Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


English grades vs. ECTS: A* should be called A, and A B

The A level results for England are here, and about 8% got an A*, while a plain A was awarded to 27% of pupils.

As far as I can tell, this means that when mapping English grades to the ECTS grading scale, A should be mapped to B, and A* to A. The mapping is not perfect, given that the ECTS system stipulates that 10% should get an A, and 25% a B, but it’s definitely very close.

I don’t understand why the education authorities in the UK don’t try to get rid of grade inflation by adopting a statistical system such as ECTS.

Otherwise, they’ll need to introduce a new grade such as A** in a few years’ time, then A***, and so on ad nauseam.

2 thoughts on “English grades vs. ECTS: A* should be called A, and A B

  • While I totally agree with the point about grade inflation, I do have one problem with a system that awards grades based on the percentiles: you cannot compare the grades between different classes.

    It doesn’t seem fair to me that one student’s grade should depend on all the other students in the class.

    If you do well, but this particular class (or this particular year) has students doing very well, should you be graded lower than if you had taken the exam the year before or the year after?

    It seems to me that grading based on percentiles is inherently unfair.

    Grade inflation is another problem, and a very important one for sure, but this solution just doesn’t seem right to me…

  • I totally agree the percentiles shouldn’t be used on small groups, such as a class, but it should work fine on bigger groups of students.
    For small groups, I’m not sure what to do – perhaps try to imagine where the students would have been in a bigger group and base the grades on that.


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