Grade Inflation

Posted in Teaching on November 29th, 2018 by steve

“Are universities handing out more firsts than than they should … or than they used to? That is the story. And may be we should wait until the reporters have reported. But from the coal face, there are some obvious answers. Yes, over my career, we are giving more firsts. But more to the point we are giving even more 2.1s and even fewer 2.2s and 3rds (which have been virtually eradicated). Why is that? …” (more)

[Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement, 28 November]

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UK degree algorithms: the nuts and bolts of grade inflation

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 16th, 2018 by steve

“Concerns about UK grade inflation are now such a regular feature in the media that most of us are probably in the terminal stages of grade inflation fatigue. It is also the case that the term itself is interpreted in two different ways leading to two (intertwined) debates where both require a different policy response …” (more)

[David Allen, Wonkhe, 15 July]

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Crying ‘grade inflation’ dismisses students’ achievements at university

Posted in Teaching on June 22nd, 2018 by steve

“On Thursday morning, I travelled to another university to act as an external examiner for one of their degrees. Before I left the house, I listened to the Today programme. On the show, I heard Tom Richmond from the think-tank Reform complaining that universities were ‘handing out incredible numbers of top degrees’ because the system allows them to ‘mark their own homework’ …” (more)

[Alice Bennett, New Statesman, 22 June]

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Too many firsts risk universities’ credibility, says think tank

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2018 by steve

“Universities risk losing their credibility due to ‘rocketing’ grade inflation, a think tank has said. According to Reform, the proportion of firsts awarded almost doubled between 1997-2009 and rose by 26% since 2010 …” (more)

[BBC News, 21 June]

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UK university figures show up to fivefold rise in first-class degrees

Posted in Teaching on June 14th, 2018 by steve

“British universities have been handing out higher-class degrees at an unprecedented rate over the past decade, according to detailed figures released by the higher education regulator. The figures, from a selection of universities taking part in the government’s latest teaching excellence framework, known as Tef3, show huge variation …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 13 June]

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The joys of marking … or ‘grading’

Posted in Teaching on June 4th, 2018 by steve

“If there is one thing that follows showing up at an exam room, it’s a pile of scripts to mark on the kitchen table (or to ‘grade’ as my American colleagues would say … in fact a Californian friend observed after my last post that almost all the technical terms for exams are different across the Atlantic, ‘invigilating’ vs ‘proctoring’, ‘sitting vs taking’ etc) …” (more)

[Mary Beard, A Don’s Life, 3 June]

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Lecturers face investigation if average mark below 2:1

Posted in Teaching on February 1st, 2018 by steve

“Staff at a Russell Group university have been told that they will face investigation over their grading if they award average marks lower than a 2:1. In an email seen by Times Higher Education, lecturers at Queen Mary University of London’s School of Business and Management are told that they must remember what is called the ’60:60:60 principle’ when assessing students’ work …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 1 February]

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Are today’s degrees really first class?

Posted in Teaching on January 29th, 2018 by steve

“The annual data release published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency can usually be relied upon to show an uptick in the proportion of firsts awarded. This is accompanied by newspaper inches decrying the decline of academic standards in the UK and a reaction that points to the improvements in teaching and the motivation of contemporary students …” (more)

[William Hammonds, Wonkhe, 29 January]

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Grade inflation could be the next battleground for higher education

Posted in Teaching on January 26th, 2018 by steve

“Data published by HESA in January 2018 shows that more than a quarter of UK undergraduates completing their studies in 2017 were awarded first-class honours. In 2012, the corresponding figure was only 18% …” (more)

[Allan Howells, Wonkhe, 25 January]

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Now students pay thousands, firsts are on the rise. Fancy that

Posted in Teaching on January 15th, 2018 by steve

“Many proud academics must have spluttered over their morning coffee in the senior common room to learn that a first-class degree, once as rare as hen’s teeth, is now more akin to a hen’s egg: we can all have one for breakfast, it seems, if we can only be bothered to go out to collect it …” (more)

[Vanessa Thorpe, Guardian, 14 January]

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Upgrading all borderline students’ degree classes ‘unacceptable’

Posted in Teaching on October 22nd, 2017 by steve

“UK universities must ensure that their policies on borderline scores do not in effect lower the thresholds for degree classifications, sector bodies say. In a new report, Universities UK and GuildHE call for more transparency around degree algorithms – the set of rules that institutions follow to determine a student’s final degree classification …” (more)

[Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, 18 October]

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Making the grade too easily?

Posted in Teaching on August 22nd, 2017 by steve

“It’s mid-summer, and so of course it’s the time of year for breathless comments about grade inflation in universities, and particularly about the number of students being awarded a top grade in their final examinations and assessments …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 August]

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Government vows crackdown on universities giving out too many firsts

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 17th, 2017 by steve

“The Government is preparing a crackdown on the rapidly increasing proportion of top degrees being awarded by universities, amid fears that the value of higher education is being eroded. Ministers are drawing up plans to stop the growth in students receiving first-class degrees so that university education continues to carry ‘prestige’, raising the prospect that quotas could be introduced to limit the numbers of top awards …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Independent, 17 August]

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Sharp increase in first-class degrees triggers standards debate

Posted in Teaching on July 20th, 2017 by steve

“About a third of UK universities now award a first-class degree to at least a quarter of their undergraduates compared with just 8% of institutions five years ago, a new analysis has shown. Figures on degree scores from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, analysed by the Press Association, show that 40 higher education institutions saw the proportion of firsts rise by more than 10 percentage points between 2010-11 and 2015-16 …” (more)

[Simon Baker, Times Higher Education, 20 July]

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First-class university degrees on the increase

Posted in Teaching on July 19th, 2017 by steve

“The proportion of firsts awarded by UK universities has soared with a third of institutions now grading at least one in four degrees with the top honour, figures released today reveal …” (more)

[Shân Ross, The Scotsman, 19 July]

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Impact of Grade Inflation Must Not Be Overstated

Posted in Teaching on February 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The news this week that the number of first-class degrees awarded by Trinity has increased by 33% between 2013 and 2015 will likely evoke concern that this is the latest symptom of a general trend of grade inflation in Irish third-level sector. Indeed, with some courses seeing as many as 61% of graduates awarded a first, one could probably be forgiven for thinking …” (more)

[University Times, 12 February]

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33% Increase in First-Class Degrees Awarded Between 2012 and 2015

Posted in Teaching on February 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The number of students achieving a first in their undergraduate degree has increased dramatically in recent years, with a 33% increase in the number of first-class honours awarded between 2012/13 and 2014/15. In 2012/13, 397 students were awarded firsts, according to the most recent Senior Lecturer’s Report …” (more)

[Philip McGuinness, University Times, 7 February]

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Record one in four graduates in UK awarded top degrees

Posted in Teaching on January 12th, 2017 by steve

“The proportion of students leaving university with top honours has risen in the last five years to reach record levels, figures show. Almost one in four (24%) students who gained a degree graduated with a first last year, compared with 17% in 2011-12, according to data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The figures, which cover UK universities and colleges, are likely to spark fresh debate about whether the centuries-old degree classification system is still fit for purpose …” (more)

[Guardian, 12 January]

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Grade inflation: doesn’t bother me

Posted in Teaching on June 16th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The recent and impressive study on grade inflation in the IoT sector comes at an appropriate time. Exam boards are coming to an end and the various drivers of student grades are fresh in our minds. There is absolutely no doubt that grade inflation is occurring, ie third level students are getting higher grades and doing so even when their second level performance would suggest that their grades should be getting lower …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 16 June]

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Surge in first-class honours at institutes of technology

Posted in Teaching on June 15th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The proportion of students at institutes of technology graduating with first-class honours degrees has doubled in the past 15 years, new figures show. The authors of a new report said the findings show grade inflation ‘is a fire that will not be quenched’, with sharp rises also evident in distinctions across ordinary degrees and higher certificates …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 June]

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