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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Grade inflation: the fire that will not be quenched

Posted in Teaching on June 14th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Grade inflation is a fire that simply will not be quenched, at least in so far as the Institutes of Technology are concerned, according to the latest data collected and analyzed in Paper 11 published by the Network for Irish Educational Standards …” (more)

[Network for Irish Educational Standards, 13 June]

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Degree classifications must change to stop students ‘coasting’, says minister

Posted in Teaching on July 2nd, 2015 by steve

UK“The universities minister, Jo Johnson, has called for changes to degree classifications, claiming that 2:1s are now so common that they allow some students to ‘coast’ and still get one …” (more)

[Sally Weale, Guardian, 1 July]

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Half of universities have ‘made changes to degree algorithms’

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on June 11th, 2015 by steve

UK“Almost half of universities have changed how they calculate their degree classifications in the past five years to ensure that students do not get lower grades on average than those at rival institutions. The Higher Education Academy found that 47% of institutions it surveyed had changed their degree algorithms since 2010 …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 11 June]

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British universities prepare for American-style grade point averages

Posted in Teaching on June 4th, 2015 by steve

UK“Are British universities finally ready to introduce an alternative to traditional degree classifications? After more than a decade of informal talks, consultations, steering groups and pilot studies, it seems that they may have reached the elusive goal of implementing a more precise indicator of degree grades …” (more)

[Jack Grove, InsideHigherEd, 4 June]

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Scores plan for university degrees

Posted in Teaching on May 28th, 2015 by steve

UK“Universities should show students’ achievement with points scores, as well as the existing degree grades, says a higher education advisory group. A group of university experts is proposing a system giving more detailed information alongside grades such as first or upper second class degrees …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 28 May]

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UK universities should scrap degree classes in favour of American GPA report to say

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on May 25th, 2015 by steve

UK“The government ordered report could consign the current method of awarding firsts and 2:1s to the history books after a two year pilot study. The current degree classifications could be consigned to the scrapheap, a government advisory group is due to announce later this week …” (more)

[Alex Ward, Independent, 24 May]

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Most employers demand 2.1 degree of applicants – survey

Posted in Life on May 13th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Some 70% of employers expect at least a 2.1 degree from job applicants, a major new survey shows. The study, published on Wednesday by the Department of Education and Skills, found the grade students achieved in their degree was the biggest determinant of whether they were called for a job interview …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 13 May]

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Examiners give hugely different marks

Posted in Teaching on April 30th, 2015 by steve

UK“Undergraduates awarded low scores for their work may receive top marks if they are graded by another academic, a study suggests. As part of the study into inconsistent marking, 24 academics in four disciplines were recruited from 20 UK universities and each asked to mark five pieces of student work …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 30 April]

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Record numbers graduate with first-class degrees

Posted in Teaching on January 15th, 2015 by steve

UK“Record numbers of UK students graduated with a top degree last summer, according to new figures. Some 20% of graduates achieved a first-class degree in 2014, while 51% got an upper second …” (more)

[Judith Burns, BBC News, 15 January]

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