The European Credit Transfer System is a learner-centered credit transfer and accumulation system based on transparency of learning, teaching and assessment processes. The objective of this system is to improve planning, delivery, evaluation and recognition of study programmes and periods of learning and thus boost student mobility.
Since 2009, the universities belonging to the European Higher Education Area began to allocate ECTS credits to all the educational components of their programmes and started applying the commonly named ECTS Grading Scale to their own grading systems.
ECTS credits express the volume of learning based on the defined learning outcomes and their associated workload. The learning outcomes describe what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a learning process. The workload estimates the time students normally need to complete all learning activities (lectures, seminars, practical classes, projects, individual study, exam preparation, etc.) required to achieve the expected learning outcomes.
One ECTS credit is equivalent to one credito formativo universitario (CFU).
At Politecnico, one CFU (or one ECTS) corresponds to 25 hours of learning.
The average workload for a full-time student is conventionally set at 60 credits per academic year.
ECTS Grade Distribution Tables and grade conversion
In 2018, and in line with EU guidelines, Politecnico systematized the grade distribution tables, which represent the statistical distribution of positive grades (pass and higher grades), for each Degree Program or for each group of homogeneous courses. These tables allow comparison with the statistical distribution grades of a parallel reference group at another institution. The previous ECTS scale is therefore replaced with the conversion system based on the comparison of the statistical distribution of grades.
The conversion procedure is as follows:
- Identification of the reference group and calculation of the grade distribution in terms of percentages, for both exam grades and final grades of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes;
- Collection of the passing grades (awarded to each reference group) in the last three years and preparation of the Grade Distribution Tables for each degree programme or for each group of homogeneous degree programmes;
- Calculation of the number of occurrences for each positive grade;
- Calculation of the occurrences of the chosen sample;
- Calculation of the cumulative percentage, i.e. the percentage of occurrence of the grade we need to convert (called “current grade”) plus the percentage of occurrences of higher grades.
Consequently, each Grade Distribution Table shows the academic years (starting 1st November), the overall number of grades considered and the name of the degree programme or groups of degree programmes.
For incoming students, Politecnico di Torino issues the certificates for the exams passed (Transcript of Records) with the respective statistical grade distribution tables for the degree programme to which they belong.
For outgoing students, if the host institution does not provide statistical grade distribution tables, grade conversion can be carried out using the ECTS grading scale
(A, B, C, D, E).
For mobility periods at universities in countries not belonging to the European Higher Education Area, since no general and univocal criteria have been defined for the conversion of grades similar to that based on the statistical distribution of grades, it is possible to use specific conversion tables:
- based on bilateral agreements between universities; or,
- based on the evaluation of historical data related to the grades obtained by students on mobility or other additional criteria identified by each degree programme.