Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The present higher education curriculum does not impart the necessary skills that would make the students employable adequately. There is a lack of Interdisciplinary approach as well as there is a very little scope for value based courses to be taught. In addition the evaluation methods are largely based on memory recall processes. In addition the students don’t learn to think and analyze on their own. Also, the system is not effective enough in meeting/ empowering students to think or or matters/issues independently

According to National Knowledge Commission (NKC), the Present System is based on Teacher centric approach. But the teacher never asks, “why am I teaching this, what will students do after this exposure?” and what are the kinds of activities student should be engaged to have “learning opportunities”?

In the present system there is no inter-disciplinary mobility is possible.  There is a  lack of multi-disciplinary opportunities ,It  has a closed isolated environment in which the student has no choices and have no opportunity  to walk out and walk in to earn a certification

No scope to introduce latest knowledge in the curriculum, and learning goals of the course and learning objectives of the units/submits never enunciated. matters/issues independently.

There are no opportunities for – Group work – Individual work – Data collection – Field work – Quizzes – Class tests – Community involvement.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has initiated several measures to bring equity, efficiency and excellence in the Higher Education System of country. The important measures taken to enhance academic standards and quality in higher education include innovation and improvements in curriculum, teaching-learning process, examination and evaluation systems, besides governance and other matters.

The ultimate goal is to bring reforms in higher education so that students develop thinking as well as analytical ability, he/she gets equipped with necessary skills ultimately making him/her suitable for an employment and to integrate values of our culture with education.

The academic reforms recommended by the UGC in the recent past have led to overall improvement in the higher education system. However, due to lot of diversity in the system of higher education, there are multiple approaches followed by universities towards examination, evaluation and grading system.

While the higher education institutions must have the flexibility and freedom in designing the examination and evaluation methods that best fits the the curriculum, syllabi and teaching–learning methods, there is a need to devise a sensible system for awarding the grades based on the performance of students. Presently the performance of the students is reported using the conventional system of marks secured in the examinations or grades or both. The conversion from marks to letter grades and the letter grades used vary widely across the HEIs in the country.

The grading system is considered to be better than the conventional marks system and hence  it is desirable to introduce uniform grading system. This will facilitate student mobility across institutions within and across countries and also enable potential employers to assess the performance of students. To bring in the desired uniformity, in grading system and method for computing the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) based on the performance of students in the examinations.

The credit system

A credit system is a systematic way of describing an educational programme by attaching credits to its components. The definition of credits in higher education systems may be based on different parameters, such as student workload, learning outcomes, entrepreneurship skills, contact hours, innovation and Creativity talents, etc.

Choice enables a learner to pursue any area of knowledge domain depending upon his / her interest. Choice also widens the horizon of learner’s intellectual insight as rigidity of present system does not allow pursuit of areas of interest as well as widening the educational horizon of the learner, and provision of choice is an essential condition for broad-based learner’s profile across areas of knowledge.

The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS)

A “cafeteria” type approach in which the students can take courses of their choice, learn at their own pace, undergo additional courses, acquire more than the required credits, and adopt an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

Transformation from the traditional teacher-centered  education to a student-centered education. CBCS provides greater flexibility with multiple exits, multiple pathways, vertical mobility.

The main objectives of CBCS are:

To provide broad based education;

To provide students with greater flexibility in choice of courses;

To provide students multi-disciplinary curriculum;

To enable students to choose courses at basic/advanced level/inter-disciplinary;

To enable students to acquire job oriented skills;

To enable students to progress at their own pace;

To enable highly motivated students gain extra credits; and

To Bridge the gap between professional and social exposure to provide a holistic education.

Learning by Earning Credits

Credits offer flexibility of learning at one’s own pace.

Credits can be earned in a shorter or expanded period depending upon the capacity of the learner.

Provision of transfer of credit is a facility for students to move from one branch to another.

Possibility of doing majors in more than one subject if provision of earning credit is available in the coursework, and

In interdisciplinary courses, credits can be earned by taking courses across departments and institutions.

Advantages of CBCS

Represents a much-required shift in focus from teacher-centric to learner-centric education since the workload estimated is based on the investment of time in learning, not in teaching. Segments learning experience into calibrated units, which can be accumulated in order to gain an academic award.

Helps to record course work and to document learner workload realistically since all activities are taken into account -not only the time learners spend in lectures or seminars but also the time they need for individual learning and the preparation of examinations etc.

Respects ‘Learner Autonomy’. Allows learners to choose according to their own learning needs, interests and aptitudes. Affords more flexibility to the learners allowing them to choose inter-disciplinary courses, change majors, programmes, etc. Affords more flexibility to the learners allowing them to choose inter-disciplinary courses, change majors, programmes, etc.

Represents a much-required shift in focus from teacher-centric to learner-centric education since the workload estimated is based on the investment of time in learning, not in teaching.

Helps to record course work and to document learner workload realistically since all activities are taken into account -not only the time learners spend in lectures or seminars but also the time they need for individual learning and the preparation of examinations etc.

Helps self-paced learning. Learners may undertake as many credits as they can cope with without having to repeat all the courses in a given semester if they fail in one or more courses. Alternatively, they can choose other courses and continue their studies.

Makes education more broad-based. One can take credits by combining unique combinations. Facilitates Learner Mobility. Offers the opportunity to study at different times and in different places. Credits earned at one institution can be transferred to another.

Is beneficial for achieving more transparency and compatibility between different educational structures, and helps to round off valuation errors.

Grading provides a more realistic assessment of the learner.  Advantages of moving away from numerical marking to grading.Stigma of “fail” is minimized in grading.

Grading enables the use of both “absolute” andrelative” grading depending upon the context. Relative grading provides possibilities of placing students in comparable categories regardless of their relative achievements in different subjects, and

The grading system is considered “better” and “desirable” because this will facilitate student mobility across institutions within the country and across other countries, and also enable potential employers to assess the performance of students.

Applicability of the Grading System

To make the things more comprehendible it is essential to know the meaning of the key words used in U.G.C. document related with guidelines applicable to all undergraduate and postgraduate level degree, diploma and certificate programmes under the credit system awarded by the Central, State and Deemed to be universities in India.

Definitions of Key Words:

1. Academic Year: Two consecutive (one odd + one even) semesters constitute one academic year.

2. Choice Based Credit System (CBCS): The CBCS provides choice for students to select from the prescribed courses (core, elective or minor or soft skill courses).

3. Course: Usually referred to, as ‘papers’ is a component of a programme. All courses need not carry the same weight. The courses should define learning objectives and learning outcomes. A course may be designed to comprise lectures/ tutorials/laboratory work/ field work/ outreach activities/ project work/ vocational training/viva/ seminars/term papers/assignments/ presentations/ self-study etc. or a combination of some of these.

4. Credit Based Semester System (CBSS): Under the CBSS, the requirement for awarding a degree or diploma or certificate is prescribed in terms of number of credits to be completed by the students.

5. Credit Point: It is the product of grade point and number of credits for a course.

6. Credit: A unit by which the course work is measured. It determines the number of hours of instructions required per week. One credit is equivalent to one hour of teaching (lecture or tutorial) or two hours of practical work/field work per week.

7. Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA): It is a measure of overall cumulative performance of a student over all semesters. The CGPA is the ratio of total credit points secured by a student in various courses in all semesters and the sum of the total credits of all courses in all the semesters. It is expressed up to two decimal places.

8. Grade Point: It is a numerical weight allotted to each letter grade on a 10-point scale.

9. Letter Grade: It is an index of the performance of students in a said course. Grades are denoted by letters O, A+, A, B+, B, C, P and F.

10. Programme: An educational programme leading to award of a Degree, diploma orcertificate.

11. Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA): It is a measure of performance of work done in a semester. It is ratio of total credit points secured by a student in various courses registered in a semester and the total course credits taken during that semester. It shall be expressed up to two decimal places.

12. Semester: Each semester will consist of 15-18 weeks of academic work equivalent to 90 actual teaching days. The odd semester may be scheduled from July to December and even semester from January to June.

13. Transcript or Grade Card or Certificate: Based on the grades earned, a grade certificate shall be issued to all the registered students after every semester. The grade certificate will display the course details (code, title, number of credits, grade secured) along with SGPA of that semester and CGPA earned till that semester.

Types of Courses:

Courses in a programme may be of three kinds: Core, Elective and Foundation.

1. Core Course:-

This is the course which is to be compulsorily studied by a student as a core requirement to complete the requirement of a programme in a said discipline of study. There may be a Core Course in every semester

2. Elective Course:-

Elective course is a course which can be chosen from a pool of papers. An elective may be “Generic Elective” focusing on those courses which add generic proficiency to the students. An elective may be “Discipline centric”or may be chosen from an unrelated discipline. It may be called an “Open Elective.”   It may be:

 Supportive to the discipline of study

 Providing an expanded scope

 Enabling an exposure to some other discipline/domain

 Nurturing student’s proficiency/skill.

3. Foundation Course:-

They are mandatory for all disciplines.

Elective Foundation courses are value-based and are aimed at man-making education.The Foundation Courses may be of two kinds: Compulsory Foundation and Elective foundation.

“Compulsory Foundation” courses are the courses based upon the content thatleads to Knowledge enhancement.

Examination and Assessment

There is a marked variation across the colleges and universities in the number of grades, grade points, letter grades used, which creates difficulties in comparing students across the institutions. The UGC recommends the following system to be implemented in awarding the grades and CGPA under the credit based semester system.

Letter Grades and Grade Points:

Two methods -Relative grading and Absolute grading–

The relative grading is based on the distribution (usually normal distribution) of marks obtained by all the students of the course and the grades are awarded based on a cut-off marks or percentile.

Under the absolute grading, the marks are converted to grades based on pre-determined class intervals. To implement the following grading system, the colleges and universities can use any one of the above methods.

The UGC recommends a 10-point grading system with the following letter grades as given below:

Table 1: Grades and Grade Points

Letter                 Grade            Grade Point

O                     (Outstanding         10

A+                    (Excellent)               9

A                     (Very Good)             8

B+                    (Good)                      7

B                     (Above Average)      6

C                    (Average)                    5

P                       (Pass)                        4

F                       (Fail)                          0

Ab                   (Absent)                    0

A student obtaining Grade F shall be considered failed and will be required to reappear in the examination.

For non credit courses ‘Satisfactory’ or “Unsatisfactory’ shall be indicated instead of the letter grade and this will not be counted for the computation of SGPA/CGPA.

The Universities can decide on the grade or percentage of marks required to pass in a course and also the CGPA required to qualify for a degree taking into consideration the recommendations of the statutory professional councils such as AICTE, MCI, BCI, NCTE etc.,

The statutory requirement for eligibility to enter as assistant professor in colleges and universities in the disciplines of arts, science, commerce etc., is a minimum average mark of 50% and 55% in relevant postgraduate degree respectively for reserved and general category. Hence, it is recommended that the cut-off marks for grade B shall not be less than 50% and for grade B+, it should not be less than 55% under the absolute grading system. Similarly cut-off marks shall be fixed for grade B and B+ based on the recommendation of the statutory bodies (AICTE, NCTE etc.,) of the relevant disciplines.

Fairness in Assessment:

Assessment is an integral part of system of education .Thus, it becomes bounden duty of a University to ensure that it is carried out in fair manner. In this regard, UGC recommends the following system of checks and balances which would enable Universities effectively and fairly carry out the process of assessment and examination.

i. In case of at least 50% of core courses offered in different programmes across the disciplines, the assessment of the theoretical component towards the end of the semester should be undertaken by external examiners from outside the university conducting examination, who may be appointed by the competent authority. In such courses, the question papers will be set as well as assessed by external examiners.

ii. In case of the assessment of practical component of such core courses, the team of examiners should be constituted on 50 – 50 % basis. i.e. half of the examiners in the team should be invited from outside the university conducting examination.

iii. In case of the assessment of project reports / thesis / dissertation etc. the work should be undertaken by internal as well as external examiners.

Computation of SGPA and CGPA

The UGC recommends the following procedure to compute the Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) and Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA):

i. The SGPA is the ratio of sum of the product of the number of credits with the grade points scored by a student in all the courses taken by a student and the sum of the number of credits of all the courses undergone by a student, i.e SGPA (Si) = ∑(Ci x Gi) / ∑Ci where Ci is the number of credits of the ith course and Gi is the grade point scored by the student in the ith course.

ii. The CGPA is also calculated in the same manner taking into account all the courses undergone by a student over all the semesters of a programme, i.e. CGPA = ∑(Ci x Si) / ∑ Ci where Si is the SGPA of the ith semester and Ci is the total number of credits in that semester.

iii. The SGPA and CGPA shall be rounded off to 2 decimal points and reported in the transcripts.

8. Illustration of Computation of SGPA and CGPA and Format for Transcripts

i. Computation of SGPA and CGPA

Illustration for SGPA

Course    Credit Grade   letter   Grade point   Credit Point(Credit x Grade)

Course 1    3         A            8             3 X 8 =                24

Course 2    4         B+          7             4 X 7 =                28

Course 3   3          B            6              3 X 6 =               18

Course 4   3          O          10             3 X 10 =             30

Course 5   3          C             5              3 X 5 =               15

Course 6   4          B             6              4 X 6 =               24

20   139

Thus, SGPA =139/20 =6.95

Illustration for CGPA

Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Semester 4

Credit : 20    SGPA:6.9

Credit : 22    SGPA:7.8

Credit : 25    SGPA: 5.6

Credit : 26    SGPA:6.0

6 | P a g e

Semester 5 Semester 6

Credit : 26    SGPA:6.3

Credit : 25    SGPA: 8.0

Thus, CGPA = 20 x 6.9 + 22 x 7.8 + 25 x 5.6 + 26 x 6.0 + 26 x 6.3 + 25 x 8.0

_________________________________________ = 6.73


Transcript (Format): Based on the above recommendations on Letter grades, grade

points and SGPA and CCPA, the HEIs may issue the transcript for each semester and a

consolidated transcript indicating the performance in all semesters.



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