The Americanization of British higher education

Monday, February 3, 2014

Britain’s grading system is broken. At least, that’s what critics are saying about the 200-year-old tradition of classifying undergraduate degrees into five categories, from first class to fail.

In an attempt to improve the system, 21 universities started to experiment in November with an American-style grade-point average in hopes that it would be a better evaluation of students’ efforts and help solve grade inflation and other problems. A grade point average is calculated by adding up the grade points awarded to a student and dividing that total by the number of courses in which they were earned.

But not everyone in British academe is on board. Some say the effort is flawed from the start and may contribute to the erosion of centuries-old methods that undergird higher education here.

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