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Academic Grading System and Assessment Methods in Denmark

The academic grading in Denmark is applicable for all educational institutions. The current marking scale in Danish is 7-trins-skala (7-point grading scale), replacing the old 13-skala in 2006. The 7-point scale is applicable for converting Danish grades to ECTS credits using the EU European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

The 7-point grading scale came into force as per law in August 2007 and it is used in Danish state-regulated education. This includes university programs. The grading scale has been designed for compatibility with the European ECTS grading scale. The student's performance is assessed according to the degree to which specific academic goals are met for certain subjects or courses.

Grading System in Denmark

grading scale and assessment

Several educational institutions in Denmark assess the performances of their students as pass or fail, instead of providing them grades. The performance of students is assessed according to academic targets for certain subjects or courses. The Ministry of Education has passed an order on the grading scale and other forms of assessment for primary and secondary school as well as short-medium cycle higher education and university education. The 7-point grading scale was introduced in 2007 to make Danish academic scores more comparable in an international perspective.

7-Point Grading Scale

Grade

ECTS

Old Scale (00-13)

12

A

13, 11

10

B

10

7

C

9,8

4

D

7

02

E

6

00

FX

5, 03

-3

F

00

Explanation of the 7-point Grading Scale

  • Grade 12 is awarded when the student displays excellence in performance and a high level of command for all aspects of the material with a few minor weaknesses. Grade 10 is for very good performance where only minor faults are available for individuals. 
  • Grade 7 is for good performance wherein, the candidate displays good command of material yet has certain weaknesses. 
  • Grade 4 is awarded for fair performance displaying some command of relevant material but also have some major weaknesses. 
  • Grade 02 is granted for performance that meets minimum acceptance levels. 
  • Grade 00 is granted for to students who do not meet minimum requirements for acceptance. 
  • Grade -3 is granted for performance that does not meet any level of acceptability.

Conversion of 7-Point Grading Scale to ECTS

  • Grade 12 equals A on the ECTS grading scale 
  • Grade 10 corresponds to ECTS grading scale B
  • Grade 7 corresponds to C on the ECTS grading scale
  • Grade 4 equals D on the ECTS grading scale
  • Grade 02 corresponds to E on the ECTS grading scale
  • Grade 00 on the 7-point grading scale equals Fx on the ECTS scale
  • Finally, the -3 grade on the 7-point scale equals F on the ECTS grading scale 
This is an absolute grading method. The Danish education system does not use relative grading method such as grading on a curve. Studies conducted by the Danish Ministry of Education indicate that the most common grade for undergraduates in the year 2008-2009 was 7 while the least common grade was -3. Least common grade on graduate level was 00. 

Pass-Fail Assessment

The assessment “Pass/Fail” is used if stipulated by rules for individual study programmes. As per the Act on Vocational Education and Training/Lov om erhvervsuddannelser, the rules for individual study programmes can stipulate grading scales other than the 7- point scale. The assessment awarded cannot undergo conversion as per the 7- point grading scale. The assessment of Pass-Fail applies to the corresponding assessment of Approved/Not Approved. 

Conditions under which Grades are Awarded

Once the test has commenced, an assessment has to be awarded unless the test is interrupted following suspension or illness that justify a make-up test. Grading is decided on the basis of an overall assessment of degree to which the proficiency or performance of the student meets the requirement criteria for rules for individual study programmes. Assessing a student's performance or proficiency is based on the extent of the attainment of academic requirements for certain subjects or programmes.

How Proficiency is Assessed


The student's performance or proficiency is assessed based on the purpose of the subject or programme and the content of teaching described. In case, there is an internal or external examiner, the grade is awarded by him or her. When both are present, the grade awarded should be agreed upon by each. For cases where there is a disagreement regarding the grade to be awarded by the external and internal examiner, each examiner is given a separate grade.

Method of Awarding Grades

The grade awarded for the test is an average which is rounded off to the closest grade on the scale. For an average that is half-way between the 2 grades on the grading scale, the final grade is the closest higher grade in case the external examiner has awarded the highest grade. Otherwise, it is the lower grade which is closest to it. 
Where there is a disagreement as to the assessment of performance or proficiency awarded for Pass or Fail, the external examiner's assessment is of a decisive nature. Several external examiners or internal examiners taking part in an assessment shall jointly have qualifications as external or internal examiners, as per the rules stipulated by the Danish Ministry of Education.

Partial Grades

If it is stipulated that grades shall consist of several partial grades for a range of performances or proficiency for which assessments are to be given, the grade is the average of the partial grades, rounded off to the closet grade on the grading scale. In case the average is midway between the two grades, the grades should be rounded up.
When the rules for individual study programmes hold that partial grades should be weighted differently, a combined grade is calculated. If pass, requirements are laid down for particular exams, tests or proficiency assessment, the requirements are met when the student is either given the Pass assessment or a grade of 02 or more. 
In case where the grade is composed of several partial grades, pass requirement is when the average is at least 2.0. Average of at least 2.0 cannot be met by rounding up. Pass assessment is given in case the Pass-Fail criteria is used. Rules for individual study programmes also stipulate that certain grades on the grading scale have to be achieved for one/more tests which include the average.

Rules Regarding Grades

In case of combined test or examination result, individual study programmes hold that grades are included in the overall test or examination result. Combined test or examination result is expressed in an average, according to the rules. One decimal is included in the calculation of the average subjects for which the assessment of Pass-Fail is not included in calculating the average.

Rules for Weighting Grades

Rules have been prescribed for the weighting of the grades as stipulated in the rules for individual study programmes. The weighted average is to combine all the individual grades each being multiplied by the weighting of the grades. Where grades are awarded according to the 7 point grading scale, there should be a letter on the ECTS scale corresponding to the grade in question. 
The Danish Ministry of Education may also grant exemptions to ministerial order when required due to exceptional circumstances. Deviations from the rules of the ministerial order may also be allowed by the Ministry of Education as per the trials and development work.

Conclusion

The grading system in Denmark is absolute. The 7-point grading scale is used most commonly here. Another assessment system is Pass-Fail.
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