21 Jul Top degrees will be harder to get after universities crack down on grade inflation | UK News
First class degrees will be harder to get after universities agreed on measures to tackle grade inflation.
Institutions across Britain should stop rounding up borderline marks and avoid discounting core or final-year modules, according to a report by Universities UK (UUK).
It comes after universities minister Michelle Donelan warned too many have felt pressured to “dumb down” course or admissions standards.
The review was carried out by UUK and GuildHE on behalf of the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment (UKSCQA) and outlines six measures to ensure transparency on how final degree grades are calculated.
It states that only one algorithm should be used to calculate which final grade students get and should be made clear to them when they start.
Classifications should also only be rounded up by a maximum of two percentage points, it added.
This means markers would consider giving someone with 68% a first, but not someone with 67.99%.
Figures have showed that nearly all UK universities and colleges saw an increase in the number of firsts handed out in the past five years, with 25 giving them to a third of their students.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson previously warned the increasing number of top grades is “undermining our world-class reputation”.
Professor Andrew Wathey, chairman of the UKSCQA and vice-chancellor of the University of Northumbria, said: “Universities are committed to taking visible action to address the issue of grade inflation.
“It is more important than ever that the public has full confidence in the value of a UK university degree and that degree classifications are meaningful for employers and students.”
Professor Debra Humphris, chairwoman of UUK’s student policy network and vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton, added: “It is vital that we protect the value of UK degrees and these principles are another important step in ensuring that students can continue to take pride in the qualifications they work so hard to achieve.”