Notts to Trial New Degree Classifications

Is the end for the classic First, 2:1 and Desmond Tutu?

Nottingham University is set to run a one-year pilot of a US-style points-score system instead of traditional degree classifications.

At least 20 universities, including six from the Russell Group, are to trial switching to the Grade Point Average (GPA) model.

The model is already used across the world, including by universities in America, China and Malaysia.  Under the GPA model, students receive an average points score from zero to 4.25 throughout their degree and upon graduation.


Are the classic First, 2:1 and 2:2 a thing of the past?

The trial is being run by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), who say the system “could be implemented alongside, or ultimately replace, the current honours degree classification”.

The move follows concerns that the present system is too blunt and fails to accurately represent students’ abilities.  Senior academics at Nottingham have previously called the current system “outdated” and said the GPA model would benefit students when looking for employment.

HEA’s deputy chief executive Phil Levy said: “It is essential that the proposed national GPA system is thoroughly tested in different institutional contexts”.

“Only by doing this will the sector and wider public be able to understand whether GPA will enhance the student experience, both while they are studying and after graduation as they seek employment or further study.”

David Willetts, the Universities Minister, said the GPA system “appears to offer added transparency and focus for both students and employers”.