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Grading Standards (GPA System)

I. About the GPA Reform

Introduction

 GPA (Grade Point Average)*1 is a system utilized by numerous foreign universities. As an international system prevalent in the age of globalization, it has been used at Kyushu University since 2007.

 Since its introduction seven years ago, we aimed to refine the system by making its key aspects more transparent. These aspects include the rationale behind grades and the relationship between the basic learning objectives and grading. Through this reform, we have improved the general quality of the education offered by the University as well as the standards of individual units. This, in turn, will allow for superior outcomes. Specifically, it is our intention to provide responsible education and foster the desire to learn among students by providing transparent learning outcomes. Moreover, we desire for our teaching staff to use syllabuses and rubrics*2 to provide a more effective, smooth guidance.*3

The implementation schedule is as follows.

  • Starting in 2015, all departments' units and subjects began to be graded using the revised GPA system.*4
  • All the students commencing their studies in 2016 and later will graduate after meeting the GPA2.0 criteria.*5

Revised Points

1) Regarding GP and Grading

Key Points

  • The grades for each unit will be awarded based on the revised learning outcomes.
  • In particular, the differences between C and D are more transparent now. We now aim for grades above C (Satisfactory).
  • In addition to the above, in order to award grades based on adequate performance, we have revised some elements of the syllabus. Moreover, we now distribute a new in-house rubric system. Please refer to and make use of both when enrolling in a class.

After the Revisions

Grades GP
A: Excellent    (greatly exceeds expectations) 4
B: Good      (exceeds expectations) 3
C: Satisfactory   (meets the desired standards) 2
D: Pass      (meets the minimum requirements) 1
F: Fail       (fails to meet expectations) 0

 

# The grades are converted into a maximum of 100 points (to be used as general reference)

A B C D F
90 and above 89~80 79~70 69~60 59 and below

 

References and Standards

Grades GP 100 points scale
A: Excellent    (Exemplary) 4 90 and above
B: Good     (Outstanding) 3 89~80
C: Fair      (Average) 2 79~70
D: Pass     (The above three meet the requirements for academic credit) 1 69~60
F: Fail      (fail) 0 59 and below

(A minimum of sixty points is required to pass the unit. This applies to every department. )

2) Repeating Units

 Until 2014, it was possible to repeat only the units with the overall grade of F. However, starting in 2015, it is possible to repeat units for which the student has been awarded the grades of F or D. In such a case, the previous grade will be replaced with the new one, and the student's GDP recalculated accordingly.

 However, this does not apply to units undertaken until 2014. 

 Finally, there is no guarantee the student will be allowed to retake a unit. Please refer to part four (Repeating Units) for details.

3) Graduation Requirements

 Starting with the students enrolling in 2016, it will be necessary to fulfilling the GPA2.0 criteria in order to graduate.

II. The Summary of the GPA System (partially overlaps with part I)

1. About the GPA System

 GPA (Grade Point Average) is a system utilized by numerous foreign universities. As an international system prevalent in the age of globalization, as of 2014 it was used on the department level by 497 Japanese universities (67% of the total number). For more details, please refer to 'About the Reform of Educational Content and the Related Matters in Universities', proliferated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

 Kyushu University's GPA system awards one of five possible grades (A,B,C,D or F) for each unit. Each grade is then converted into GP (Grade Points), and the student receives between four and zero points, depending on the grade. GPA is generated by taking the grades' numerical values (GP), multiplying them by the number of credit points the units are worth, and dividing the sum by the total credit value of the units undertaken. The average score is 6.

GPA (Grade Point Average) = GPT (Grade Point Total) / Total credit the subjects are worth
GPT (Grade Point Total) = The total sum of GP (Grade Points) multiplied by the relevant subjects' credit points


Sample Calculations

Subject Name, etc. Credit Points Grade GP Credit Points×GP
Subject A Foundation Unit 2 A 4 8
Subject B Foundation Unit 2 B 3 6
Subject A Seminar 2 C 2 4
Subject B Seminar 1 D 1 1
Subject C Seminar 1 F 0 0
Total Credit Points 8 - - -
GPT - - - 19
GPA - - - 2.38

2. Grading Standards

 The grading system is represented by the grades (A - F, W and R) outlined below . The grades from A to F translate into the GP values provided below.

Grade GP
A: Excellent    (greatly exceeds expectations) 4
B: Good      (exceeds expectations) 3
C: Satisfactory   (meets the desired standards) 2
D: Pass      (meets the minimum requirements) 1
F: Fail       (fails to meet expectations) 0

W: Withdrawal   Withdrawing from Units
         Refer to part 3 (Lecture Requirements, Key Points of the Classes, Withdrawing from Units, etc.)

-
R: Recognition   Subject Approval
         (Course results, etc. Refers to credit obtained by completing units at different universities.)
-

3. Lecture Requirements, Key Points of the Classes, Withdrawing from Units, etc.

 As per the standards outlined in part 2, lecturers in charge of all units are listed in the syllabus and the rubrics.*7 Likewise students wishing to improve their learning outcomes should consult them, the lecture plans and grading criteria, and ask any relevant questions before their lectures, seminars, etc.

 All syllabuses and the like can be consulted on the following website.
http://www.kyushu-u.ac.jp/en/education/class/learning/syllabus/department

 During the semester, both the student and the lecturers will utilize the syllabuses and the rubrics. Moreover, in addition to confirming the grades and GPA awarded during the previous semester, the students will formulate new study plans on the basis of the relevant advice and guidance received from the lecturers. Should they withdraw from the unit during the semester, they will receive a grade of 'F', which will be reflected in their GPA. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully consider the contents of the syllabus and the rubrics before enrolling.

 However, if there is a legitimate reason to be dissatisfied with the unit (such as the contents of the unit differing from the expected ones, or conferring insufficient knowledge), it is possible to withdraw from the unit before its census date without incurring a penalty.

 

 In this case, withdrawal will not be treated like dropping out, and the student's GPA will not be affected. It is possible to withdraw from core units, electives (excluding intensive courses), etc. However, it is not possible to withdraw from intensive courses without incurring a penalty.

 However, if students are unable to continue their studies due to issues beyond their control (such as disease or adverse personal circumstances), it may be possible to withdraw from a unit after the census date without incurring a penalty. In this case, it is necessary to consult the relevant lecturers or academic advisors to obtain a permission.

Please consult the annexed table for census dates.

4. Repeating Units

 Commencing in 2015, it is possible to repeat the units for which the student has received a grade of F (GP = 0) or D (GP = 1).*9 It is impossible to repeat the units with the grade of D completed in 2014 and before. Moreover, even if the student re-enrolls in a unit, the original grade of F will be reflected in his or her record, regardless of the new result. The newly-obtained GP, on the other hand, will replace that awarded for previously-obtained D and F grades.

 However, the possibility of repeating units for which the student was awarded the grades of D and F is by no means guaranteed. Depending on the class size, re-enrollment may not be possible. All students should bear the above caveat in mind. Since re-enrollment is considered to be highly irregular, it is recommended that the students do their utmost when they undertake a unit for the first time.

 Finally, it should be borne in mind that if the new grade is below that obtained during the first attempt, it shall nonetheless replace the previous one. For instance, if the student fails a unit for which he or she had previously received a grade of D, the grade will be replaced and the relevant credit invalidated.

5. Subjects Except from GPA Calculation

Basically, every unit is subject to GPA calculation. However, in irregular circumstances outlined below some classes are exempt from the system.

  1. Units evaluated on the ungraded pass/fail basis
  2. Units completed at different universities, but approved for credit at Kyushu University
    ・Units approved for credit in case of academic transfer and skipping years
    ・Units approved for credit before admission to Kyushu University
    ・Units completed through cross-institutional enrollment
    ・Units approved for credit by passing foreign language aptitude exams

In addition to the units outlined above, each department may, if necessary, declare certain units as exempt from GPA calculation.

About the units exempt from GPA calculation

 [The list of units exempt from GPA calculation (depending on the year of admission)]

  1. Academic transcript
    Academic transcripts provide an overview of all undertaken units, regardless of the results. However, the results outlined below will not be provided.
    ・If the student has repeated a unit, the current result will replace the old one. As such, the previous grade will not be provided.
    ・If the student has withdrawn from a unit before the census date, it will not be recorded in the transcript.
  2. Report card (a list of grades sent from the university to the legal guardian)
    Report card provides a complete list of the grades awarded for every unit as well the subjects the student has withdrawn from.
    However, if the student has repeated a unit, the current result will replace the old one. As such, the previous grade will not be provided.

Additional information

 

(Note)

1. GPA is generated by taking the grades' numerical values (GP), multiplying them by the number of credit points the units are worth, and dividing the sum by the total credit value of the units undertaken. Kyushu University employs five grades (A,B,C,D and F) and awards between four and zero GP based on the grade.

2. The grading system devised in the United States is composed of a linear scale and, if the scale if filled, a special description. The variant formulated by the Kyushu University staff (in the form of a table) is a valuable source of information about every unit, along with the syllabuses. The table itself indicates the grading standards corresponding to several evaluation axes. Its basic function is to allow one to examine the extent to which the learning objectives have been accomplished. The rubrics differ depending on each subject's program, category and characteristics.

3. The current, revised system does not simply make the grading more strict. Rather, as outlined in the beginning, it makes the grading criteria more appropriate and transparent.

4. Items 1) and 2) (regarding the revised GPA system) are in effect from 2015 onwards. However, the above does not apply to item 3).

5. Point 3) applies to students admitted in 2016 and later. In the future, we will make a GPA of 2.0 and above a requirement for graduation.

6. Numbers are rounded to the third decimal place.

7. The grading system devised in the United States is composed of a linear scale and, if the scale if filled, a special description. The variant formulated by the Kyushu University staff (in the form of a table) is a valuable source of information about every unit, along with the syllabuses. The table itself indicates the grading standards corresponding to several evaluation axes. Its basic function is to allow one to examine the extent to which the learning objectives have been accomplished. The rubrics differ depending on each subject's program, category and characteristics. (Repetition)

Last Updated On:2016.2.26

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