Nigerian Universities operate a Course Unit System of students’ assessment. Examples include the universities of Uyo and Calabar respectively, but in this write-up the former shall be used as our reference point (no particular or special reason for this though, it’s just a choice). By Course Unit System, I’m referring to a system by which the entire academic programme of a student is broken down into levels, and the levels broken down into semesters, and the semesters broken down into number of weeks, and the weeks broken down into credit hours to which individual courses are assigned.
Understand however that there is a difference between the terms “programme of study” and “course of study”. Both do not mean one and the same thing. While the former means an entire embodiment of knowledge a student duly registered in a University is expected to acquire after a stipulated number of years and which would reflect on his certificate, the later simply refers to the individual subjects offered by a student under a particular programme. For example a student could be running a Mechanical Engineering programme under which he/she is expect to offer the following courses: GRE 111, MEE 221, CPE 121, MEE 423, CVE 311, GST 122, PHY 112, MTH 112 etc.
UNDERSTANDING COURSE NAMES, TITLES, CODES, CREDIT HOURS RESPECTIVELY.
Now before we go on take this: here, we A- Accept A’s, B-Belittle B’s, C-Cast Out C’s, D-Delete D’s, E-Eliminate E’s and F-Forsake F’s. Now based on the above, courses are assigned course titles, course codes, and respective credit units. (equivalent to the assigned credit hours for a course per week). Sometimes these credit hours or units are called credit loads or workloads. They all mean one and the same thing. For example taking one of the courses above In the Department of Mechanical Engineering, MEE 221, we have the course title as “Fluid mechanics I”, the course title as, “MEE”, the course code as, “221” and the credit unit (or load) as, “2”. It therefore means that in a week, this course will be offered for only two hours (i.e. two hours will be allotted this course in a week), at a particular lecture hall or venue, and in this university, it is offered as a faculty course. That is, it’s a mandatory course to be taken and passed at least with an “E” grade before a student graduates. Let us now briefly consider course grades and, grading systems, and credit weights.
AN OVERVIEW OF UNIVERSITIES COURSE GRADES, GRADING POINTS, CREDIT WEIGHTS & REMARKS
Before now I mentioned that in the University system here in Nigeria and most other parts of the world, students’ performance may be graded on the A – F grading scale. These also have equivalent numeric weights of 5 – 0. The table below enumerates more:
70% – 100%
60% – 69%
50 %- 59%
45% – 49%
40% – 44%
39% & below
This leads us to the issue of quality points. So what is a quality point, or what are quality points? An understanding of this concept will actually lead us to steps for calculating (i.e., determining) of GPA and CGPA of students in Nigerian Universities, and other Universities around the world.
Definition of Quality Point in University grading system
Quality Point: this simply refers to the product of grade point and credit hour (or unit). Take for example that for a course such as MEE 221 cited above, a student obtained a score of 85 marks when his C/A and examination marks are summed together. That means he got an “A” in that course. That “A” then gives allots him a Grade point of 5. Being a two-hour course, the course’s credit hour is therefore, 2. To get the Quality Point for this student offering this course therefore, we multiply his Grade Point by his Credit Unit, and that is, 5 * 2 = 10. His quality point is therefore, 10 points for MEE 221 course.
Let’s assume the student scored obtained a “B” in this course, MEE 221. It means therefore that his Quality point would be, Grade point * Credit Hour. i.e., 4 * 2 = 8. If he happens to get a “C, it therefore means his Quality Point would be, Grade Point * Credit Hour, i.e., 3 * 2 = 6. This continues and so on and so forth till it reaches zero grade point, which means the student failed the course (must have had a score equivalent to what is outlined in the table above). As such, his quality point would therefore be “0”. Sometimes “Quality point” is termed, “Q-Point” in short. This however does not distort the term of its usual generic meaning.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRADE POINT AND CREDIT UNIT/LOAD/HOUR
The foregoing has clearly shown that a difference do exist between the two terms, “Grade Point” and “Credit Unit or Load”. The former refers to the numeric assessment weight based on performance. The later is simply the time allocation for a particular course to be administered to students within an academic week. This has already been explained above. Now since time cannot be “changed” arbitrarily, the credit unit is therefore fixed, fixed by the school. But grade point is determined by individual students’ performance, so it changes. Perhaps, we may say that the Grade Point Is determined by the student.
ELECTIVE, REQUIRED AND PREREQUISITE COURSES
In the University system, there are basically three levels of courses offered. These may be either ELECTIVE, REQUIRED or PREREQUISUTE Courses. Let us look at them below briefly.
1.ELECTIVE COURSES: these are course optional to the students. Here the student chooses whether or not he/she should take a particular course. Two circumstances make this possible. The first instance is that a student has the privilege of offering ALL the courses in the University. But he/she would not always do so since he/she would not have all the time in the world to do so. He may attend the lectures he chooses to anyway, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he/she would write exam on them.
Another instance (which is more peculiar) is the fact that ELECTIVE COURSES are usually taken in the Final year of students’ programmes. Here, they have the opportunity to make choice of the particular course(s) they wish to have specialty in. so elective courses are more or less selective courses.
Elective Courses are peculiar to individual departments. Someone offering Medicine and Surgery would not offer an elective in the Faculty of Social Sciences, i.e., Communication Arts department, and vice-versa.
2.REQUIRED COURSES: these are compulsory courses a student must offer before graduation from a particular programme. In all Universities, they are three in number, and they include:
a.University required courses.
b.Faculty required courses.
c.Departmental Required courses.
University required courses are those offered by every university across the country. That is, similar course is offered in all the Universities nationwide, and by ALL students in a given University. Example of such courses are the General Studies Courses, i.e., GSTs (or GSS) courses. A student must obtain at least a Pass in this course before he/she may graduate.
Faculty required courses are those offered in a particular faculty by all members of the faculty of a particular University. That means it is a compulsory course(s). MEE 221 cited above for example is a faculty required courses in the University of Uyo, others include CVE and GRE courses. CVE courses are Civil Engineering Courses, while GRE courses are Faculty of Engineering general courses in the University of Uyo.
Departmental Required courses: just as we have compulsory courses across and within Universities and faculties, there are also courses compulsory for a particular department. Basically, a student is expected to clear (i.e., obtain at least passes) in all his/her departmental courses before graduation. In the Law Department for example, the Departmental Required courses include PUL 211, PIL 211 etc.
3. PREREQUISITE COURSES
These are not any different courses in the true sense of the word. Rather, they refer to the order of arrangement of the courses, as they should appear on the course form for example. Now, if a student happens to fail a particular course(s), it is advised and required of him to place and offer such courses first before offering other courses. This priority of arrangement that places higher premium on the offering of failed, general, faculty courses etc is what is termed Prerequisite courses.
HOW TO COMPUTE GPA OF A STUDENT IN THE UNIUYO
I have already mentioned and explained what grade point, credit unit, quality point etc means. In this section, I will be showing you how to compute your GPA based on these foundations. Later I will show you how to also compute your CGPA. But then, what does these terms mean?
GPA: Grade Point Average. This is the quotient value obtained by dividing the sum total of all quality points obtained by a student in a semester by the sum total of credit units. Ideally, the sum total of credit units is 24 points (0r units) maximum and 15 points minimum. It varies between schools, but here, that is the standard. Let us do a little analysis below for a 100 level student of Electrical/Electronic Engineering of UNIUYO in his first semester. Note however that these data are purely hypothetical. They are used only for explanation purposes.
Now, for a year-one undergraduate (i.e., a fresher) in the above department, the maximum credit unit is 15 points in the first semester, so we use that. See a breakdown of his courses, grades, grade points, credit units and quality points in the table below:
So from the table above, we see that;
*Sum total of Credit Unit = 1 + 4+ 2+2+2+1+2+1 = 15points.
*Sum total of Quality Points = 5 + 16+ 10+6+6+1+10+2 = 56points.
Hence, the GPA = Sum of Quality Points Sum of credit Units
= 56 /15 = 3.73
It therefore means the student had a GPA of 3.73 for that particular semester. In the circumstance however, were the student to have all A’s in all the courses, his GPA would have been exactly 5.00. I hope you can work around this and know how it’s possible. If YES, comment below. If NO, still comment below for guidance. We can then go ahead to compute the student’s CGPA.
HOW TO CALCULATE/COMPUTE A STUDENT’S CGPA IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES
CGPA: Cumulative Grade Point Average. This simply refers numeric value obtained by a student on dividing the sum total of his/her overall Quality points by the total credit hours obtained (or accumulated) over his/her entire stay in the university. By this my definition, I’ve been able to cover the fact that a student may have extra years in addition to his/her normal programme tenure. This is also accounted for while computing the CGPA, hence it is cumulative.
So if we add up the entire Quality Points for the candidate above., for all the semesters, whose programme lasts five years, and divide same with his/her total credit points for the five year period (and the extra years if any), and divide the former by the later, then we would have realized the students CGPA. At the end of the day, the students would then be awarded a class of certificate based on the numeric value of his/her CGPA at the end of his/her academic tenure in the school. It could be first class honours, second class upper-division honours, second class lower-division honours, a third class, or a pass. However, there is no certificate or class of honour for “fail”.
We hope you have been educated and informed, even as we would love to receive your response(s) via comments below.
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