Image: The Boar
Image: The Boar

Government to crack down on grade inflation to protect value of degrees

With the goal of protecting the value of degrees, the government announced its intention to crack down on grade inflation. Universities Minister Sam Gyimah further suggested the prevention of an excessive number of 2:1s being given.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA), recent years have seen an exponential increase in the number of first-class degrees awarded.

The proportion of students achieving the highest possible academic certificate at undergraduate level since 2012 has seen an 18% increase to 26% in 2018.

“The value of those degrees is threatened by grade inflation and that is a problem for students, employers and the universities themselves,” said the Universities Minister.

Criticising the status-quo, Mr Gyimah added that measures such as including the criteria of each institution’s approach to grading will “protect our globally recognised higher education system”.

He concluded: “The value of those degrees is threatened by grade inflation and that is a problem for students, employers and the universities themselves.”

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), which judges university grading methodologies, will rank them as gold, silver or bronze, based on various factors. They include student experience, teaching quality and the difficulty of the course.

The 2018 TEF classified the University of Warwick as silver, which means that the University “delivers high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students, and consistently exceeds ‘rigorous national quality requirements’ for higher education in the UK”.

Other universities ranked as top 10 in the Complete University Guide to not receive the gold standard include University College, London and the London School of Economics, who received silver and bronze respectively.

Universities UK (UUK) agreed with the possibility that the rise in top grades may be a result of increased investment the quality of teaching and technology.

A UUK spokesman said: “It is essential that students, employers and the public have confidence in the ongoing value of a UK degree.”

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