Mixed reception for new grading system

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A new grading system for all current first years and incoming students will be in place beginning from October and will not be affecting those students entering their third or fourth years.

The new system, approved by the University Senate, will see students receiving letter grades on their assessed work, instead of percentages, which will then be converted to an overall score based on a twenty-four point scale. The scale ensures that students will still receive final specific classifications for their modules, and eventually their degrees, based on their overall aggregation scores. The process to amend the regulations began in 2006 and was “prompted, in part, by a national report that recommended that all universities ensure that their regulations relating to assessment and classification were clear and readily understandable by all parties” explained Dr. Gavin Brown, University Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Dr. Brown went on to say that “these regulations will make marking criteria more transparent for all types of assessment, ensure markers use the full range of available marks across all disciplines and provide a simpler means of classifying a student’s final degree results”. They will also help “departments to deal with any mitigating circumstances students may have in a more transparent way”.

However, there may be some exceptions to the new system; assessed work which is quantitative, such as multiple choice tests, could still be marked as a percentage, but will then be transferred on to the scale. Students will be informed by their departments how each piece will be marked along with the specific criteria for achieving each letter grade.

LUSU Vice President (Academic Affairs), Robin Hughes, was involved in, and encouraged, the formulation of the new system and thinks that it “is a much fairer system and a positive change for students”.

One first year student agrees with the change and thinks that the new system is “good because it will give a clearer picture of where our marks lie” going on to say that “sometimes it’s harder to work out what class we are achieving now, particularly as the boundaries for different subjects vary”.

Another first year student, Marsha Dowie, however, disagrees with the idea that the new system will be less complex and feels that “if at the end of our degree we will achieve a first, second or third, then surely it would make more sense to grade the assessments” in the same way so that students know what they “are capable of”.

More publicity regarding the change will be going out to students at a later date.

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