Many students often request their final marks as well as their final grade and question why the grade only is reported on the transcript. For high achieving students concern is often expressed that the grade alone does not recognise exceptional achievement (such as those students scoring above 90%). There are a number of reasons why the University has determined that the final reporting of student performance is via a grade only:
- Grades and their descriptor, provide a qualitative dimension to the result.
- Grades report student achievement across courses irrespective of the nature of the assessment. Not all assessment can be judged against a scale of achievement or use numerically-based marking schema. For example, the use of competency-based assessment methodologies in practice-based courses. Because of this variation final results cannot always be determined via a simple arithmetic calculation of marks accumulated over the continuous assessment. Marks are just one tool used by staff to arrive at an appropriate grade which accurately reflects performance/attainment.
- The spread of marks across a numeric scale (for example 1 – 100) would result in a significant level of uncertainty if used to report differences in performance. It would be impossible for an assessor to guarantee that 2 adjacent marks reflect real differences in performance. Similar issues exist due to variation between markers despite the use of moderation and scaling practices. Grade boundaries, because there are only 7, are considered carefully by markers, allowing real differences in performance to be accurately determined within the scale.
- Exceptional achievement is acknowledged both through the grade and through University prizes and awards.