Volume 10 Issue 1 (2021)

Avoiding Fuzzy Letter Grading Systems: Designed Research to Ensure Fair Translation of Academic Performance into Letter Grades That Provide Tangible Measures of the Skills International Employers Seek from College Graduates

pp. 76-92  |  Published Online: June 2021  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2021.101.5

Kyffin Bradshaw


Background/purpose – College graduates from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) often seek regional and international employment. However, grading systems differ across countries and regions, making it difficult for international and regional employers to accurately interpret and translate foreign Letter Grades into the skills and personal attributes graduates need to secure regional and international employment. This study investigated the ability of SIDS to adequately represent on the global labor market the employability of their graduates after having completed a program specifically guided by learning outcomes, assessments, and Letter Grading.

Materials/methods – Bayesian statistics is considered robust in providing empirical evidence. Consequently, it was employed in this study to look for evidence linking the evaluation descriptors SIDS use in their Letter Grading System to the skills and levels their graduates actually attained in order to make them employable on equal grounds.

Results – The findings suggest that the Letter Grading System used by SIDS is inadequate for reliably communicating the level of academic mastery and competencies needed for graduating students to achieve employability on the international market.

Conclusion – Ultimately, SIDS must design and implement ambiguity-free, homogeneous Letter Grading Systems that include comprehensive qualitative indicators of the evaluation criteria used to rank their graduates if they are to convey valid and consistent messages to those who need to interpret them (i.e., prospective employers).

Keywords: Employability, Assessment, Bayesian statistics, Letter grade system.


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