At Leeds University, I was working on the interface between two very different faculties, Arts (with Philosophy) and Science or Engineering (with Computing). This made me highly aware of the inconsistencies across the University, whereby students on interdisciplinary degree programmes could be treated very unfairly.
In 1992, the University started to think seriously about harmonisation of its degree classification procedures, which until that time had been evolving quite separately in each department. Within the Arts Faculty, a number of proposals were circulated, but these were mathematically defective or logically incoherent in various ways, as I pointed out to the Faculty Dean. He then invited me to try to come up with something better, whereupon I set about analysing the previous three years of classification data (all that were available on the central database), with the aim of producing a system which would be provably coherent while fitting as closely as possible with previous practice (across all faculties). The "Grade Score System" that I developed was duly accepted by the Arts Faculty, and operated from 1995 until 1999. Meanwhile the other three faculties had all come up with their own systems, all different ...
Then, in 1997, an impending external University Audit threw a spotlight on the Leeds classification systems, making their persisting inconsistencies a matter of considerable concern. Having based my own earlier work on a substantial cross-faculty analysis, I was in a good position to assist, and was eventually able to persuade both the relevant University officials, and the Senate, to adopt a single classification system, which has been in operation at Leeds since 2000 (though formally adopted in 1998). The outline of this system is on the University of Leeds website:
- Degree Classification at the University of Leeds (summary document)
or for a more detailed explanation, see:
- The Decimal Grade System of Degree Classification, prepared for the University Audit in 2000 (This has been cited in other publications on degree classification, including the "Burgess Group" report on Measuring and recording student achievement, commissioned by Universities UK)