University of Leicester joins Grade Point Average pilot

Posted by er134 at Oct 30, 2013 11:22 AM |
The GPA system differs from the current UK degree classification in that it provides an average from grades achieved throughout a student’s course

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 October 2013

The University of Leicester is among the first universities in the country to pilot a new grading system that could ultimately replace the centuries old honours degree classification.

Higher education providers from across the UK will take part in the national pilot of a ‘Grade Point Average’ (GPA) system that could be implemented alongside, or ultimately replace, the current honours degree classification. The pilot is being facilitated by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

From November, 20 higher education providers will test a ‘national GPA system’ and examine the implications for the student experience. The 20 institutions represent a wide-range of different types of higher education providers – including universities, further education colleges, and private providers.

As well as looking at the practical challenges of implementing a GPA system, the pilot will explore how robust a GPA system is in comparison to the current system; the implications of using a GPA system in different subjects; and how a GPA system would affect the student experience, for example in relation to assessment policy and practice.

A GPA system differs from the current UK degree classification in that it provides an average from grades achieved throughout a student’s course. GPA models are widely used internationally and the perceived benefits of a GPA system are that it helps to keep students engaged throughout their degree programme, increases the granularity and transparency of the final degree score, and provides greater international comparability of degree results.

The pilot, which will conclude in July 2014, is part of a two-year programme designed to inform a national discussion about assessing and representing students’ academic achievement. Overseeing the pilot and programme is a national advisory group, chaired by Professor Sir Bob Burgess (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester and chair of the HEA board), which includes employer representatives, the National Union of Students, as well as representatives from universities and colleges.

Professor Phil Levy (HEA Deputy Chief Executive for Academic Practice) said: “I am delighted that the pilot will include such a diverse range of higher education providers. 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.”

Professor Sir Bob Burgess said: “I am very pleased that the University of Leicester is amongst the group of institutions piloting the introduction of the GPA.  It gives the sector an opportunity to provide a wider range of marks to differentiate amongst students and to make their successes more internationally understood.  This will complement the work that the sector has done on introducing the Higher Education Achievement Report which gives students a more detailed record of their activities whilst at University.”

Further information about the project is available here.

Pilot institutions

Bangor University;

University of Birmingham;

University of Edinburgh;

Hull College;

Kingston University;

University of Leeds;

University of Leicester;

Northumbria University;

City College Norwich;

University of Nottingham;

The Open University;

Oxford Brookes University;

Richmond, the American International University in London ;

University of Sheffield;

University of Southampton;

South West College (Northern Ireland);

University of the West of England;

University of the West of Scotland;

University of Winchester;

York St John University.

A further 25 institutions have indicated their interest in engaging more broadly with a wider programme of activity to explore GPA and its implications for employers and students. This programme is being developed and is likely to start in early 2014.


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