Universities to ditch degree classes in favour of US-style points system

At least 20 universities will start trialling an American "grade point average" scheme

Several Russell Group universities are planning to abandon traditional degree classifications in favour of US-style "grade points".

The pilot scheme, which will run until July 2014, will see undergraduate work marked on a scale of 0 to 4.25, in a bid to generate a more accurate representation of students’ abilities.

The changes come amidst concerns that the current system of first-, second- and third-class degrees is too crude and does not distinguish students’ marks clearly enough.

At least 20 universities and colleges will be overhauling the 200-year-old system, including high-ranking institutions such as Edinburgh, Nottingham and Birmingham.

A spokesperson from the University of Edinburgh said: "We are part of a pilot that is trialling the grade points system. We have no plans to replace the existing divisions of degrees, but are exploring alternatives and supplements that might help our students as they move into employment.’

Under the traditional system, two thirds of students are currently gaining upper-second class degrees. As this is the minimum requirement for most graduate jobs, it is hoped that the use of more specific degree classifications will help to properly define graduates in the job market.

Grade points are also used widely in a number of countries across the world, meaning that comparisons between students internationally would be made easier.

The new system will allow students to score an average of anything up to 4.25 over the course of their degree – the equivalent to a high first. Other classifications will be distinguished by margins of 0.5, with a low 2:1 being graded as 3.00 and a high 2:1 as 3.50.

The pilot of the grade point average (GPA) system has been developed by The Higher Education Academy, a charity that promotes university teaching and has been backed by the Universities Minister, David Willetts.

Prof Phil Levy, deputy chief executive of the Higher Education Academy stressed the importance of the trial, saying: "It is essential that the proposed national GPA system is thoroughly tested in different institutional contexts.

"Only by doing this will the sector and wider public be able to understand whether GPA will enhance the student experience, both while they are studying and after graduation as they seek employment or further study."

Despite this, it remains unclear whether the new system will remain in place after the pilot ends. The University of Nottingham said it was committed to testing the system until 2014, but that "no decision has been made by the university regarding any action beyond 2013/2014".

The University of Birmingham also stated that their participation in the trial is likely to last for two years, depending on its success. However, its earliest implementation is set to be with the cohort starting in 2015/2016 or even 2016/2017.

The pilot scheme will be overseen by Sir Bob Burgess, the vice-chancellor of the University of Leicster.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine