UK Student Record Innovations: US-Style GPA and Electronic Documentation

August 27, 2013
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
  • Records and Academic Services

studentBeginning in September 2013, new students entering Oxford Brookes University in England will be assessed by letter grades with corresponding grade points. Upon graduation they will have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) reflecting their achievement on a weighted basis throughout their years of study, in addition to being awarded a traditional British honours classification reflecting academic performance primarily in the final year.

The GPA system, which is modeled on the US letter grade and grade point system (A through F, 4.0 through 0.0), is better suited to the university’s modular course system, and offers the student more freedom to explore academic options in early years of study, according to John Rafferty, pro vice-chancellor, student experience, at Oxford Brookes. It will also be more transparent to employers and higher education institutions outside of the UK who often are not familiar with the system of UK degree honours.

Since the publication of a 2007 report examining the viability of the 200-year-old honours system to measure and record student achievement in the 21st century, a group of UK universities have been discussing alternatives. Most have opted for the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR), an electronic document that is produced by the institution in a nationally-standardized format incorporating the content of a European Diploma Supplement and much more, verified by the registrar or other designated officer, and accessible electronically throughout the student’s enrollment and after graduation.

In the last decade or so, many UK universities have developed transcripts listing the subjects or modules completed with corresponding marks, usually on a percentage scale. The HEAR, which is more extensive than a transcript, is meant to replace the transcript format.


Sources:

Oxford Brookes Introduces Grade Point Average

Oxford Brookes University: A Green Paper, Recording Student Achievement

Beyond the Honours Degree Classification, The Burgess Group Final Report, 2007

Higher Education Achievement Report

 

By: AACRAO Connect