GPA has become a popular alternative to the percentage system for exams around the world. It stands for Grade Point Average.
In some countries, the GPA is measured on a scale of 1-4, in others on a scale of 1-10. However, what people confuse as same is the Cumulative GPA and the Overall GPA.
Cumulative GPA vs Overall GPA
The difference between cumulative GPA and overall GPA is that cumulative GPA is the average of marks for each term examination that makes up a degree or course. On the other hand, overall GPA is the average of the cumulative GPAs for different terms of a course.
A cumulative GPA is the grade point average for a short exam term assessment. This term may be a semester or half-yearly examinations.
An overall GPA is the grade point average of average points scored in many short term exams. Thus, it assesses the overall performance of a student over a year or course.
Comparison Table Between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter Of Comparison||Cumulative GPA||Overall GPA|
|Definition||A cumulative GPA is the average of the grades in one exam.||An overall GPA is the average of the grades of all the exams that make up an academic term.|
|Basis of Calculation||A cumulative GPA has different bases for calculations based on a particular institute.||An overall GPA has uniform bases for calculations as all the different bases are converted into equivalent ones.|
|Grade Transfer||A cumulative GPA doesn’t take into account grade transfers from different institutions.||An overall GPA takes into account grade transfers from different institutions.|
|Performance Consideration||The cumulative GPA depicts only partial academic performance of a student.||The overall GPA depicts the absolute academic performance of a student throughout the term.|
|Consistency Measurement||The cumulative GPA cannot be considered as a measure of the consistency of a student.||The overall GPA is considered as a measure of the academic consistency of a student.|
What is Cumulative GPA?
The Cumulative GPA stands for cumulative grade point average. It is the average of the grades acquired by a student in a particular term of the academic calendar. The basis and points of calculation for cumulative GPA vary from one institute to another. This makes it a non-uniform system for performance assessment.
The variance of cumulative GPA makes grade transfer from one institute to another difficult. The institutes may differ in their way of calculating grades and maximum and minimum points. The cumulative GPA depicts the performance of a student in a specific academic term only. This does not ensure that a student who performed well in one exam may deliver the same performance again.
It cannot be ascertained that a student is consistent in studies on the basis of his cumulative GPA. Therefore, other tools for overall assessment should be adopted.
What is Overall GPA?
The Overall GPA stands for overall grade point average. It is the average of the grades acquired by a student in all the terms of the academic calendar. The basis and points of calculation for overall GPA are generally uniform. Therefore, it brings uniformity in performance assessment.
The uniformity of overall GPA makes grade transfer from one institute to another easy. The institutes may convert their forms of assessment into a single form. The overall GPA depicts the absolute performance of a student over the entire academic term. This provides the assurance that a student has performed satisfactorily in all the exams.
It can be ascertained that a student is consistent in studies on the basis of his overall GPA. Therefore, the overall GPA is a useful tool for grade assessment.
Main Differences Between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA
The grade-based assessment is widely favored by universities around the world today. There are many different ways for this type of academic assessment. Among these are the cumulative and overall GPA.
The main differences between the two are :
- The cumulative GPA is the average of grades in a particular exam, whereas the overall GPA is the average of cumulative GPAs for all the exams in an academic term.
- The cumulative GPA has different bases of calculation in different institutions, whereas the overall GPA has a uniform basis of calculation.
- The cumulative GPA does not support grade transfer from another institute, whereas the overall GPA supports grade transfers.
- The cumulative GPA cannot predict the entire performance of a student, whereas the overall GPA gives the absolute academic performance of a student.
- The cumulative GPA is not considered as a measure of the academic consistency of a student. On the other hand, the overall GPA depicts the consistent efforts of a student.
The percentage system for assessment of performance in the exams was the earliest system to be adopted. With the passage of time, universities started experimenting with new ways of assessment. It led to the idea of the grade system. The grade system is fairly easy for performing calculations and works on averages.
Therefore, many universities started adopting the alphabet grading system, while others adopted the GPA system. This brought the different types of GPAs into existence. The cumulative GPA is for a single exam, whereas the overall GPA is for an entire course. They assess a student on different parameters.
India has also adopted the CGPA system in schools. However, it was scrapped off for class 10th due to the apprehensions of the students. Students argued that they were not able to assess their relative performance over others. This was due to the fact that all students scoring marks in the same range were given the same grade.