But I have a question … ‘I have heard something about a “HEAR” or “GPA” – what are these?

Universities in the UK are trying out more ways to be fairer to students who are very skilled at what they do, but may not get the best results academically. The result of discussions on how to do this has appeared in the Higher Education Achievement Report, a document which provides information about academic and non-academic activities undertaken during your time at university.

It is broken down into seven sections:

  1. Data about the individual – name, date of birth, etc.
  2. Confirms the qualification title.
  3. Confirms how the qualification fits with others (an MSc is higher than a BSc, for example).
  4. Qualification details – module and qualification results, mode of study, etc.
  5. What the qualification is intended to help an individual do (e.g. enter a career in …).
  6. Extra-curricular activities, awards, particular achievements and prizes.
  7. Authentification of the HEAR.
  8. Weblink to the relevant national university system of the institution.

At present, there are few employers really engaged with or intending to use this, and the number of institutions effectively engaging with it is still fairly small, but the intention of the UK government is to increase the availability of the HEAR across universities and also increase its use by employers, and the expectation is that the latter will engage with it more.

Details are available at the HEAR website: http://www.hear.ac.uk/ 

Some UK universities are also considering the use of Grade Point Average, a cumulative marking system used more in the US and internationally than in Europe. Students in the USA – where a fail mark is anything less than 60 – receive one of five grades – 0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0 (or 4.33, representing an A+ grade). Graduation or passing is usually dependant on achieving 2.0 or sometimes 2.75, depending on the university.