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Education in the Media: Wednesday 28 November 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Higher Education, Universities

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at a report by Universities UK on what is described as a ‘significant’ upward trend in grade inflation.

Universities UK Report

Today, Wednesday 28 November, Universities UK (UUK) has published a report on grade inflation that concludes that the upward trend in awards is significant, sector wide and in some cases, has accelerated.

The report says that in the last decade, the number of graduates receiving at least an upper second-class degree (a 2:1) has risen by 55%, at an average rate of 5% annually.

The report says that factors driving the increase are complex but says the sector must address the challenge “to protect public confidence in the honours degree system”.

The government is already taking steps and last month confirmed the introduction of a grade inflation metric to the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). TEF panellists will review evidence to see whether universities are taking a responsible approach to degree grading and take this into account when deciding its provider-level rating of gold, silver or bronze.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Students across the country work hard for their results and they deserve a grading system that properly recognises this. We want and expect to see results improve over time, but the scale of this increase in firsts and 2:1s cannot be proportionate to improving standards. Universities have a duty to maintain the value of the degrees they award.

A key strength of our higher education sector is its independence, but with that comes responsibility. I am looking to universities to tackle this issue and have asked the Office for Students to focus on tackling grade inflation and firmly deal with any institution found to be unreasonably inflating grades.

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