Nyström, K. (in press). When students are allowed to choose: grading scale choices for degree projects. Studies in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2017.1290062

Abstract: This paper studies which grading systems students choose for their degree projects when they are given the choice. Furthermore, the motivational factors behind making this choice are investigated. Student record data and a survey of students conducting their degree projects are used to study whether students prefer the Pass/Fail or A-F grading scale for their degree projects. Data from study record transcripts show that 55% of students selected the Pass/Fail scale, whereas 45% opted for the A-F grading scale. The grade point average score among students choosing the Pass/Fail scale is somewhat higher compared to students who choose the A-F grading scale. Reduced stress associated with writing the degree project motivates those who choose the Pass/Fail grading scale. Enhanced motivation to do a good job on the thesis work and perceived good chances of receiving an A grade motivate students who choose the A-F grading scale.