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Can university impose new degree classifications on a whim? watch

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    Say a first is raised to 80 and the pass mark is raised to 50. Isn't that unfair to the students at this particular institution since other places keep the regular 70% for a first and 40% for a pass mark?
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    What if they lower it so getting a first class degree is super easy and no one checks? It would be a smart way to boost graduate prospects, until the competition figured out and ruin them I suppose.
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    (Original post by whorace)
    What if they lower it so getting a first class degree is super easy and no one checks? It would be a smart way to boost graduate prospects, until the competition figured out and ruin them I suppose.
    Surely having cohorts with too many firsts would give a negative image of the Course/Uni? Having a stable number (ie 10-15% on average, all other things being equal) would make the degree in itself more valuable in the eyes of the employers?
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    (Original post by Metrododo)
    Surely having cohorts with too many firsts would give a negative image of the Course/Uni? Having a stable number (ie 10-15% on average, all other things being equal) would make the degree in itself more valuable in the eyes of the employers?
    If more people get firsts then they're (theoretically) more likely to get a grad job and therefore the university looks better because more grads are getting employed.

    It depends on how they look at the figures.

    I don't see why they would randomly change it though.
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    (Original post by Legendary Quest)
    If more people get firsts then they're (theoretically) more likely to get a grad job and therefore the university looks better because more grads are getting employed.
    It depends on how they look at the figures.

    I don't see why they would randomly change it though.
    It's all a game theory principle though - sure as Whorace mentioned there may be a short-term gain to be made but employers will be aware of the issue relatively quickly; the Course/Uni won't be as credible as a result and the negative consequences will have a much bigger impact in my opinion
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    (Original post by ServantOfMorgoth)
    Say a first is raised to 80 and the pass mark is raised to 50. Isn't that unfair to the students at this particular institution since other places keep the regular 70% for a first and 40% for a pass mark?
    Given that universities need to be accredited by the government in order to function as higher education institutions, if a change was made that damaged the university's integrity then I guess they'd do something about it. Universities aren't free to do whatever they want.
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    afaik Unis don't normally make changes to running modules till the end of the year, even if the QAA is breathing on their neck.

    no reason why it'd be wrong for a uni to set the first level at 80% providing it wasn't a goalpost move on students part way through - e.g. afaik 80% is where the OU has had it for years.
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    A sample of finals papers get marked by external examiners so a single university could not make big changes to its grade boundaries without other universities knowing.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    Given that universities need to be accredited by the government in order to function as higher education institutions, if a change was made that damaged the university's integrity then I guess they'd do something about it. Universities aren't free to do whatever they want.
    Surely raising the bar by setting it at 80 would be a welcomed change? By the government that is, not by students.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    afaik Unis don't normally make changes to running modules till the end of the year, even if the QAA is breathing on their neck.

    no reason why it'd be wrong for a uni to set the first level at 80% providing it wasn't a goalpost move on students part way through - e.g. afaik 80% is where the OU has had it for years.
    I didn't necessarily mean in the middle of the year.
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    worth noting that they could always make it harder to achieve a degree class by making the exams more difficult and marking coursework more harshly... afaik the external examiners address the question of whether the pieces of work submitted to them are worth a particular degree classification rather than a particular percentage.

    one of the effects of raising the %age threshold closer to 100 is that it tips the balance away from inconsistent students who occasionally produce outstanding work, there's less of an uplift available to their average.

    I'm not sure anyone really knows why 70% is regarded as the right level for a first... including people working in universities.
    http://users.sussex.ac.uk/~davidy/su...a_grades2.html

    Why do we have the wide first-class band?

    Presumably, the committees that determined the canonical marks boundaries had reasons for their choices. However, whilst the decisions have been passed down to examiners and tutors, the rationale has not, as far as I know. One can only attempt to reconstruct how this division was supposed to work.

    The central idea appears to be one of rewarding excellence, even if that excellence is patchy: a student who does something outstandingly good, even at the expense of other work, should have it recognised. Thus (to take an extreme) someone who consistently gets 69% receives a 2i, but someone who scrapes by with 45% in half their units but gets 95% in the other half receives a first. In general, a mark in the 80s or 90s cancels out quite weak performance in other units regardless of the student's final mean. Of course excellent students often perform well all round - but there are always many borderline candidates for whom these biases in the marking scale can be highly significant.
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    (Original post by ServantOfMorgoth)
    Say a first is raised to 80 and the pass mark is raised to 50. Isn't that unfair to the students at this particular institution since other places keep the regular 70% for a first and 40% for a pass mark?
    Put it this way; when I went to university, the degree classes at my university were 1st, 2nd, 3rd, pass, fail.

    Part way through my 3rd year, they changed it to 1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, pass, fail.

    Lots of people who thought they were going to get an undivided 2nd ended up with a 2:2.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Put it this way; when I went to university, the degree classes at my university were 1st, 2nd, 3rd, pass, fail.

    Part way through my 3rd year, they changed it to 1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, pass, fail.

    Lots of people who thought they were going to get an undivided 2nd ended up with a 2:2.
    That's really unfair because the others in the previous years had an unfair advantage. The least they could've done is make the exams easier so you all would have a somewhat similar classification.

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