Starting this semester, Ewha professors are free to choose which grading system they wish to follow for each course.
The official announcement by the Registrar Office stated that professors can either follow an absolute grading system, relative grading system, or any other grading system they wish to take on. They can also set the cut-off line on the number of students for each letter grade according to the system they chose to follow.
However, the professors are obliged to decide the best method to grade the students in a fair way according to the course syllabus.
They also need to inform students about the grading system they chose by listing it on the syllabus and announcing it in class.
The self-regulated evaluation system was put on test operation last year, where all professors choose their own grading system.
“I am personally for the self-regulated evaluation system and I hope this system is followed in the future too,” said Professor Chung Soo-young from department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences.
“In a professor’s point of view, we can consider number of factors to assess students based on better objectives.”
After the one-year trial run of the self-regulated evaluation system, the school officially announced that all courses will follow this procedure starting this semester.
“We took a survey to assess how the professors and students thought about the grading systems after the trial run,” said a deputy from the school’s Registrar Office. “Both sides reacted positively as professors had more of a say.”
The major issue with the relative grading system has always been the severe competition among students.
Professors now get to choose their own evaluation standard
Before the school enforced this rule, the majority of the courses followed a relative grading system pre-decided by the school.
“We chose to take on this evaluation system because we wanted to guarantee discretionary authority to the professors,” the Office of Admission stated in the official announcement. “We also aimed to not focus on grade competition among students but to assess students based on their achievements.”
The announcement also stated that even if a professor is to follow the relative grading system, the evaluation rate can be freely decided by the professors. Additionally, unlike the usual relative grading system, the professors will get to choose the number of students allowed at a certain grading level.
On the other hand, there is also an absolute grading system, where grades are assigned according to cutoff levels decided on before the start of the course.
“I personally like the absolute grading system because it focuses mainly on attaining the learning objective,” said Kim Si-won, a senior majoring in Science Education. “Conversely, it is unrealistic because there is not enough time for all students to achieve the learning objective.”
This grading system showed positive results. More students participated in classes that increased the overall average of the students’ grades. However, the deputy from the Registrar Office admitted that grade inflation exists.
For example, some students were graded higher than their abilities, therefore causing an extremely high total average score. Hence, students began to choose the courses in which they can get a high grade rather than a course they wished to learn.
Considering the pros and cons of both evaluation systems, the school’s Registrar chose to take on the self-regulated grading system. According to the Registrar Office, following the professor’s judgement based on the course, grading systems from now on can be intermixed.
“Choosing the grading system professors wished to follow was fair for students too,” the deputy said. “Students were able to assess their learning based on their academic growth, which was why the self-regulation evaluation system was favored. All in all, the satisfaction rate from both sides was high.”
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