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?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map