P06 Grading and Assessment

Project Status: Project to Transfer to PESE2

The project is to be transferred to PESE2, with the below dates for closure.
  • Strand 1: Implementing GPA: Implementation of Strand 1 within Brookes is due for close on the 31 May 2014 with a handover to Student Central as a business as usual activity.  

  • Strand 2: Implementing HEAR: The closure is planned for September 2015, after the launch of the HEAR and a successful hand over to Student Central as a business as usual activity.

  • Strand 3: Implementing % Grades: A key consideration of note for Strand 3 lies in the feasibility of implementing any agreed option.  As highlighted in the Grade Based Marking paper under 4.5 the introduction of the proposals should coincide with the introduction of the new students records system (September 2016 or 2017)

Benefits legacy   

The projects benefits will be reviewed by the Project Sponsor once an academic cycle has taken place, so that the changes to grading and assessments can be reported on. The format of this will be confirmed by the Project Working Group in May 2014.

Project synopsis

As a prologue the reader is encouraged to refer to the Burgess Group Final Report, Beyond the honours degrees classification Oct 2007 and in particular the Chair's foreword.

"the UK honours degree is a robust and highly-valued qualification but the honours degree classification system is no longer fit for purpose. It cannot describe, and therefore does not do full justice to, the range of knowledge, skills, experience and attributes of a graduate in the 21st century. Exploring how to reform or replace the classification system has not been easy." (Burgess, 2007)


Along with a group of about 12 other UK universities, during 2011-12 this project considered the extent to which our methods of recording student achievement continue to be 'fit for purpose'; fair, resilient, research informed, and of maximum usefulness to our students in an increasingly competitive and globalised world.

In 2007 the Burgess Report (2007) recommended the introduction of the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) and it is certain that changes will very soon be made to UK degree transcripts in many UK universities to include a more detailed breakdown of student achievement. There are also strong indications that several UK universities will be abandoning the degree classification system in favour of the Grade Point Average System. In addition there is a slow drift in the UK to adopting a narrower marking scale (four or 20 point scale).

It seems timely for Oxford Brookes to demonstrate institutional leadership - if it desires to do so - by contributing to and helping to shape the way forward for UK universities.

The project is currently in the implementation phase. The first phase of the project (Autumn 2011) revolved around carrying out initial research. The second phase culminated in the production of a Green Paper (February 2012) that explained the context, and set out and evaluated the options for change. This paper was circulated widely for consultation with both internal and external audiences. The third phase culminated in the development of the White Paper (December 2012) which set out a focused set of options for policy and procedural change. Link to "Recording the Student Achievement". The Academic Board met on 13 February 2013 and agreed to the implementation of the 3 key proposals.

The three key strands of the project are:

1: To introduce a Grade Point Average system to run alongside the traditional honours degree classifications.

The scheme will commence in September 2013 (for new entrants) More details regarding this strand of the project can be found via the following links

2: To provide a digital Higher Educational Achievement Record (HEAR) to undergraduate students in addition to their award transcripts.

The scheme will commence in September 2015. More details about implementation can be found in a short HEAR implementation paper which accompanied the White Paper to Academic Board.

3: Percentages to Grades

The Grading and Assessment Group will now undertake further research to assess the desirability and feasibility of replacing our current 100-point (%) marking scheme (for coursework and examinations).The group to report their findings to Academic Board in Semester 1, 2013-14.

Recording Student Achievement: Grade-based Marking (draft) PDF


Key project milestones

  • Discussion Green paper prepared (29 February 2012)
  • Green Paper "Recording Student Achievement" released (16 April 2012)
  • Green paper presented to AESC (23rd May 2012)
  • Consultation on Green Paper closes (27 July 2012)
  • Release Grading & Assessment White Paper: (18 December 2012)
  • Final options agreed and signed off by Academic Board (13 February 2013)
  • Implementation of GPA Scheme for new entrants (September 2013)
  • Implementation of the HEAR (September 2015) 


Project Sponsor Matthew Andrews Academic Registrar

Project Working Group Matthew Andrews - GPA Strand Sponsor, Belinda Platt - HEAR Strand Sponsor,  Helena Webster - Grade-Based Marking Strand Sponsor, Loredana Faraon - Project Manager and Adrian Kent - OBIS (Member)