Opinion 5/1-17 9:09

We should use the American grading scale

The Danish grading scale works poorly due to large numerical differences between grade levels, leading to many top marks

The Danish grading system is up for debate again. Education minister Søren Pind (V) wants a new grade to reward the particularly excellent performance.

I agree that the Danish scale is bad. But I disagree with Søren Pind on exactly what the problem is.

Let's try to compare with the American scale:
A, A-, B +, B, B-, C +, C, C, D, and F

There are minor variations within the United States. A few places have A +, others don’t use C-, and some places don’t use the + and - .

There are, of course, numerical values on the letter grades. In the movie Rainman, Charlie Babbitt tells us that he had a ‘4.0 average’ in high school, but that his father did not appreciate it. He had, in other words, an A in all his subjects. If we were to compare with the Danish scale, it is easier to multiply all the values by three. Then you get: 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 3 and 0

In comparison, we have the Danish scale: 12, 10, 7, 4, 2, 0, -3.

I find it hard to see why we need the grade -3. But the real problem with the Danish scale is that differences between grades are way too dramatic. It is very difficult to give grades on a scale with these leaps between grades. This apparently leads to the effect that when you fluctuate between 10 and 12, it might too often land on a 12.

If we introduced the American scale, it would be easy to explain to the world what our grades mean, and we would have a scale that has survived for almost 100 years in the US.



Danish vs. American

By Erika on 13. January 2017, 2:56.

I'm American and find the Danish grading system confusing. The benefit to using the American one is that it translates easily into G.P.A (out of 4.0) which is a quick indicator of how you are doing overall. It's also easy to grade papers if you are using percentages because 100 is an A, 90 is a B, and so forth. Anything below a 60 is failing.

The devil is in the detail

By Wender Bredie on 10. January 2017, 23:52.

The current Danish grading scale was intended to make the Danish grades compare to the 7 category European ECTS scale. Despite the existence of the ECTS scale, many countries maintained their grading practices, using more detailed scales as the ECTS scale has not enough levels to distinguish the achieved level of proficiency. The ECTS scale was intended to create a framework to be used to effectively "translate" and "transcript" a grade from one institution/country to another.

I never understood that the current Danish grading scale was created on this apparent misunderstanding. Of course the ECTS scale had to have some fewer categories to condense the variety of more detailed scaling systems in order to make them comparable at the "transcript" level.

Even though the old Danish scale with the 13 seems to be numerically a little odd. It was probably intended to make the distinction between 11 and 13 in such a way that 13 really is something outstanding. It clearly shows the problem with the current 7 category scale. A grade of 12 means semantically “outstanding performance with only minor errors”. This may be fine when making the "transcript", but cannot make the distinction between “outstanding” and “outstanding with only minor errors”. The devil is namely in the detail.

I fully agree in creating a more detailed Danish gradin scale again. The 10 category scale formerly used in Denmark and currently in the US seems pretty fine. I hope though for an outstanding expert committee to take the lead on this.

American Grade Scale vs the Old Danish Grade Scale

By Marianne on 10. January 2017, 18:50.

Note that the grade scale that Erik Kjær advocates to resemble the American grade scale:

12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 3 and 0

is essentially the old Danish 13-scale, where 12 was substituted by 13.

I know that many instructors miss the old grading scale exactly because there is indeed a need for a grade '11' and because of the large span of qualities that grade 7 in the new system covers. It is really not the optimal (or fair) way to give grades.

So, we could just go back to the old 13-scale!?

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Campus 10/1-17 13:02 1

Dorms Disclosed: Oresundskollegiet 2.0

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Things have changed quite a bit since we looked at Oresundskollegiet back in 2014. The University Post dropped by to see what life is like now at the dorm.

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