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Unis to test grade change scheme
A pilot scheme to change the way students' degrees are graded will be tested by more than 20 UK universities.
Under the proposed system grades would be divided into 13 levels of classification, ranging from A+ to F, based on average point scores. The grade point average (GPA) model is already used by US institutions, said the Higher Education Academy (HEA) group, which is running the scheme.
The HEA is to choose between 20 and 25 higher education providers from across the UK to take part in the pilot scheme between November and next July, with its findings being published in the early autumn of 2014. Students would receive a traditional honours degree grade alongside the new mark as part of the pilot, but the new system could eventually replace the current way of classifying academic achievement, according to the HEA.
Professor Sir Bob Burgess, vice chancellor of the University of Leicester, is chairing the HEA advisory board.
He said: "This is a hugely important project which will provide evidence to inform a full debate about degree classification and the possibility of a uniform GPA system in the UK.
"It's a debate for students, universities, employers and the public. It is also an opportunity to examine how universities enable students to receive the most effective assessment and feedback on their work - which time and time again they reflect through satisfaction surveys as one of the most highly valued expectations of their time at university."
The benefits of the new system are said to be that it provides greater information about an individuals' grades and that it allows degree results to be compared more easily on an international level.
A student awarded a first class degree under the current way of marking degrees would receive either an A+, A or A- under the GPA model. At the other end of the scale, an F represents a fail with a D- a marginal fail.
The HEA has not yet identified which universities will be taking part in the study.