So far, I have attended 6 weeks of classes at UNSW and have seen some very distinct differences in the way courses are taught and evaluated as compared to back home at UConn. Back home, most of my UConn courses were graded by completing many exams, homework assignments, essays and projects. The overall grade was broken down into many different components, meaning each was not weighted as much individually. Here at UNSW, the final exams alone can be worth 40% or more for your overall grade and there may be only 3 or 4 components that make up your overall grade. At UNSW, there is significantly more pressure placed on performing well on the fewer assignments you have during the semester, due to their heavy weight in relation to your overall score.
Another thing I noted was that UNSW courses assignments are heavily writing based. My intersession course at UNSW had only written assignments and no exams. With the writing assignments, they place a very large emphasis on having multiple sources that are either primary sources or peer-reviewed journal articles. Backing up your writing with proven evidence is key to being successful in your writing at UNSW.
What I believe to be the biggest distinction between UConn and UNSW is the grading criteria. In the United States, when professors grade presentations or essays, they will start at the score 100 and take off marks for incorrect or missing answers, decreasing the score lower. However, at UNSW, graders start with 0 and work upwards. So, for every correct aspect of the assignment, you gain more points. There is a significant numerical distance between 0 and 100, so it is much harder to earn your way all the way up from 0 to a score closer to 100. Due to this style of grading, students who score of 65-74 are considered to have shown a good performance. Receiving a score of 75-84 is considered a superior performance and is a “distinction”. And an 85+ is considered a high distinction, which only a very select few students earn. Professors rarely believe in giving 100s, unless the paper worthy of being published. This vastly differs from the U.S. grading scale, where an 85 is worth a B which is more of an average grade and it is not uncommon to score a grade within the 90s. I had to adapt my mentality to accept that my grades will be lower here than back home. The UConn study abroad recognizes the difference in grading and scales the grades accordingly when they are transferred back home.
Immersing myself in a new style of teaching was definitely a learning curve but is all part of the unique experience associated with enrolling directly into a new university.
Student, UConn School of Business
Hello UConn! My name is Victoria Myers and I am a junior accounting major with a minor in economics. In my free time, I play on UConn’s club field hockey team, volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I am also a member of the UConn Consulting Group. A fun fact about myself is that I was born on Halloween; however, ironically, I am terrified of horror movies and the scary aspects of Halloween. View Posts