University grade inflation - is our degree classification system just a joke now? Watch

nexttime
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-48951653

So in the last 10 years, the number of 1sts has shot up 80%

The University of Surrey now gives out 1sts to 47% of its students.

Other massive increases were seen. To name and shame:
  • Imperial College London from 31% to 46%
  • University of Huddersfield: 15% to 40%
  • University College London: 24% to 40%
  • Durham University: 18% to 38%
  • University of East Anglia: 14% to 39%
  • University of Northumbria: 16% to 35%
  • University of West London: 13% to 34%
  • Staffordshire University: 14% to 34%


Universities have every incentive to inflate their grades as it can lead to a better reputation and more applicants. This is further emphasised by the new government initiatives to get unis to compete for applicants - the same incentives underlying the explosion in unconditional offers. They want unis to compete, and unis are competing.

My question for you is: How can we trust any of these grades any more? There are still vast numbers of employers out there who just ask for a 2.1 no conditions. If unis are just handing out grades to improve their image... is our job industry in trouble? Will employers have to start resorting to other means of selection?

Are our degrees worth the paper they are written on?
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ecolier
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Everyone's getting clever though, isn't it.

Must be the climate change.
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math42
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My degree was certainly a joke.
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999tigger
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Everyone should get a first or two 2:1s.
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MinaBee
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The whole university system is just a mess tbh.
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Themysticalegg
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I knew there was no way someone like me should of got a 1st!
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nexttime
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Everyone should get a first or two 2:1s.
You want to give some people 2.1s?!

Discrimination. Elitist.
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nexttime
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(Original post by MinaBee)
The whole university system is just a mess tbh.
Just... no one seems to care though? Education is... was... one of our biggest exports and growth areas. Some kind of sensical regulation might make a bit of sense...
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tenacity
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Tuition fees were trebled at the start-point of this comparison. Perhaps the prospect of having to pay £45k for university has encouraged undergraduates to take their degrees more seriously
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999tigger
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(Original post by nexttime)
You want to give some people 2.1a?!

Discrimination. Elitist.
Nope im saying they should be awarded 2x2:1, so two degrees so no hurty feelings. I know its out of control at A level, but this is ridiculous.
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random_matt
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Surprised UCL and Durham are named, should of stayed, lol.
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ltsmith
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Why not just make all degrees pass/fail like medicine ? We might swell since everyone is getting the higher classifications (2.1+) and thus making them meaningless.
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random_matt
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(Original post by ltsmith)
Why not just make all degrees pass/fail like medicine ? We might swell since everyone is getting the higher classifications (2.1+) and thus making them meaningless.
What would the threshold be?
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Sinnoh
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I remember seeing a post on here about dodgy rounding practices that allowed people who had very obviously missed the boundary for a first get a first.
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ltsmith
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(Original post by random_matt)
What would the threshold be?
I would let the universities set it. E.g. at Edinburgh med school you need 60% to pass but at other med schools 50% is the requirement.
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ltsmith
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
I remember seeing a post on here about dodgy rounding practices that allowed people who had very obviously missed the boundary for a first get a first.
Yep I've seen posts here asking if a 67% can be rounded up to a first. It must be common practice at some places if people are thinking it's possible.
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random_matt
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(Original post by ltsmith)
I would let the universities set it. E.g. at Edinburgh med school you need 60% to pass but at other med schools 50% is the requirement.
Seems fair, to be honest I always thought why we need 1, 2:1 and what not.
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kjnkjnlknjlmklnm
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(Original post by nexttime)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-48951653

So in the last 10 years, the number of 1sts has shot up 80%

The University of Surrey now gives out 1sts to 47% of its students.

Other massive increases were seen. To name and shame:
  • Imperial College London from 31% to 46%
  • University of Huddersfield: 15% to 40%
  • University College London: 24% to 40%
  • Durham University: 18% to 38%
  • University of East Anglia: 14% to 39%
  • University of Northumbria: 16% to 35%
  • University of West London: 13% to 34%
  • Staffordshire University: 14% to 34%


Universities have every incentive to inflate their grades as it can lead to a better reputation and more applicants. This is further emphasised by the new government initiatives to get unis to compete for applicants - the same incentives underlying the explosion in unconditional offers. They want unis to compete, and unis are competing.

My question for you is: How can we trust any of these grades any more? There are still vast numbers of employers out there who just ask for a 2.1 no conditions. If unis are just handing out grades to improve their image... is our job industry in trouble? Will employers have to start resorting to other means of selection?

Are our degrees worth the paper they are written on?
I strongly agree with what you're saying. Came from an awful home so university applications were messed up due to failing gcses the year before, got A*A*A*A* and went to a university where average grades are probably AAA, tried to keep a positive outlook cause I was a bit peed off I could have been somewhere better. I can average about 90 here and it's downright depressing knowing the only thing I'll graduate with is a "first" along with half the class (not exaggerating in my subject), to be brutally honest this isn't something I'd be proud of. My friend got an offer from oxford and turned it down, he has averaged 85ish here and has a similar complaint. Basically, if you go to a worse uni than you would normally have gone to there is literally no way to distinguish yourself or make up for it.

What really needs to be done is introduce standardised exams at the end and everyone gets a number grade. "1" means you scored in the top 1 percent, "2" means top 2 percent etc. Completely stops grade inflation and gives people a second chance if they under performed at A level to distinguish themselves. Now I know someone will say about option modules, and that isn't a problem. Make the standardised exam count for 50% and then weight scores on the option modules by how well everyone at the university performed on the standardised exam, completely gets rid of this stupid argument.

Rant over.

EDIT: If it was unclear I mean standardised exams across all universities nationwide
Last edited by kjnkjnlknjlmklnm; 1 month ago
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nexttime
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(Original post by ltsmith)
Why not just make all degrees pass/fail like medicine ? We might swell since everyone is getting the higher classifications (2.1+) and thus making them meaningless.
You don't think its useful to have some kind of discrimination? I know pass/fail is kind of what its become, but doesn't mean it has to be that way. I mean, the US actually releases the full GPA right!

One possibility is to use grade quotas e.g. 25% get a 1st, 25% get a 2.1 etc, no matter the uni you're at. The traditional argument against this is the best unis would be disadvantaged and degrees would become incomparable... but that's the case anyway isn't it?
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searching123job
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It really is ridiculous

Thanks to all of this, my classification gives me no confidence in my abilities nor satisfaction or sense of achievement
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