How to read foreign academic transcripts?
July 16, 2009 9:36 AM   Subscribe

How do you read an academic transcript from the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras?

I'm contemplating hiring someone who has excellent academic credentials from a graduate school in the USA. In doing due diligence, I requested the candidate supply academic transcripts for previous degrees, earned in India. I'm really baffled by how to read the transcript from the Indian Institute of Technology. The transcript appears to use letter grades, but GPA calculation appears on a very unfamiliar scale. It's also unclear from this transcript what the grades "mean." Any advice here? Should I just ask the candidate to explain the transcript to me directly? (I think it's better to have an independent, unbiased, interpretation.)
posted by u2604ab to Education (10 answers total)
Are the letter grades so unsatisfactory that they call the excellent grad school credentials into question? If not, why worry about the (admittedly more precise) quantum of GPA?

Would it be possible for you to provide some examples of the way in which GPA is shown (with no applicant-identifying details, of course)?

If no one is able to answer here, you could call IIT. Schools need to explain their grading conventions to one another all the time, and so they probably have a straightforward canned answer to give you.
posted by onshi at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2009

If the letter grades appear right, calculate the GPA yourself.
posted by Precision at 9:51 AM on July 16, 2009

Best answer: The Wikipedia article on IIT Madras has a section explaining their grading system. (Found via Google search for IIT Madras grading system.)
posted by RogerB at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2009

Best answer: u2604ab, anything cumulative above an 8.0 is considered awesome for an IIT school. 6.5 - 8 range is considered average. Never heard of anyone scoring lower than that.
posted by unexpected at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2009

IITs are very difficult to get into and IIT-Madras is the number 3 best IIT (there are quit a number of them). I can't even express how difficult it is to get into IIT. Not that I'm saying you shouldn't inquire further about the meaning of grades and all, but I'm already impressed.
posted by anniecat at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2009

Man, the dude got into IIT. Who cares what his grades are?
posted by chunking express at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks guys, this is all helpful, and my now increased understanding of the IIT grading system means that the transcript corroborates the rest of the application, whereas initially I wasn't sure. And thanks, RogerB for the Google-fu help. I spent too much time googling things like "how to read an IIT transcript" etc. It looks like "grading system" was the key word that I couldn't figure out on my own.
posted by u2604ab at 11:57 AM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: Letter grades at IITs appear deflated compared to American grades, with "B" grades considered outstanding, and "A" grades so good as to almost never awarded, if I'm reading this correctly.
posted by u2604ab at 12:04 PM on July 16, 2009

It's more like a "D" at IIT-Madras is an "A+" at MIT. That's my personal interpretation, but shared by many.
posted by anniecat at 2:34 PM on July 16, 2009

Your welcome. My dad is actually one of the youngest people ever to go to IIT (he went when he was 14, now they've changed the age so that you have to be at least 18), so I'm full of IIT tidbits...
posted by unexpected at 2:48 PM on July 16, 2009

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