Grade inflation undermining quality of university degrees, President Higgins warns

Posted in Governance and administration on June 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The quality of university degrees is a source of great concern, with grade inflation that does not reflect improved standards of scholarship, President Michael D Higgins has warned. He was speaking at an online conference on academic freedom and intellectual dissent organised by Scholars at Risk – Ireland and the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 8 June]

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Norma Foley: New college places will offset increased demand

Posted in Governance and administration on June 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“New college places to be created this year will be enough to offset the potential effect accredited grades and increased demand will have on this year’s race for courses. That is according to Education Minister Norma Foley, speaking ahead of the Leaving Certificate exams getting underway tomorrow …” (more)

[Jess Casey, Irish Examiner, 8 June]

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Third Level Admissions

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 27th, 2021 by steve

IrelandGerald Nash (Louth, Labour): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the approximately 20,000 college applicants who applied for courses in 2021 on the basis of leaving certificate results achieved in previous years and who consequently may have been disadvantaged with respect to CAO points required for entry to their given courses due to disproportionate grade inflation relative to other years; if he is making provisions for those students who may have been denied a placement under such circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 24 March]

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Will grade inflation affect my hopes of securing a course in the UK or Ireland?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 16th, 2021 by steve

IrelandWe live in Donegal and my daughter has applied for college places through Ucas and the CAO. Given recent changes in the UK and Ireland regarding how students will receive their grades in 2021, will this affect entry requirements? Firstly, let’s be clear on how students will be assessed and graded in both jurisdictions …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 16 March]

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Grade Inflation ‘Likely’ Down to Shift to Online Exams, Says College

Posted in Teaching on January 23rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Inflated grades observed in last year’s exams were ‘likely’ due to the shift to online assessments, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell has said. Percentage marks, he said in an email to this newspaper, were ‘slightly inflated last year, based on a comparison of average yearly grades from 2019/20 to the previous year’ …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 22 January]

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Students awarded first class degrees at record high despite crackdown on grade inflation

Posted in Governance and administration on January 17th, 2020 by steve

“More than one in four university graduates are still being awarded first class degrees despite a crackdown on grade inflation. A record number of students, 28.4%, were given a top degree last year – double the 14% who gained a first a decade ago, Higher Education Statistics Agency data revealed …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Independent, 16 January]

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Grade inflation is soaring: Are degrees losing all meaning?

Posted in Teaching on August 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“First-class honours and 2.1 grades have increased significantly in most Irish universities, institutes of technology and colleges over the last ten years, an analysis by has found. The upward trend has led academics and recruiters to warn that third-level degrees are becoming ubiquitous, with employers struggling to differentiate one first-class honours or 2.1 degree from another in their search for top talent, and extracurricular activities and work experience becoming increasingly important for students …” (more)

[, 13 August]

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‘Grade inflation’ means 80% more top degree grades

Posted in Teaching on July 11th, 2019 by steve

“The proportion of students in England awarded first-class degrees continues to increase – rising by 80% since 2010-11, the university watchdog says. The Office for Students, warning of grade inflation, says for almost three-quarters of universities such increases in top grades are ‘unexplained’ …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 11 July]

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Universities to be fined for handing out too many top degrees, education secretary threatens

Posted in Teaching on March 24th, 2019 by steve

“Universities will be fined if they hand out too many first and 2:1 degrees to be fair to ‘hard-working students’, the education secretary is threatening. Damian Hinds said a big leap in the two top awards – to 78% of degrees, up from 67% at the start of the decade – amounted to ‘grade inflation’, rather than rising standards alone … ” (more)

[Rob Merrick, Independent, 24 March]

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Record number of UK university students awarded first-class degrees, figures show

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2019 by steve

“A record number of first-class degrees were awarded to graduates last year despite growing pressure on UK universities to tackle grade inflation. More than a quarter (28%) of graduates now leave UK universities with top marks – a rise of two percentage points, figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) reveal …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Independent, 17 January]

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Continuous Assessment, Grade Inflation and the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on January 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The figure below shows the exam and CA marks for two of my third year modules in DCU for the last three years. The blue data is for a rather mathematical module for which the CA is worth 20% of the module marks. Two of us teach into the module and both of our CAs involve in-class tests …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 9 January]

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When it Comes to Grade Inflation, TEP Could Offer Solutions

Posted in Teaching on January 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“For many, the news last week that Trinity students are the most likely in Ireland to get a first-class degree will hardly have come as any great surprise. Trinity courses are, after all, among those with the highest points in the country. For others, however, that a fifth of Trinity graduates get firsts is a sign that grade inflation – an issue that has vexed education systems for decades – in College is spiralling dangerously …” (more)

[University Times, 7 January]

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Back to Exams

Posted in Teaching on January 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Well here I am, back in my office at Maynooth University, although I wish I could say the same about the heating. The Christmas closure officially ended yesterday (3rd January) but there are very few people about today and no heating in my office. I doubt there will be anywhere open to get lunch later. And did I mention there’s no heating? …” (more)

[In the Dark, 4 January]

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Grade inflation and academic standards

Posted in Teaching on January 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Considering how much coverage your newspaper gives to education, the shallowness of your analysis (in your editorial ‘Keeping an eye on standards’ of January 3rd) of ‘grade inflation’ in Irish third-level institutions, and the implied suggestion that our quality systems are somewhat lacking, is surprising …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 4 January]

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Staff protest over ‘grade inflation’ at institute of technology

Posted in Teaching on December 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Lecturers at Institute of Technology Tralee are refusing to attend exam and course meetings after an exam board at the college overturned a lecturer’s marks for every student in his class. The industrial action, which was voted for by 65% of the members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland at IT Tralee, has raised concerns about academic standards at the college …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 31 December]

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Irish universities’ grade inflation sparks claims of ‘dumbing down’

Posted in Teaching on December 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Students are most likely to secure first or upper-second class degrees at Dublin City University (72%), followed by University College Dublin (71%) and University College Cork (69%). They are more difficult to come by at University of Limerick (53%) and NUI Galway (63%). Trinity College Dublin’s figures are more difficult to calculate …” (more)

[Peter McGuire and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 31 December]

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Revealed: the universities most likely to award higher grades

Posted in Teaching on December 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Which university offers the best shot of a first-class or 2.1 degree? Is there much difference between University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin? The Irish Times has used a mix of Freedom of Information requests and statistics from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to crunch the numbers. The analysis shows grades at Ireland’s seven universities have been rising consistently over the past decade …” (more)

[Peter McGuire and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 31 December]

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Fines for Firsts

Posted in Teaching on December 19th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Today’s Guardian reports that in the UK, that the University watchdog (OfS) ‘threatens fines over grade inflation’. This is as a consequence of the proportion of first class degrees increasing from 16% to 27% in six years. According to the article ‘84% of universities seeing significant unexplained increases in the number of first-class degrees awarded’. Below I have drawn a chart showing the average percentage of First Class Honours Degrees for 148 Universities across the UK showing the 16% to 27% increase …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 19 December]

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Universities told to end ‘spiralling’ grade inflation

Posted in Teaching on December 19th, 2018 by steve

“Universities in England are giving too many students top degree grades, the Office for Students (OfS) has warned. The watchdog’s analysis shows the number of graduates being awarded first and upper-second class degrees rose from 67% in 2010-11 to 78% in 2016-17 …” (more)

[Katherine Sellgren, BBC News, 19 December]

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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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