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Best of Both worlds in Oxford Brookes University

Oxford Brookes University has adopted an American style grade-point average (GPA) system alongside the traditional honours degree. It is the first UK higher education institution to do so.

Students starting in September 2013 will be awarded two grades when they graduate: a single numerical mark showing the average of all grades received during an entire degree course (USA system) and an honours degree class (UK traditional system) based on academic performance in last year of study. Oxford Brookes is the first out of the twelve universities, which began to examine degree classification reform in 2011, to introduce a GPA system. Other members of this group, including University College London (UCL), have begun and continue to run models of how the GPA might work in theory.

Under the new system, Oxford Brookes students will receive a GPA score expressed both as a single numerical value accurate to one decimal point (with 4.0 being the top score) as well as the traditional honours degree system better known by UK employers.

Using the systems together will allow students to benefit from both approaches. The University Academic board approved the new system on 12th February 2013. This hybrid will offer a continuous record of a student's achievement beyond the five points of the established honours system. Furthermore it will allow students to pursue modular (degrees separated into modules, each a topic with a separate exam) degrees which did not exist when the UK honours system was devised two hundred years ago. Retaining the established system of classifications which is based primarily on final-year performance should leave students free to experiment with subjects in the first two years. The hybrid system is friendlier towards international students because the American system is used widely across the world therefore allowing UK students from overseas to have an easier transition into British higher education.

Source: the Times higher education guide, Jack Grove.