BRITISH universities, it appears, are considering abandoning a 200-year oldsystem of degree classification in favour of the American GPA model. At present,students are bunched into grade clusters. The top 10-20% receive a "1st", themajority receive a "2.1" or "two-one" and the stragglers receive either a"two-two" or a "3rd". The latter group can be very small (5%) at the eliteuniversities but is larger nationally.接下来为大家介绍"叙述雅思阅读材料：Coarse Work"
The main reasoning for this is that it is hard for employers to distinguishbetween graduates if everyone has a 2.1 grade. But it is possible for employersto ask for a full transcript of individual grades, though this is not nearly ascommon in Britain as you might expect. The stronger point (which you might havealready picked up on) is that the existing system can be difficult to interpretinternationally. Adopting the GPA system would be helpful to undergraduateswishing to study or work abroad.
I think this might be missing a trick. My experience of the 1st/2.1/2.2system is that it has a very strong effect on students’ work effort. For weakerstudents, either those of lower natural ability or the more workshy, fear of thenotorious "Desmond" (cockney rhyming slang after the eponymous archbishop) isthe ultimate motivator. Many attractive careers simply advertise the minimumrequirement of a 2.1, and therefore getting the lower grade can be quite ahandicap in the job market.
For stronger students, the aspiration of a first, the only truedistinguisher in the system, is also a strong incentive. The risk is thatworking quite hard could leave you with only a high 2.1, largelyindistinguishable from all other 2.1’s. The crudeness of the grading systemdrags everyone up.
An interesting paper by Pradeep Dubey and John Geanakoplos of the Cowlesfoundation at Yale Univeristy makes the same point. They write:
Suppose that the professor judges each student’s performance exactly,though the performance itself may depend on random factors, in addition toability and effort. Suppose also that the professor is motivated solely by adesire to induce his students to work hard. Third and most importantly, supposethat the students care about their relative rank in the class, that is, abouttheir status. We show that, in this scenario, coarse grading often motivates thestudent to work harder.
One might think that finer hierarchies generate more incentives. But thisis often not the case. Coarse hierarchies can paradoxically create morecompetition for status, and thus better incentives for work.
They give a simple example. Suppose there are two students, Brainy andDumbo, with disparate abilities. Brainy achieves a uniformly higher score evenwhen he shirks and Dumbo works. Suppose, for example, that Dumbo scores between40 and 50 if he shirks, and between 50 and 60 if he works, while Brainy scoresbetween 70 and 80 if he shirks and 80 and 90 if he works. With perfectly finegrading, Brainy will come ahead of Dumbo regardless of their effort levels. Butsince they only care about rank, both will shirk.