Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

INDEK Working Paper Series,
Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Industrial Economics and Management

No 2016/15: Grading systems of degree projects and labor market entry: Students choices and perceptions of the importance of grading scales in the labor market

Kristina Nyström ()
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Kristina Nyström: Department of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Postal: Department of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper studies which grading systems students choose for their degree projects if they are to choose, and what the motivational factors behind making this choice are. Furthermore, students’ perception the importance of grades and the quality of their degree project for their competitiveness in the labor market are studied. Student record data and a survey dataset to students conducting their degree project at the Department of Industrial Economics and Management at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden during 2016 are used to study students grading scale choices. During spring semester 2016 students were able to choose between the Pass/fFail or A-F grading scale for their degree project which implies that the data reflect students revealed preferences for grading scale. Data from study record transcripts show that 55 percent selected the two-step (Pass/Fail) grading scale, while 45 percent of the students selected the seven-step grading scale (A-F). The GPA score among students choosing the Pass/Fail scale is somewhat higher compared to students choosing A-F grading scale. Among the empirical findings it could be mentioned that perceptions of how a Pass/Fail grading scale promotes good learning and to what extent it motivates students to do a good job on the degree project are rather dispersed among students. What they do agree on is that the Pass/Fail grading system reduces stress.

Keywords: grading system; degree project; labor market entry

JEL-codes: A20; J60

26 pages, August 17, 2016

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