Birmingham beat off competition from Leeds, Worcester, and LondonWritten by Megan Stanley on 11th July 2018
Implementation of Grade Point Average System Delayed
The University of Birmingham’s new grade point average style of assessment has been put on hold for the rest of the year.
Originally scheduled to be implemented this summer, the system will now be considered on an opt-in basis starting in 2019.
A statement released by Adam Goldstone, the Guild of Students’ education officer, described the GPA system as ‘rushed through and poorly communicated to students’.
“Goldstone: GPA ‘rushed through and poorly communicated to students’.
The most recent plan for its implementation states that all students will receive their degrees as normal, but students who request a GPA conversion will receive one with no additional cost.
The system is also expected to feature the ‘Cum Laude’ identification. Popular in the United States, ‘Cum Laude’ is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to ‘with highest honours’ and will be awarded to students within the top 10% of GPAs in their graduating program.
This creates an easy identification for employers and applications offices at other schools to compare students to their classmates, regardless of their GPAs. This was one of the main faults Goldstone argued against in his initial statement.
In response to the petition, the University stated that the new grading scale will ‘maximise [graduates’] chances of employment or further study upon completion of their qualification at Birmingham’. As the grade point system is more internationally recognised than the current European Higher Degree Classification system, the university hopes that grading in a comparable way to other schools will make Birmingham students more competitive after graduation.
There seems to be no indication yet of whether it is only students’ graduating mark that will be converted to a GPA or if it is each individual mark from their degree averaged out, as is the system in North America. If the latter is implemented, it could mean a shift in the way grades are calculated and assessed from the first day on campus to the last.
“The university hopes that grading in a comparable way to other schools will make Birmingham students more competitive after graduation.
Goldstone created a petition to delay the implementation of the GPA system that was signed by over 700 students before being delivered to the vice-chancellor. The main issues Goldstone argued were the fast turnaround time of the GPA system’s implementation and the actual GPA system itself.
Oxford Brookes is currently the only university in the United Kingdom to be graded on a GPA system. Most universities in the United States and Canada use this system of assessment, though the numbers on the scale and their value vary by university, where some universities use 4.0, 6.0, or even 12.0 systems.
Most prestigious universities, such as Harvard, are on a 4.0 grading scale. There seems to be no real indication of which scale the University of Birmingham will adopt.