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Scrap degree classifications in favour of rankings. watch

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    There are a few problems with OP's idea. Take two similar universities, who would be the better candidate:

    1st out of 10
    15th out of 120

    Difficult to compare. All the people in the first case could be poor students, so being first doesn't mean anything.

    Why not just use percentage points, like many people suggested?
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    Although I agree that the problem outlined by the OP is huge and fundamentally unfair, I don't think this is the way to go about it. There would still be some sort of arbitrary cut off point (i.e. you'd have to come in the top 50% of your year regardless of institution), which wouldn't go to solving anything. Furthermore, Cambridge already operate something similar to this (i.e. your class rank determines your grade) for NatSci and I can tell you it makes for an extremely unpleasant university experience. You start viewing people in lectures as your enemies, people to overcome. You do the same with your friends, hoping that they do badly in their exams. The worse they do, the better your grade is.

    I think the way to solve this problem is to have university exams set centrally (i.e. the IoP would set exam papers for all university physics). This would allow fair comparisons of student performances between institutions.
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    I really don't think it's a great idea to totally abandon the current system in favour of rankings.

    However, I see no reason why the ranking in order couldn't be included on the transcript as well as classification/%s. Perhaps those in the top 5% should receive special recognition?

    Most big employers ask for degree % and possibly module scores anyway, which goes some way to remove the issue about overly broad boundaries.


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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    I am suggesting that yes, that each year group for each subject it's ranked. I'll add it to the OP.

    The purpose is for employers, yes, as well as academic interviewers.

    I highly doubt that LSE teaching is better than Cambridge's! The attention which Oxbridge students receive from their teachers is enormous, whereas LSE students frequently complain about a lack of contact with their lecturers, and a complete lack of care from them about their undergraduates.

    Perhaps LMU is an extreme example, but only last year I spoke to an employer at a Magic Circle law firm (if you don't know the Magic Circle, they are the most prestigious firms in the UK, with an incredibly competitive hiring process) about the issue of the 2.1, and he bluntly replied that a 2.1 from Liverpool would be superior to a 2.2 from Cambridge, that the Cambridge 2.2 would be ruled out.

    Now, I think it's ridiculous that 1% in exams at completely different universities (the Liverpool grad could have just scraped the 2.1, and the Cambridge grad just missed it) can lead to such an enormous influence on job prospects.
    And yet everyone already knows that, all else being equal, the Cambridge grad would get it. The Magic Circle recruit heavily from Oxford and Cambridge as it is; the truth is that the 2.1 Liverpool grad would have to fight hard even with a 2.1, it's not ridiculous that a 2.2 Cambridge grad would be ruled out. The 2.1/2.2 distinction gives firms a cheap way of filtering out applicants who they simply do not need to look at. It doesn't mean that the 2.1 from Liverpool would be in a particularly strong position just because they wouldn't automatically be disregarded.
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    (Original post by crunchychips)
    There are a few problems with OP's idea. Take two similar universities, who would be the better candidate:

    1st out of 10
    15th out of 120

    Difficult to compare. All the people in the first case could be poor students, so being first doesn't mean anything.

    Why not just use percentage points, like many people suggested?

    That's a very valid point, I don't think there's an easy solution.

    I think the implication by the OP that non-oxbridge students haven't worked hard for their degree is ridiculous tbh.

    I think no matter what happens HR departments will assign arbitrary cut offs to make their jobs easier. In many ways degree classification is fairer than many of the 'tricks' I've come across over the years.

    I think Oxbridge undergraduates need to learn that getting in is just one of many hurdles to getting a great career. Getting a good degree is the next one.
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    When I read the thread title I thought the OP would suggest a point system where both the grade and the institution are considered.

    His suggestion however is quite ludicrous.
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    I don't know how this would work for my degree...there are about 20 people doing it, and my "branch" there are only 5!

    However, surely the best thing to do is to give a ranking AND the classification and combine these 2 into one number. That way Universities that award lots of 1sts and 2:1s would overall have a similar number of people with a certain rank.
    For example: 1st = 20, 2:1 = 15, 2:2 = 10, 3rd = 5. Then top 10% = 20, 11-30%= 15, 31-60/70%=10 61/71%-100%=5.
    So A who graduates from Oxford with a 2:1 and 32nd out of 200 students gets 30"points".
    B who graduates from LSE with a 1st and 41st out of 200 students gets 35"points"
    C, Oxford, 1st and 3rd out of 200 gets 40"points"
    D, LSE, 2:1 and 70th out of 200 gets 30"points".

    It would work for the majority of courses, and it would remove some of the difficulty with relating grades across different years, as the classification would stay the same, even if the rank moved. You could always add more rank brackets to make more distinction between students as well.
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    (Original post by Katie_p)
    I don't know how this would work for my degree...there are about 20 people doing it, and my "branch" there are only 5!

    However, surely the best thing to do is to give a ranking AND the classification and combine these 2 into one number. That way Universities that award lots of 1sts and 2:1s would overall have a similar number of people with a certain rank.
    For example: 1st = 20, 2:1 = 15, 2:2 = 10, 3rd = 5. Then top 10% = 20, 11-30%= 15, 31-60/70%=10 61/71%-100%=5.
    So A who graduates from Oxford with a 2:1 and 32nd out of 200 students gets 30"points".
    B who graduates from LSE with a 1st and 41st out of 200 students gets 35"points"
    C, Oxford, 1st and 3rd out of 200 gets 40"points"
    D, LSE, 2:1 and 70th out of 200 gets 30"points".

    It would work for the majority of courses, and it would remove some of the difficulty with relating grades across different years, as the classification would stay the same, even if the rank moved. You could always add more rank brackets to make more distinction between students as well.
    Doesn't that still encourage universities to give loads of people a first to boost their employment prospects unfairly? I don't see what's wrong with a percentile, it's what the universities will have anyway in order to give you your marks, and it's easier for employers because they don't have to guess whereabouts in a 1st, 2:1 and so on a certain candidate is.
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    Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
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    (Original post by Katie_p)
    I don't know how this would work for my degree...there are about 20 people doing it, and my "branch" there are only 5!

    However, surely the best thing to do is to give a ranking AND the classification and combine these 2 into one number. That way Universities that award lots of 1sts and 2:1s would overall have a similar number of people with a certain rank.
    For example: 1st = 20, 2:1 = 15, 2:2 = 10, 3rd = 5. Then top 10% = 20, 11-30%= 15, 31-60/70%=10 61/71%-100%=5.
    So A who graduates from Oxford with a 2:1 and 32nd out of 200 students gets 30"points".
    B who graduates from LSE with a 1st and 41st out of 200 students gets 35"points"
    C, Oxford, 1st and 3rd out of 200 gets 40"points"
    D, LSE, 2:1 and 70th out of 200 gets 30"points".

    It would work for the majority of courses, and it would remove some of the difficulty with relating grades across different years, as the classification would stay the same, even if the rank moved. You could always add more rank brackets to make more distinction between students as well.
    wrt the first part, well it doesn't seem to be realised by some non uni goers that joint honours combos might have very few or even no people doing them any given year.
    What if you were the only person on a particular combination? If this proposal were rolled out might there be a sudden dash to ill matched joints like 'drama production and quarry management' to game a higher ranking for the gradschemes?
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    I'd just like to say i agree with scrapping degree classifications. As it stands at my university, St Andrews, 90% of students graduate with a 1:1 or a 2:1!!! 20% get a 1:1 which is reasonable, but 70% get a 2:1. This makes a 2:1 absolutely 100% meaningless. You could be in the top 30% of your class or the bottom 30% and no one could tell the difference...
 
 
 
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