I thought I’d provide a little update on everything that’s happened with the proposed introduction of a Grade Point Average. Just as a quick recap, word got out a few weeks ago about the University considering introducing GPA this year, which I thought was a bit of a problem for a few reasons; most of all , that it was rushed through and poorly communicated to students.
I wrote a letter detailing a number of issues with the implementation to the Vice-Chancellor, and received over 700 signatures from students. Thanks to your help, I’m pleased to announce that the University has now reconsidered its position, and has “agreed to provide students being awarded their qualification in summer 2019 with the option to request a document which will provide their overall degree mark converted into a Grade Point Average.” The GPA project has now been postponed for a year to “ensure that students are given sufficient information to make an informed choice about whether they want this additional document”
This delay means that it won’t be sprung on you so quickly so, if you want, you will have more time work hard to affect your GPA score, which was one of the arguments put forward in favour of it. This extra time also allows the University to make sure there is enough information provided to students ahead of next year.
When it is set to be introduced in 2019, “students will continue to be provided with their usual degree certificates as normal”. GPA will be completely separate to this. Initially, it will be launched as trial and it’ll be opt in so you aren’t obliged to use it. Also, it won’t make any difference to your usual degree classification - so even if you do request it, you can change your mind and get rid of it later.
I’d like to thank everyone for all their help. This decision is a step in the right direction, and I definitely had a much stronger case having the backing of so many students.
The University’s response in full:
“Following on-going discussions between the Guild and the University it has been agreed to provide students being awarded their qualification in Summer 2019 with the option to request a document which will provide their overall degree mark converted into a Grade Point Average or ‘GPA’ format. All students will continue to be provided with their usual degree certificates as normal.
We understand how important it is for our graduates to maximise their chances of employment or further study upon completion of their qualification at Birmingham. The GPA is more readily recognised by international employers than the European Higher Degree Classification system and may help Birmingham graduates in the international job market. This document will also record whether a student was in the top 10% of their cohort as they will be recorded as ‘Cum Laude.’ Any student who is not in the top 10% will not have this noted. There will be no charge for the additional documentation.
Before summer 2019 the University will work with the Guild and ensure that students are given sufficient information to make an informed choice about whether they want this additional document at no cost, and what it means. The University intends to make this available to students starting at the University from 2018 onwards.”