Comparison of paper grades

What are the Grade Comparison reports?

The Grade Comparison report, also known as the Performance Assessment report, has been produced annually by HEDC since 1999. This report looks at papers at 100, 200 and 300-level with final results from 30 or more students taking at least one other paper at the same level that year. It compares the grades of students in any particular paper meeting the criteria, with the average of the students’ marks in their other papers at the same level taken in that year.

The report comprises a list of papers at each level and what percentage of students received within the same 5% grade range on average for their other papers at the same level, and the percentage of students in the higher and lower categories. Lists of standout papers are included to indicate papers in which 25% – 39%, and over 40%, of students receive marks outside the same 5% grade range (higher or lower) as the average of their other papers in the same level that year. In 2008, 588 papers were included in the Grade Comparison report from 2007 data.

How is the Grade Comparison report circulated?

The report is circulated to Heads of Departments and programme coordinators as well as to the PVCs, the Academic Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and the Vice Chancellor. Extra copies are available from HEDC but the relevant Head of Department or programme coordinator should make the request to ensure that information is circulated appropriately.

What is the purpose of the Grade Comparison reports?

The report is intended primarily as a tool for formative self-evaluation for papers or courses within departments as staff will be aware of their department’s own circumstances. If, for example, marks vary greatly for one year, it may be worth considering what factors may have caused this fluctuation and whether they are desirable. The data may also, for example, indicate consistency of students’ marks compared with the average of their other papers over time. The report is also used for departmental self-reviews as it provides quantitative evidence of a paper’s marks in comparison with other papers at the same level.

What support can HEDC offer?

Academic staff at HEDC are available if the Grade Comparison report shows any results or trends that are of concern. We can provide advice and professional development support on a number of areas including paper or course evaluation, course design, learning and teaching activities, assessment and small or large group teaching. Specific details are available via the Academic Staff Development section of this web site or from the Centre Administration. Email to: hedc@otago.ac.nz.