AUC to Switch to Dutch Grading System, with Final Details Still Outstanding

By Levin Stamm and Milan Matthes Kale

Collage by Amal

Letter grades – much of AUC’s academic life revolves around them. The United States’ grading system, ranging from A+ as the highest and F as the lowest grade, has been part of AUC since it took up operation in 2009.

The letters are soon to disappear from AUC students’ report cards. As The Herring has learned from various sources, AUC is about to transition to the Dutch grading system, with 10 as the highest and 1 as the lowest grade, tentatively taking effect at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.

Dr. Michiel van Drunen, Director of Education at AUC, confirms that the management team (MT) has decided on 17 January to go ahead with the implementation of the new grading system. The initial decision was already taken in 2020 and the adaptation to the academic standards and procedures was supposed to be completed by the start of the current academic year. “But it was postponed because of the pandemic and the workload in the registrar’s office,” van Drunen says.

The exact details of the transition are yet to be finalised. The Grading System Advisory Committee – the committee responsible to lead the transition – compiled a report that was shared with the Board of Studies (BoS) and the Student Council (SC) last week. The committee also consisted of past SC members and BoS student representatives that have already graduated.

Exactly how the transition would affect current AUC students’ GPA calculation is unclear as of now. BoS student representative Theresa Hobe says that the details of the implementation are still subject to discussion. Both the BoS and the SC will be given the opportunity to provide feedback on the MT’s proposal in the coming weeks. Also the specific wording will have to be confirmed by the BoS, before being implemented in AUC’s academic standards and procedures.

The student council welcomes the transition to the Dutch grading system: “Right now, students’ GPAs are disproportionately affected depending on whether their percentage grade falls into the lower or upper grade boundary,” student council co-chair Maxence Liesenborgs says. In the past, this has made a difference for some students graduating either cum laude or summa cum laude. The new scale would allow for a more nuanced categorisation of grades.

According to Franco Del Bono Lonardi, the student representative of the Council of Deans, the change will affect all students still studying at the time of implementation, although he believes that previous grades will not be converted to the new system. The double rounding of grades – from a percentage to a letter grade and then to a GPA – was one of the reasons that prompted the change, Del Bono Lonardi says. The replacement of “the middle man” should work to mitigate the issue.

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