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Grading System in the Netherlands
송서희 영어영문학과 4학년  |  tribune1968@cnumedia.com
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승인 2016.09.09  14:22:32
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn


    I studied at the University of Groningen (RUG), in the Netherlands as an exchange student for the past 10 months. For 10 months, I experienced a totally different world and new cultures by studying and living there and traveling around Europe, which broadened my perspective and social network. Those were the best years of my life. However, to most Koreans, the Netherlands is relatively strange and unfamiliar in comparison with other European countries like the U.K. or France. When I first went to the country, everything seemed very strange to me, ranging from their language to their appearance. (You know that Dutch guys’ average height is 183cm so I had to always look up at them.)
    In fact, there are many differences between life in the Netherlands and in Korea. I could also see these differences in the education system. The teaching style, atmosphere in the class, exams and evaluation systems were different. I want to talk about the RUG’s evaluation system. RUG uses an absolute grading system depending on test scores, and they give points ranging from 1 to 10 instead of A, B, C. If students score above 6 on midterm and final exams, they could pass subjects and get credits. If they do not get over 6, they could redo the exam to get the credits. Remember the passing grade is 6! Someone might think that grade 6 is not difficult. However, the difficulty of the tests at RUG is high for Dutch students as well as for exchange students. Therefore, passing with grade 6 is not easy and many students redo exams. Generally, students who have good grades receive 7-8. In fact, getting grade 9 or 10 is impossible. Also, they do not need it. If you want to get grade 10, you must pass every exam, assignment and presentation with perfect scores, 10. 


    Furthermore, professors do not give high grades due to the university's policy. I heard that the university does not want professors to grade generously, because they want to raise their reputation by kicking out students below certain standards. Plus, Dutch undergraduates tend to think GPA in a master’s program is more important than in college because master's degrees are more influential for a career. So many students say 6 is enough! Actually, it was really hard for me to pass the exams as a foreign non-native student at the university of Groningen.
    Here is the problem of grade conversion. The present grading system at Chonnam National University (CNU) does not reflect this situation. I heard that Grade 10 at RUG can be transformed into A+ at CNU and 6 into C+. However, as I said before, just passing with 6 is not easy. These two grades have different values. Therefore, this 6 at RUG cannot be the C+ at CNU. I just hope things will improve immediately.
    After being an exchange student, my GPA has become lower than before. It seems bad for graduation or my future career. However, I will never regret my decision. Those were the happiest moments in my life ever. Sometimes I get stressed out about grades, but most days, I enjoy my life and focus on me without worrying about realistic problems. Therefore, if someone is considering being an exchange student, I would strongly recommend that you challenge yourself and do it. It is absolutely worth it!

By Song Suh-hee, Senior, Dept. of English Language and Literature

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