European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System - ECTS

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a tool which helps to design, describe and deliver study programmes and award Higher Education qualifications. The use of ECTS, in conjunction with outcomes-based qualifications frameworks, makes study programmes and qualifications more transparent and facilitates the recognition of qualifications.

By making Higher Education comparable across Europe, ECTS makes teaching and learning in Higher Education more transparent and facilitates the recognition of all studies. It aids curriculum design and quality assurance and allows for the transfer of learning experiences between different institutions, greater student mobility and more flexible routes to gain degrees.

ECTS is closely related to the modernisation of Higher Education in Europe. In particular, it is a central tool in the Bologna Process which aims to make national systems more compatible.

The University of Padova has committed itself to using ECTS, as stated in both the EUC – Erasmus University Charter (in force from 2007 until 2013) – and the ECHE – European Charter for Higher Education (in force from 2014 until 2020), which are essential documents for the University to take part in EU education programmes.

The request to obtain the ECHE, comprising the commitments taken by the institution in the “Erasmus Policy Statement – EPS” (“Dichiarazione di Politica Erasmus dell'Università di Padova") was officially approved by the Academic Senate on 6th May 2013.

In the light of the new “ECTS Users’ Guide”  issued by the European Commission in 2009, procedures for transferring marks have been simplified. More specifically, the old ECTS Grading table  based on 5 levels (statistical distribution curve for each reference group split into five segments – A: top 10%, B: next 25%, C: next 30%, D: next 25% and E: lowest 10%) has been replaced by a new one, which concentrates on the first step of the 5-point system. Thus, institutions only need to provide the statistical distribution of their own grades in a standard table form, resulting in a simple statistical table completed for each degree programme or group of homogeneous programmes.

This means that instead of trying to fix existing grading practices in a standard distribution scale, universities only need to determine the actual percentage of students who receive each “local” grade, as illustrated in the "example of a new ECTS table", which is only meant to be an example.

Since many institutions still release the Transcript of Records with reference to the local grading system and the old ECTS Grading table, the new ECTS Grading tables also report grades according to the old ECTS Grading table, next to the percentage, so as to facilitate the transfer procedure until the new system is entirely adopted by all European Higher Education institutions.