GPA: imprecise or exact? (1 of 2)

June 30, 2011

The grade-point average system ("'Two tribes' to the wall? Elite set may adopt GPA", 23 June) initially appears to offer greater precision in student assessment. However, there is a danger that employers will replace one crude criterion, for example, getting a 2:1, with a different crude criterion, for example, getting a GPA greater than 3.0.

In this scenario, the classification system is more precise, because the borderline cases between degree classes have been carefully looked at by exam boards, whereas the GPA is a raw average.

A deeper reform of student assessment would aim to evaluate the various incommensurable aspects of student performance and offer a range of measures, both qualitative and quantitative, that represent the diverse achievements of students during their studies at university.

Colin Johnson, University of Kent

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