It is probably one of the most sought after question from students willing to get admission in NUST and freshmen alike. But sadly it remains unanswered till the end of first semester. Relative grading is not only important during the NUST admission process but it is also very important during your academic year- during admission process it determines your merit position and during academic year—GPA.
But first let’s revisit our marking strategy in HSSC i.e. absolute grading. It’s simple. You get 80+, you get an A+. 70-80 A, and so on and so forth. There is no limit how many can have A’s or F’s. Simple?
Not so simple in relative grading. Say there are a hundred students appearing in a test. They all score varying marks from 20 to 70. So, how are the positions defined here? Well, the one with 70 gets the first position and say the next person has 60 marks, so he get second position and so on and so forth. Pretty much the same as positions are determined in HSSC examinations. By the way this is called “percentile.” Notice the gap of scored marks between first and second position.
How does it happen in grading: Let’s say 20 students scored from 60 to 70 and ten students scored from 20 to 30. Now we try to evenly distribute the total number of students over the marks they achieved (ignoring the total marks). It looks something like this.
Based on these demarcations, grades are assigned in relative grading.Dwelling deeper. This was a very superficial view. There are certain technical terms involved in making these demarcations.
- The most important; mean/average of the marks obtained.
- Standard deviation; to estimate the spread of students around mean.
Here is how it would look like.
So the actual grading takes places by assigning a grade to “average bar” (Let’s say C). So, on the right you get higher grades based on standard deviation and on left you get lower grades. I hope you now have a fair idea of how your positions are determined or how is your GPA determined. Now your turn. What benefits of relative grading could you think other than using statistics?How does relative grading affected your first semester’s GPA?