Students, professors seek more accurate grading system

Unlike most of its peer universities, De La Salle University (DLSU) follows a grading system with intervals of 0.5. In this system, a student can receive any grade from 0.00 to 4.00, with 4.0 being the highest possible grade and 0.0, which is considered a failing mark, on the opposite end.

In a survey conducted by The LaSallian, 68 percent of the respondents expressed that DLSU should modify its grading system.

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In a nutshell

DLSU’s grading system is patterned similarly to most American universities’ grade point system. Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) also follows this system, but translates number points to letter grades. On the other hand, most universities in the country follow a number grading system utilizing the same range but with different implications. At the University of the Philippines (UP) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST), their grading systems designate 1.00 as the highest grade given to students, with 4.00 or 5.00 signifying a failed course or subject.

Another difference among these peer universities’ grading systems comes in the form of grade intervals. DLSU and ADMU both make use of a grading system with intervals of 0.5. Meanwhile, UP and UST, like most, offer intervals of 0.25 — which some might argue can reflect student’s grades more accurately.


On point

Dr. Rene Escalante, who chairs the University’s History Department, recounts that the grading system has remained the same since he first entered DLSU as a professor in 1997. As a professor also affiliated with other universities, Dr. Escalante shares his opinion that grades become more accurate if the distances or intervals between them are not that wide. Furthermore, he comments that from the point of view of a student, intervals of 0.25 will enable them to know exactly where they stand in terms of their academic performance.

Accountancy Department Chair Ms. Herminigilda Salendrez echoes this view. She shares, “For me, it would be better to have 0.25 intervals.” She also reasons out that following such a system would reflect more accurate grade.

According to Dr. Escalante, reforming the University’s grading system will result in additional work on the part of professors. However, he shares that he would not mind the additional workload if the objective behind such a major change is to give a more accurate assessment rating for students. “I wouldn’t mind if my transmutation table would [have to] be longer [if it means having] to make additional parameters to satisfy a new grading system,” he quips.


It depends

Students have different takes on the current grading system. Among the respondents, 60 percent state that the grading system of DLSU is efficient and effective. Most of those surveyed reason that the University’s grading system is easy to understand. Additionally, students state that the cut-off grade for passing is straight to the point, making the grading system comprehensive.

The 0.5 interval is also an issue among the students. “I think that it’s very difficult to really effectively measure the [student’s standing] because there are very few grade options,” contends Isabel Menchaca (III, BS-FIN). She explains, “Moreover, it [often] does not recognize the hard work because the student is stuck between a higher or a lower grade [with] no in-betweens.”

Also for this reason, 47 percent — nearly half — of those surveyed believe the current grading system is unjust and unfair. Some survey respondents express that the intervals within and among the grading brackets are too wide to convey accurate results. For instance, a student whose total final points amount to 97 will receive a 4.0, no different from a student whose total sums up to 100. Meanwhile, a student who gets 96 points will receive a 3.5 — a sudden drop which can arguably greatly alter the student’s grade point average (GPA).

In a grading system with 0.25 intervals, the student might be better off receiving a 3.75, which can not only pull his GPA up but also reflect his grade more accurately. In this scenario, the grading system can become unfair. “The 96 gets processed as 3.5, even though it was a point shy of 4.0,” explains Megan Chua (II, ISJ-ADV). Celina Garcia (II, BS-MKT), a transferee from UST, notes that the grading system followed at her former school is more fair. “It’s a better gauge to use [intervals of 0.25] because it’s more just and closer to the [actual] grade a student deserves,” she explains.

“If the grades were 0.25, or 0.2 apart, the grading system would be more accurate and it would provide a bigger grade range,” shares Debrah Louise Tabaquero (II, AB-CAM). She continues, “We’d be able to set a huge difference and distinctions between a passing mark and a failing mark, and a good grade from a bad grade.”

There have been no notable initiatives from either side of the administration or the student body in making changes to the current grading system, which has been utilized in DLSU for years on end. Although this is the case, Dr. Escalante voices out that students and professors alike can always discuss well-established practices to improve them. The current grading system is one of them.



Bianca Suarez

By Bianca Suarez

Althea Gonzales

By Althea Gonzales

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