As I am in the midst in adjusting to my module here, I am beginning to see how different the grading system is in the UK as compared to in the USA. First of all, a student who receives a 70% or better as a final grade in a class in England is equivalent to a student at a university in the states earning an A (right?!). However, it is just as difficult to earn a 70% at a university in the UK as it is to earn an A in a class in the US. This is something very new for me, because I am accustomed to perceiving anything below an 80% as unsatisfactory. But I have been told to not be alarmed if I receive a grade of 60, as this is actually a pretty good mark.
Also different between universities in the UK and USA are how much weight each assignment receives. As a science major, I expect examinations and quizzes to count from anywhere between 60% and 100% of my final grade. Here, my grade consists of three items. My final essay counts as 70% of my grade, with a journal counting as 20% and class participation at 10%. Although it might not sound like much, it is somewhat daunting knowing that a single essay will have such a huge impact on my final grade. On top of this, most work outside of class is spent on reading articles, many of which are very dense. I am more accustomed to reading a textbook and doing practice problems.
What I find most interesting about this module is the informality of the class sessions. Most of the time is spent on discussions, which is something rarely found in a course I would take at home. The professor even takes notes on what students say! That blew me away, but it made me realize that we are educated students, and we are capable of presenting points that a professor may not think of themselves. Overall, this module is very challenging because of the many readings we have to do and class discussions we partake in, but it has given me another perspective about learning as compared to education in America.