Cambridge considering using American-style GPA Watch

Doones
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018...tion-adopting/

https://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/news/00382...de-system.html

According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, Cambridge is considering breaking with 200 years of tradition by adopting US-style degree system "in a bid to tackle relentless grade inflation".

The move to Grade Point Average could eventually see the first and 2:1 phased out, as British universities look to closer align themselves with other major institutions around the world. It comes as leading academics across the country express their concern at the huge increase in the number of top degrees handed out in recent years, with three quarters of graduates now leaving university with a 2:1 or first.

Professor Graham Virgo, pro-vice chancellor at Cambridge has labelled the current system a “blunt tool” and suggested that the input of the Office for Students would be necessary to effect real change. He clarified that the possibility of a “hybrid system” is being explored rather than “just ditching the traditional”.

The Telegraph is also reporting that the OfS is looking into the option of creating “sector agreed standards” for the distribution of degrees.
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Just a Bloke
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I think it is a good move. There is usually a world of difference, quality-wise, between a 69-mark and 60-mark average.
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erratic_deus
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Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Doones
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On the topic of grade inflation:

Name:  Cambridge Tripos Firsts 1st since 1963.jpg
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GPA, and a move to some standardisation, must be a good thing.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
On the topic of grade inflation:

Name:  Cambridge Tripos Firsts 1st since 1963.jpg
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GPA, and a move to some standardisation, must be a good thing.
That's incredible.

The question is whether you need a system of grading, or whether, particularly in a Cambridge context, anyone who gets through it without failing really deserves a good grade to take into the jobs market. If I compare the system used here in Germany (on my year abroad) to the one used in Cambridge, failure is a lot more common but the universities are less selective in terms of intake.

What I think would be a big step back would be if there were to be more emphasis placed on first year marks (or on supervision work generally actually), because I think it's beneficial to have a year to settle in and get used to the university system without it being of enormous significance to the final outcome.
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username2752874
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Whose to say the GPA system won't eventually suffer the same inflation as the current system?
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Notoriety
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
On the topic of grade inflation:

Name:  Cambridge Tripos Firsts 1st since 1963.jpg
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GPA, and a move to some standardisation, must be a good thing.
Also true that more high-calibre students are getting into Oxbridge now, as more students from all social backgrounds are willing to go to university. Mary Beard famously said the admission process is so competitive nowadays that if she applied now she would likely have been rejected.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
On the topic of grade inflation:

Name:  Cambridge Tripos Firsts 1st since 1963.jpg
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GPA, and a move to some standardisation, must be a good thing.
I don't believe Cambridge divided its second class tripos results as early as 1963. Oxford was the last to divide in 1986.
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PQ
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What a coincidence that they’re considering this around the submission deadline for TEF3 which includes grade inflation statistics and a requirement for universities to explain any apparent inflation :holmes:
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by PQ)
What a coincidence that they’re considering this around the submission deadline for TEF3 which includes grade inflation statistics and a requirement for universities to explain any apparent inflation :holmes:
Are they also asked to report the deflation in cricket scores against the first class counties?
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PQ
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Are they also asked to report the deflation in cricket scores against the first class counties?
:rofl:

It might be that this latest attempt to get rid of degree classifications will go the way of the last (the HEAR transcripts that graduates now receive are very much more detailed than the situation 5-10 years ago)....especially now that the main driver behind it Jo Johnson is not in the job anymore.

Or maybe someone in Cambridge has heard more coming on the grapevine and that’s why they’re trying to pretend it was their idea all along.
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the bear
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it's good to know that my 2:2 is actually equivalent to a high 2:1 or more nowadays :ahee:
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PQ
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From the TEF guidance. Last year a lot of universities used their “academic rigour “ as an excuse for their students being unhappy with the quality of teaching, assessments and feedback. OfS doesn’t seem to accept that ******** excuse without evidence now.

Supplementary grade inflation metric
7.50 The supplementary grade inflation metric provides evidence against criterion Rigour and Stretch (TQ3).

7.51 Whilst the proportion of firsts and 2:1s will vary slightly from year to year, panelists and assessors should consider any substantial increase in the proportion of firsts and 2:1s awarded over the 10 year period to be potential evidence of grade inflation.

7.52 The burden of proof lies with the provider to demonstrate that any such substantial increase is not grade inflation but has instead occurred for legitimate reasons. Panelists and assessors should only accept such arguments where there is clear and robust evidence to support them in the provider submission, supplemented by broader evidence of the levels of rigour and stretch at that provider. Potential legitimate reasons for the increase could include a substantial increase in the prior attainment of students at that provider, or clear and compelling evidence that the absolute standard of assessments at that provider have substantially increased in objective difficulty over that period.

7.53 Grade inflation should be considered evidence of reducing rigour and stretch. If grade inflation has not occurred, or has been reversed, this should be considered evidence of maintaining or increasing rigour and stretch. Assessors will be provided with contextual data that shows the average proportion of firsts, 2:1s and other degrees given across the sector 1, 2, 3 and 10 years ago to provide context for how severe the grade inflation at each individual providers is. However, the sector-average level of grade inflation should not be considered to be neutral or be used as a benchmark. Assessors should consider all grade inflation to be negative and an indication of a reduction in rigour and stretch, even if the amount of grade inflation is less than the sector average.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by PQ)

7.53 Grade inflation should be considered evidence of reducing rigour and stretch.
The technical statistical term for this is "cobblers"
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Doones
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I don't believe Cambridge divided its second class tripos results as early as 1963. Oxford was the last to divide in 1986.
Interesting. The data was sourced via http://www.bernardrivers.com/wp-cont...-analysis.docx
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wolfmoon88
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Interesting... as a person who comes from a high school that followed the American gpa system... and with a lot of friends in American universities... I am unsure that this is a good idea

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Smack
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Surely a bigger issue is that of employers misappropriating the degree classification system, which thus puts pressure on universities (and not just Cambridge, although it might be felt more acutely at the top end where many students may be quite disappointed about being locked out of certain jobs for achieving a lower grade at a more difficult course) to award more "good honours" degrees, which usually means a 2:1 or above.

Do masters degrees, which often use a distinction, merit and pass system (and some universities don't even offer a merit), suffer from the same grade inflation?

Or is grade inflation a symptom of students getting better at studying and passing for exams? I think it's quite plausible that students are putting more effort into their studies nowadays, as a) the final result achieved is a more important factor in securing employment, and b) they are better at studying the "right" things in order to score better marks. Maybe someone who studied at university in the 90s and before can advise on typical study habits back then; for example, how much students would typically study, and whether "studying to the test" was as common back then.
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username2752874
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(Original post by the bear)
it's good to know that my 2:2 is actually equivalent to a high 2:1 or more nowadays :ahee:
Do employers actually consider this at all?
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Doones
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(Original post by Kyber Ninja)
Do employers actually consider this at all?
Consider the "equivalence"? Not normally, no.

Back in the beaɾ's time AAB at A-level would have been good enough for Cambridge anyway.
(This is a guess... )
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Interesting. The data was sourced via http://www.bernardrivers.com/wp-cont...-analysis.docx
The source is ultimately this
www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/1999-2000/special/21/1.pdf

Table 20

It looks as though different faculties divided their seconds at different dates. It is clear that the majority but not all exams were divided by 1963 but the inconsistency no doubt explains the debates about the divided second on the Wikipedia talk page for tripos.
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