UoPeople – How does the grading work?

J. Francois Barnard – 31 October 2019

Every student should know how the grading works. UoPeople uses peer assessments and instructor assessments, and it is essential to know how it works.

I grew up in South Africa, and here, the grading worked more or less as follows:

Grade Marks
A 80% – 100%
B 70% - 79%
C 60% - 69%
D 50% - 59%
E 49% and below (Fail)

UoPeople does it somewhat differently:

Grade Grade Scale Grade Points
A+ Excellent 98% – 100% 4.00
A Excellent 93% - 97% 4.00
A- Excellent 90% - 92% 3.67
B+ Above average 88% - 89% 3.33
B Above Average 83% - 87% 3.00
B- Above Average 80% - 82% 2.67
C+ Average 78% - 79% 2.33
C Average 73% - 77% 2.00
C- Average 70% - 72% 1.67
D+ Poor 68% - 69% 1.33
D Poor 63% - 67% 1.00
D- Poor 60% - 62% 0.67
F Fail Under 60% N/A

Editor 2022: Please note that in graduate school, the lowest grade to pass is a C - below 73% you fail.

During your studies, you will (hopefully) see that you are “in good standing,” meaning that your grades are high enough (CGPA ≥ 2.0) that you can continue at a steady pace to complete your degree. If you are not in good standing, you should receive some communication from the university about it.

study008At my age, I cannot afford the luxury of an abundant social life like young students do, so I work hard at keeping my CGPA above 3.00 to fast-track my degree and complete it in under four years. At my current pace, I should finish it in 3¼ years.

I find that as an older student, I am now much more focused on my academic work than I was when I started studying engineering at the University of Pretoria. At the time, 50% was a pass, and anything above that was exemplary work!

Every term, UoPeople honours those students who do well. It publishes three lists on the Moodle server:

  1. Honour’s List for students maintaining a CGPA of 3.00 to 3.499
  2. Dean’s List for students holding a CGPA of 3.50 to 3.849
  3. President’s List for students holding a CGPA of 3.85 to 4.00

(“CGPA” means “cumulative grade point average.”)

By graduation, the final honours are:

CGPA Honour’s Translated from Latin
3.50 - 3.69 Cum Laude With Distinction
3.70 - 3.84 Magna Cum Laude With great Distinction
3.85 - 4.00 Summa Cum Laude With the Highest Distinction

I believe that every student should aim for the highest marks possible. What is the value of all your time spent at a university if you only mastered 60% of your courses? Is 80% not better? How about 90% or 100%?

Sal Khan mentions in a TED talk, Let’s teach for mastery, not test scores, that students should aim to master their work to have proper foundations to build on. If there are gaps in your knowledge, you cannot proceed to the next level. You have to go back and fill those gaps with the needed knowledge so that you can build on it.

It is not that difficult to get high marks at UoPeople. It only requires constant hard work and dedication.

That’s all.