Opinion

## GPA System: Confusions Galore

Published On: August 14, 2022 01:45 PM NPT By: Bhuvan Dharel

#### Bhuvan Dharel

The author is a senior researcher at Pioneer Research Center Nepal, Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu.

There are still many guardians and students who are confused about the GPA system. They are misinformed that nobody will fail in SEE and plus two examinations after the introduction of the GPA system.

With the eighth amendment to the Education Act 2016, the SLC Board and HSEB were transformed into SEE and NEB, respectively. Since then, these education boards have adopted the GPA system for evaluation of students through exams, replacing the individual subjects' marks and total percentage system. Indeed the GPA system became new to the students, teachers and the guardians since they were used to the old system of evaluation. To know the result in terms of percentage, many people still convert the GPA scores into percentage. They are in fact unaware that mathematically, GPA scores cannot exactly be converted into percentage.

The National Education Board (NEB) and the Office of the Controller of Examinations recently published the results of this year’s SEE in the letter grading system. People are now converting GPA scores into percentage and those getting high percentages are over the moon while those getting low percentages are down in the dumps. As a matter of fact, GPA stands for Grade Point Average. This grading system is used to measure the performance of students in an academic session. It is only a numerical index that summarizes the academic performance of the students in an academic year. When this numerical index is converted into percentage, it doesn't provide the exact marks and percentage since GPA is given in an average marks appraisal.

As stated by SEE and NEB,  there are nine grading systems such as A+, A, B+, B, C+, C, D, E and N under the letter grading system. A+ means ‘outstanding’ which is given to students scoring between 90 and 100, A to students scoring between 80 and 89, B+ to those scoring between 70 and 79, B to scores between 60 and 69, C+ to scores between 50 and 59, and C to scores between 40 and 49. Similarly, D would be given to scores between 20 and 39, E to scores between 1 and 19 and N meaning ‘not graded’. This means the students who remained absent or those expelled during the exam.

For instance if a student gets an outstanding 'A' plus grade with 4 GPA, does it exactly mean s/he got 100 marks in each subject? Isn't it a blunder to convert and understand this way? Basically, these days I have seen even students securing 'A' plus in mathematics are converting the GPA grade into percentage. Isn't it an irony that even an 'A' plus GPA holder doesn't know the mathematical difference between GPA and percentage? The guardians do trust the percentage converted by their children and they seem to be on cloud nine by understanding their children's result in percentage.

There are still many guardians and students who are confused about the GPA system. They are misinformed that nobody will fail in SEE and plus two examinations. If this misconception outlasts, then it directly hampers producing quality students. If this misconception stimulates the quality of students, the creativity in the students also declines. This doesn't only affect individual students but also the state.

Indeed the students securing low grades are confused over what to study next? It means the students are still confused about the letter grading system. It seems that they are in an intricate situation that neither they fail nor pass. If this dilemma hunts the students, do you think that they can achieve the goal they want? Of course not! As it appears, especially the public school students from the remote areas must be taught about the GPA system.

Basically, introducing the GPA system is positive, but it's high time it was introduced with enough homework. It can be observed that the government failed to prioritize the students' adjustments in higher studies, job market and other sectors. In fact, this new exam evaluation system also couldn't bring significant change in terms of improving the quality of education. As a result the unemployment rate is increasing every year. Unemployment among university graduates is almost 26.1 percent. This number is three times more compared to 8.2 percent of youths who have never attended school. Even though young people are the future of any country, in Nepal their potential remains largely unfulfilled as a result of unemployment.

GPA grading is an internationally practiced evaluation system. It is the only metric or calculation which shows how good you were as a student. But this grading system is new to us. So, isn't it the time when we get to know about this system properly? Especially the Ministry of Education, the boards concerned and schools have to take initiatives under mathematics teachers to make students and guardians know about this system. So that it would ease the confusion over GPA and percentage among students and guardians. Also introducing the GPA system doesn't necessarily help in ensuring quality education. It completely depends on what the state wants their future generations to be. So, the state has to give emphasis on educational policy which could help ensure quality education in the country.