A comment piece in this week’s Higher from John Raftery, PVC at Oxford Brooke’s, discussing this decision to move to Grade Point Averages as well as degree classifications.
He provides a clear rationale of moving to such a system, and using all of a student’sperfromance to provide a final grade. This will have the impact of making first year modules possibly more meaningful, as I have heard students query the point of grading the first year. It also gives a much more granular scale and clearer differentiation between individual student performances.
He does identify disadvantages though:
There are other shortcomings which GPA shares with the honours degree classification system. These include the dubious validity of the assignment marking scales; the institutionally specific regulations for award calculations; and the inability of a single index to explain what students have learned. And employers can still create their own “cliff edges” using the GPA: for example, they may use 3.1 as a cut-off point when considering job applications.
I know of at least one Russell Group university who are also looking at this, and are looking for critical mass in the sector. It is interesting that GPA has been introduced initially by a post-92 institution.