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Lack of standardized percentage scale means discrepancies in UFV transfer grades

How do students know if the grades they receive at UFV have the same weight as those given by larger universities like UBC?

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By Ashley Mussbacher (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: October 23, 2013

How do students know if the grades they receive at UFV have the same weight as those given by larger universities like UBC? According to UFV’s website, there is no standardized percentage versus letter grade scale.

UFV grades are weighted based on a grade point average (GPA) scale, with 4.33 being the highest. Even though 4.00 equals a standard A grade, there is no percentage policy to determine at what point a student deserves an A.

Instead percentages are governed per department, or are at the instructor’s discretion. According to UFV’s communications department’s grade scale, a student may receive an A- once he or she has achieved 88 per cent. For Business Administration students an A- is 85 per cent. Both A- grades, even though they are different percentages, are equal in GPA (3.67).

As to the discrepancies, VP academic and provost Eric Davis did not offer comment at press time.

The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) associate director of public affairs, Randy Schmidt, explains why UBC does not use a GPA system and prefers to use percentages instead.

“UBC has never used a GPA system,” he says. “I understand that in 1986 we did formally consider adopting a GPA system but there were objections as it would provide less information than a percentage system, due to loss of granularity (i.e., a 73 per cent and a 75 per cent result in the same GPA).”

UBC provides an online scale of percentages, letter grades, and GPA conversion that applies to all courses and all departments. Meanwhile UFV admits that percentages given in one department “may differ from other courses and programs,” according to its website.

If a student transfers from UFV to UBC, their grades will need to be converted to UBC’s scale. Grades will be converted from GPA to a percentage equivalent.

On this scale, UFV’s 3.67 GPA, which was an A-, will land between 79 and 80 per cent. UBC’s A- is weighted at 80 per cent (3.70 GPA) – slightly higher than the mark received at UFV. This means that either the grades are inflated by 0.03 GPA to match, or UFV’s A- turns into UBC’s  B+.

A small but significant change.

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