 2.i B- Good/Satisfactory 3.00 Low 2.i C+ Satisfactory 2.75 High 2.ii C 2.50 Mid 2.ii C- 2.25 Low 2.ii D+ Adequate 2.00 3rd D Pass 1.00 Low 3rd or pass D- Marginal Fail 0.50 F Fail 0.00

GIU - comments US approach (broadly) of attributing grades/marks at module level for aggregation 13 point scale using F (0) to A+ (4.25) used Various GIU models tested on Nottingham and Birmingham student data As far as possible individual student achievement categories are maintained Results should not disadvantage UK students internationally Should have the ability to discriminate high achievement Leaves open the possibility of grade/numerical initial assessment of work in qualitative and quantitative disciplines Leaves open the possibility of exit velocity Nottingham and Birmingham SU support Applicability to taught PG programmes Relationship to ECTS

GPA - Summary The Honours Degree Classification System is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ Grade Point Average Systems provide a better way forward for provision of a single figure, easy-to-understand, summative measure though does not answer all the criticisms of the HDC GPA when taken together with HEAR provides both a summative and a rich picture of a student’s achievement