Why is the UK university grading system very different than other parts of the world

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iamjoecll
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I live abroad and when I was applying to different universities and searching I found that the grading systems were not similar in any way or form and I wanted to know why?

I am not really sure about this information but online it says most 1st class degree is from 70%. The university I applied to says the 1st class is from 3.67-4.00 GPA and the grading system is that an A- (84% - 89) = 3.67 so that means I need at least 84% to get a first-class degree and I just want to know why its drastically different. are UK universities harder?
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mnot
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(Original post by iamjoecll)
I live abroad and when I was applying to different universities and searching I found that the grading systems were not similar in any way or form and I wanted to know why?

I am not really sure about this information but online it says most 1st class degree is from 70%. The university I applied to says the 1st class is from 3.67-4.00 GPA and the grading system is that an A- (84% - 89) = 3.67 so that means I need at least 84% to get a first-class degree and I just want to know why its drastically different. are UK universities harder?
Its all relative, UK universities mark according to the marking and expectations.

The mark schemes are structured to suit the grading criteria, it’s not worth comparing like this.
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iamjoecll
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So its kind of like the UMS system a levels used in the past?
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artful_lounger
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As above, they aren't directly comparable. A student from a US university who gets on average 85% in their classes would not get 85% if they were marked under the UK marking scheme - they would probably get around 60%. And that's assuming the actual assessment formats are comparable, and in general they are not. The way the marks are given and marking schemes arranged are completely different, and in the UK there is generally "more room at the top" for students to demonstrate higher level scholarly work, which is possible because the work is structured to be more open-ended, typically. That said, this does vary between subjects a bit.

US colleges tend to have more multiple choice type assessments (usually with negative marking), where you are essentially starting at 100 and being marked down for every question not answered or answered in correctly - even in subjects like history or English literature. They also tend to have more, smaller bits of assessment, compared to the UK having one or two major pieces of submitted work and/or a long exam contributing to the majority of the module mark. In a 3 hour exam with open ended essay questions, the examiners are then marking "positively", i.e. giving you marks where they find content that meets the exam rubrics. As a result, there is no real "perfect" answer to start from (although in STEM subjects this is less often the case).
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