Absolute Grading

Absolute grading is a grading system where students are awarded grades on previously established standards of performance. Each group of points is assigned a letter grade, and whatever the score achieved by the student, that is their grade. Many schools around the world follow the absolute grading system to assign letter grades. Each student’s grade is directly correlated to their academic achievement of defined learning objectives or pre-defined academic benchmarks.

For example, a standard absolute grading scale assigns an A grade to points ranging from 90-100, B grade to 80-89, C to 70-79, D for 60-69, and an F grade to 59 points and below. If ever the exams are too tricky, fewer A grades will be awarded while there will be a lot more D grades and E grades. Apart from modifying the rules in the middle of the semester, there is no solution if the entire class fails. A particularly tough final could wipe out all the As in the class, thus reducing the overall class performance in the absolute grading system. 

It can have another drawback. The rigidity of the scale can often miss out on students’ actual abilities and possible achievements. It can also allow all the students to receive the same grade and thus not provide the information needed to screen students in competitive situations.

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