ONE OF the trickiest part about your GPA, also called hakjeom, is that sometimes your grade differs according to the method of evaluation. Many students prefer an absolute standard, since they regard it is easier to get an "A" because the proportion of A's is unlimited. Yet, most classes are based on the relative evaluation system, under which students are in competition with each other. As criteria for evaluation differ from course to course, students have various views on the evaluation systems, depending on their departments. The Yonsei Annals asked students which evaluation system would be most suitable for college education, the relative standard or the absolute one?
(Soph., Dept. of Mech. Engin.)
It is ideal to evaluate students through an absolute standard that sets a definite score that students should achieve for each grade. By this method, each student can objectively assess their academic capacity, instead of just caring how much one is better than other classmates. Although students generally receive better grades through the absolute criteria rather than the relative one, such cases do not apply to the courses I major in. In my department, a student can receive an "A" only when a student obtains more than 90% of the total score under the absolute standard. As this is the case in general, it is very difficult to satisfy the standard given by the professor, resulting in many students receiving low grades most of the time. Nevertheless, I think absolute evaluation is better for improving the students' academic ability. This is because students can try harder to reach the "absolute" high standard set by the professor; otherwise, students will be satisfied simply when their score is higher than other classmates.
(Soph., University College, Human Ecology)
I believe that competition with others is the most effective way of encouraging students not to be outdone by their classmates. Under the absolute evaluation method, sometimes students get grades that they do not deserve when generous professors give high grades to most of their students. However, it is reasonable for those who have studied hard to get a higher score and higher grade. In addition, I think it is absurd to apply an absolute standard for many lectures given in English which are not different from any other lectures in Korean in terms of contents or level of the lecture.
(Jr., Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engin.)
I prefer the absolute standard rather than the relative standard. I could receive better grades under the absolute standard than under the relative standard. For example, when I was taking Electronic Circuits I, I got a B+, not A-, just by missing 0.4 points. I even felt resentment, as I think I could have got an "A" if the course was evaluated by the absolute standard. The gap between each grade group is very minute, so that the whole GPA is affected just by slight differences in scores. Therefore, I think that the current relative evaluation system of limiting the number of students for each grade group should be loosened a little, and then professors could adjust the proportion of each grade flexibly.
(Fresh., Dept. of Business Admin.)
Relative evaluations make students compete with each other. Thus, team spirit and sharing of ideas are not encouraged under this system. Moreover, students tend to study only materials that seems likely to be on the exam because they become too obsessed with their grades. I think, especially in university, it is more important for students to have genuine interest in the subject itself and immerse themselves in what they are really interested in. This semester, I am taking Chinese I, in which the relative standard is applied. Everybody has a different language capacity when it comes to learning a new language. I think the language learning courses should be evaluated by an absolute standard. That is because I believe it is important to evaluate how much progress the student achieved throughout the semester. Relative criteria, however, can evaluate the amount of knowledge they already had before taking the class.