Friday, January 17, 2014

Record Numbers of Students Awarded First-Class Degrees

Students in academic dress outside the Exam Sc...
Graduating Students (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Schools Improvement Net:

The Telegraph is reporting that figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show a sharp rise in the number of students leaving university with first-class degrees …

Universities were accused of “intellectual dishonesty” today after figures showed record numbers of students graduated with first-class degrees last summer.

Almost one-in-five undergraduates - around 70,000 - finished degree courses in 2013 with the highest possible grade amid a continuing year-on-year rise in pass marks.

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that the overall number of first-class degrees increased by 13 per cent in just 12 months and has now more than tripled since the late 90s. It was also revealed that more than two-thirds of students left university with at least a 2:1.

The disclosure sparked fresh concerns that the system was failing to properly differentiate between students and mark out the very top performers.

University leaders admitted that the current degree classification system was a “blunt instrument” but insisted that academics were now introducing alternatives designed to provide a more detailed picture of student abilities. This includes school-style report cards and a detailed breakdown of scores in individual modules.

But Prof Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said institutions should also consider introducing a new elite grade - a “starred first” - to identify the most talented students.

He claimed that university league tables that rank institutions on a series of measures, including the proportion of good degrees, had “created an incentive for intellectual dishonesty” … 

Grade inflation, league tables, ‘starred’ grades - sound familiar? What do you think of the rapidly escalating rise in first class degree? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter …
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