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University Tasks in the USA and Their Evaluation
Olya Bezvushko

In Europe and many countries around the world, a pass/fail system is used for university studies. That is not the case in the United States where grades play an important role. During the semester, student’s performance is measured with the help of numerous essays, presentations, quizzes, participation, group work, attendance, mid-terms, and finals.

If you want to clear up what do all these activities mean, have a look at their description:

     - Essays (Paper) are texts or illustrations that discuss issues assigned or selected.
     - Quizzes are a kind of shorter exams that covers assigned readings or previous lectures.
     - Presentation is a speech in front of class on an assigned or selected topic.
     - Group work – it is when several people get together and work on a project or essay.
     - Participation implies the students’ activity in the classroom including answering questions and participating in group work.
     - Attendance measures how often a student shows up to the lecture or other class room activity.
     - Mid-terms – are exams which are held during the semester and cover only a part of the all semester material.
     - Final exam covers all material or material covered in the second half of the semester.
     - Extra Credits are granted by some instructors for students to raise their grades. This assignment can be anything from short essays, speeches, and quizzes. 

Grades in the United States are assigned using letters from A to F where A is the highest and F is the lowest.

Some universities and some professors have variations of this grading system. Students can receive pluses (+) or minuses (-) together with the letter grade. The grade point value will also change. The table below shows an example of a grading system with pluses and minuses. The .x indicates fraction of points that you can receive. The purpose of this type of grading system is to add more variation and flexibility in the grading.

 Grade  Point  Description  Grade  Point   Description






 Excellent C












 Good D







The average of all grades received is usually referred to as Grade Point Average (GPA). GPA is the weighted average of points earned for all course work taken at a university. GDP is very important. Why it is so?

     1. If you are specializing in a field, your major often require you to maintain a certain GPA average. When you drop below the average, you could be forced to retake classes or even change major.
     2. When you are transferring credits from one university to another, a minimum GPA or grade per class is required.
     3. When applying for graduate school, GPA is one of the most important criteria that will be evaluated and will determine if you will be accepted or not.
     4. If you are receiving financial aid or academic scholarships, there is a minimum requirement for continued support.
     5. Students with higher GPA are eligible to receive certain rewards and recognitions from the university and outside organizations. Upon graduation, students with high GPA will have recognitions printed on their diplomas
     6. Besides, hiring companies are revising academic recognitions when deciding either to hire you or not.

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