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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Education in the Media: Wednesday 19 December 2018

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


Today’s Education in the Media blog focuses on the new Office for Students report on grade inflation in universities.

Grade Inflation

Today, Wednesday 19 December, the Office for Students published its report on grade inflation in universities. This was covered in the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, the Telegraph, the Mail and the Sun.

The findings suggest that many universities are giving too many students top degrades, with the number of graduates being awarded first and upper-second class degrees having risen from 67% in 2010/22 to 78% in 2016/17. This runs a risk of devaluing the degrees– as well as top grades, which should be issued to the hardest working and highest performing students.

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. I sincerely hope today’s figures act as a wake-up call to the sector – especially those universities which are now exposed as having significant unexplained increases. Institutions have a duty to maintain the value of the degrees they award.

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

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