ECTS grading scale - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a system of academic credit transfer used by institutions of higher education across Europe. This system of transferring credits works on ECTS grades. Let us understand it in detail what they are and how they are correlated.
ECTS Credit points
Before working out ECTS grades it is necessary to know what exactly is ECTS credit points, how are they scored and how are they calculated?
The amount of workload while completing a course, module, seminar, degree, doctorate etc., is measured in terms of credits. A student needs to achieve a minimum of credit score to complete the module, semester etc. of the course that is being pursued. This implies that the student should take up the minimum of workload for successfully achieving the credit. The workload may mean attending regular classes; it may also include examinations, internship, research etc. The inclusions of workload depend on type of course you are pursuing and the policy of educational institution/university from where you are pursuing the course. Every institution has different parameters for what you can count as your workload and what not.
Similarly, every institution in the same/different country gives 1 credit to working for a different number of hours. For example, in countries like Germany, Belgium, Romania etc. 1 ECTS means 30 study hours; whereas in Finland 1 ECTS is equal to 27 study hours and so on it varies in all European countries which are part of ECTS system. However, it would be right to say that in most cases 25-30 hours count for 1 credit.
The total numbers of credits one needs to score for clearing a particular degree also differ. Usually, a student needs 60 ECTS credits for 1-year studies, 120 ECTS credits for 2 years (Masters or other) program and 180 ECTS credits for 3 years (Bachelors or another program).
If a student successfully scores a number of credits required to pass course he/she is pursuing, he will be awarded degree or certificate as the case may be. The student will be given a transcript of record stating the grade under which he falls (which in turn depends on the number of credits he has received). Following is the scale for ECTS grade that is being followed by every educational institution linked with ECTS for their every course:
- Grade A is awarded to best 10 % of students. It defines the outstanding performance of the student in the course undertaken.
- Grade B is awarded to next 25 % of students. This marks them above average as they committed some errors.
- Grade C is awarded to next 30 % of students. It implies their work is generally sound. However, they have made notable errors.
- Grade D is given to next 25 % of students.
- Grade E is marked for next 10 % of students implying the student has just met the minimum criteria.
- Grade FX stands for fail (but can be passed if he gives some more work).
- Grade F stands for fail (which means considerable further work is required).
If the student receives the transcript with Grade FX or Grade F mentioned on it, he may be given chance to re-sit for achieving the credits, usually by paying extra charges. Again, this policy differs from institution to institution.
Benefits of ECTS grading system
- This centralized grading scale has given mobility to students between courses, institutions, and countries. Now they can choose to pursue undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees from different institutions and even different countries without hassles of scores variation which otherwise would be difficult in the absence of such a common grading scale.
- Additionally, they have a wider choice of courses now as they can pursue their choice of course offered by any institution or university across Europe.
- The common grading scale has also given wider recognition to the education undertaken by any institution associated with ECTS, as that institution and its evaluation system will be recognized across Europe with this grading system.
- This grading is system is transparent, unbiased and easy to understand for the student. The best benefit is individual grades can be converted easily for the student transfer from one educational institution to another. This conversion rate may differ from one country to another so carefully check the rates before conversion. For instance, 5 ECTS credits are equivalent to 2.5 American credits.
- This system is greatly beneficial for students opting for exchange programs.
- It ensures equality for the local student and a visiting student (from other institution or country).
Europe wide recognition of grades adds value to course pursued and helps students find a job easily.
- Academic work is also simplified for the educational institution with this system.
This ECTS system has been widely adopted by numerous renowned educational institutions in countries like United Kingdom, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Romania, Finland and many others in the list. Undoubtedly, this is indicative of its importance and popularity. If you are hoping to pursue a course abroad, for any duration, then this system has given you wings. You can go ahead without any apprehensions of the success of your career and pursue your desired course in your choice of educational institution/university anywhere in Europe. Settling with a wonderful job after your course or pursuing with further education in another institution would not be difficult with this common grading system, ECTS that has gained recognition across Europe thereby giving your probable degree same recognition.