GPA doesn’t measure up

June 11, 2015

Discussions on grade point average degree classifications disregard the presence of a rather large elephant in the room (“When your degree is just a number”, News, 4 June). The empirical evidence that exists on the conflation of module grades into a single “measure” of student performance reveals what a deeply unsound process it is, especially given the wide disparities in mode and variance between disciplines within the same university and between universities.

In common with many academics who are researching assessment, I suggest that a fairer and more fit for purpose approach is the development of graduate profile portfolios (going beyond the rather limited Higher Education Achievement Report). Pioneering universities in other countries have – in addition to the grades and percentages that so obsess registrars – evinced in their graduates the soft skills such as teamwork and initiative that are characteristic of well-rounded graduates, and are exactly the qualities that employers call for.

Peter Williams
Faculty of Education
University of Hull

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Viewed

Most Commented

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi