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Are Degree Grades Worth the Same? - Consistency and Dumbing Down watch

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    (Original post by NDGAARONDI)
    The issue with Durham is that very few of us on TSR post outside of the Durham section. If we do it's minimal.
    One influential member is an exception :p: :jiggy:
    (Not me, Tufts!)

    Anyway, I've merged the other similar thread (citing the Guardian article) with this one and edited the title. The question really should be more general, with increasing grade inflation are degrees being dumbed down and is the quality of degrees consistant across the range of universities. I don't want this to turn into yet another "Oxford V. Oxford Brookes" or "Pre V Post 92" as I know where that will take us. Unfortunately I won't be around to see how this goes but I hope we cam get some intelligent discussion.
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    I'm sorry but I find this outrageous- I worked my ass off to get a 2.1 at LSE whilst my friends at Manchester and other sub 10 universities were enjoying their social life to the max and spending less amounts of time in front of their books and got the "same" grade as me.

    A friend of mine who is starting a Masters at LSE and did his undergraduate there, he was initially at City University and barely did any work and got a 2.1, whereas after transferring to LSE and doing pretty much the same curriculum (and more) he just scraped 60% (being already familiar with the material taught!). So anyone who tries to tell me that a 2.1 is the same nationwide irrespective of university- I will laugh in your face.

    And honestly I doubt that someone with 10A*'s and 4A's at A level who gets a 2.2 or a 2.1 in their first year at a top university is less able than a person who gets a 2.1 or a 1st at a sub 10 university with significantly weaker GCSE's and A levels.

    What really pisses me off is that employers usually look for a 2.1 minimum in order for potential employees to advance to the next recruitment stage, but it doesn't matter if it's from Manchester or LSE... I find this ironic.

    I would love to throw the people from unis down the league into Ox/Cam/LSE/Imp/UCL and see how they do...
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    I don't see how the two university representatives in the OP have been said to be dodging the question.

    OXFORD BROOKES

    Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said: "It depends what you mean by equivalent. I am sorry to quibble around the word but is it worth the same is a question that is weighted with too many social complexities.

    "In terms of the way in which quality and standards are managed in the university I have every confidence that a 2:1 in history from Oxford Brookes is of a nationally recognised standard."

    (Read: University degrees are subject to various checks and regulations to ensure that they're of the correct standard. However, of course in some aspects (e.g. image in the eyes of the public) an Oxford degree will be 'worth more'.

    OXFORD UNIVERSITY

    "We teach in very different ways between the two institutions and I think our curricula are different between the two institutions, so the question really is are we applying a consistent standard in assessing our students as to firsts, 2:1s, 2:2s et cetera?

    "What I want to say in that respect is simply this, that we use external examiners to moderate our examination processes in all of our disciplinary areas at Oxford, and we take that external examination assessment very, very seriously.

    "The external examiners' reports after each round are submitted through our faculty boards, they are assessed and considered by the faculty boards, they are then assessed at the divisional board level and by the educational committee of the university.

    This is a process that goes on round the clock annually, so we would be comfortable that our degree classifications are satisfying an expectation of national norms."


    (Read: We teach in a different way to Oxford Brookes. University degrees are subject to various checks and regulations to ensure that they're of the correct standard. However, of course in some aspects (e.g. image in the eyes of the public) an Oxford degree will be 'worth more'.

    They state exactly the same thing, essentially. Degrees are subject to various checks to ensure that they're of a certain, high quality. Yet the MPs, who are clearly more educated on this issue than anyone else, claim that they "found these answers unclear"? What's essentially happening is that the MPs are making a claim about the quality of degrees, being given a very definitive answer by university representatives that proves them wrong, and then stating 'Oh, well, we didn't understand what they were saying'.
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    Well it's obvious in the sciences that degrees aren't valued the same, so why should it be like that in other subjects? I get sick of all the equality in this country..
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    I have to agree that Universities are "dumbing" down to some degree as of looking at past exam papers on the exam database. Even if the course structure has changed the questions say 10 years ago are much more difiicult to understand and answer.
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    (Original post by hebe001)
    I hate to admit it, but a first or a 2.1 from oxford is going to be more well regarded by employers than a first or a 2.1 from most other universities...
    Why do you hate to admit it? People at Oxford have workes much harder to get there, are of a higher academic standard and are pushed much harder. The difference should be obvious.
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    (Original post by 2late)
    I would love to throw the people from unis down the league into Ox/Cam/LSE/Imp/UCL and see how they do...
    That is a complete generalisation not acknowlegding subjects and or departments. Each deapartment marks and sets exams it is not a general university wide system.

    It therfore would not really help switching universities you would have to also do the same subject.....
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    (Original post by NDGAARONDI)
    From September I'll be living in Gilesgate and I have already visited the place to get to shops and I know I'd rather live in Mile End.
    What the hell?!

    I lived in Gilesgate for a year. I have a friend in Mile End, and I have visited Mile End several times. I can tell you that Mile End is a FAR worse place than Gilesgate, which is actually very pleasant. TO make out that the two are even comparable is pretty deluded. Durham has spectacularly low crime rates etc.
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    (Original post by T. Hereford)
    From the BBC News website:


    Are degree grades worth the same?

    Oxford University
    Oxford or Oxford Brookes? How do the degrees compare?

    MPs investigating the safeguarding of standards in universities in England have reported their concern at a lack of consistency.

    And they complained that university leaders could not give a straightforward answer to comparing the relative worth of degrees.

    Among the questions pursued by the university select committee was how a degree from one university could be measured against a degree from another.

    If the degree grades and the subject were the same, did that mean that these qualifications were equivalent to one another?

    This is an important question for students as well as policymakers. If students pay for a course will it be valued as highly as the same course at another university?

    Mature students might not have a choice about where to study, so how will they know whether their local university is providing a degree course equivalent to other institutions?

    The committee's report quotes the evidence of Victoria Edwards, who said that mature students such as herself might not "have the option of applying to a prestigious university".

    STUDENT, VICTORIA EDWARDS

    "Anybody in my situation, if they are living in Newcastle or Stockport or wherever it is, and they have got their family there and children in schools there, you do not have a choice about which university you apply to, so you need to know that your 2:1 from that university is going to be exactly the same as far as employers are concerned.

    "There are lots of reasons why people choose their university and sometimes you do not have a choice."

    So the select committee of MPs asked the vice-chancellors of the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University to say whether an upper second class degree in history from the two universities were "equivalent".

    OXFORD BROOKES

    Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said: "It depends what you mean by equivalent. I am sorry to quibble around the word but is it worth the same is a question that is weighted with too many social complexities.

    "In terms of the way in which quality and standards are managed in the university I have every confidence that a 2:1 in history from Oxford Brookes is of a nationally recognised standard."

    OXFORD UNIVERSITY

    The report quotes the reply of John Hood, vice-chancellor of Oxford University.

    "We teach in very different ways between the two institutions and I think our curricula are different between the two institutions, so the question really is are we applying a consistent standard in assessing our students as to firsts, 2:1s, 2:2s et cetera?

    "What I want to say in that respect is simply this, that we use external examiners to moderate our examination processes in all of our disciplinary areas at Oxford, and we take that external examination assessment very, very seriously.

    "The external examiners' reports after each round are submitted through our faculty boards, they are assessed and considered by the faculty boards, they are then assessed at the divisional board level and by the educational committee of the university.

    This is a process that goes on round the clock annually, so we would be comfortable that our degree classifications are satisfying an expectation of national norms."

    So are the two degrees equivalent?

    "We found these answers unclear," said the MPs.



    So for all the people who say that always say that it's the course that matters not the university are just plain wrong. I've argued this particular members of TSR and now a Commons Select Commitee reprot also seems to support my opinion.
    Of course not. Even for medicine, the examination questions (and standards) at Cambridge is very much higher than those from other lesser universities, whose questions are shall we say present little challenge to an intelligent mind.
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    (Original post by suuuuuuseh)
    It's an interesting question, and I think it seems that to some extent, the higher you climb with regards to higher education (i.e. bachelor's degree -> master's -> PhD) the less it starts to matter. However, I do think that in the case of the recruitment of young graduates (i.e. very early twenties in particular), the university from which the degree came can indicate several things- particularly aspirations, ability at the time of application (as it is accepted that 'passing' the interview stage at universities such as Oxbridge isn't easy), perceived potential etc. Although people can change rather dramatically in the 3/4 years a typical degree lasts, I guess it's similar in some ways to how universities look at GCSEs as well as A levels when you initially apply. Sometimes past performance can be quite telling too.
    Ah, this I agree entirely. For research degrees it matters very little which institution you graduate from, because primarily your achievements would be dependent upon your research group, so the same research group, whether at Oxford or Oxford Brookes, would produce the same results.
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    (Original post by 2late)
    I'm sorry but I find this outrageous- I worked my ass off to get a 2.1 at LSE whilst my friends at Manchester and other sub 10 universities were enjoying their social life to the max and spending less amounts of time in front of their books and got the "same" grade as me.

    A friend of mine who is starting a Masters at LSE and did his undergraduate there, he was initially at City University and barely did any work and got a 2.1, whereas after transferring to LSE and doing pretty much the same curriculum (and more) he just scraped 60% (being already familiar with the material taught!). So anyone who tries to tell me that a 2.1 is the same nationwide irrespective of university- I will laugh in your face.

    And honestly I doubt that someone with 10A*'s and 4A's at A level who gets a 2.2 or a 2.1 in their first year at a top university is less able than a person who gets a 2.1 or a 1st at a sub 10 university with significantly weaker GCSE's and A levels.

    What really pisses me off is that employers usually look for a 2.1 minimum in order for potential employees to advance to the next recruitment stage, but it doesn't matter if it's from Manchester or LSE... I find this ironic.

    I would love to throw the people from unis down the league into Ox/Cam/LSE/Imp/UCL and see how they do...
    The sad truth is the vast majority of employers do not distinguish between any russel group university. Fine, some investment banks do for FRONT OFFICE, but they only recruit a few hundred every year? Yeh if you are really determined to crack into front office then yes, a top degree will be of huge benefit but don't discount the other universities. Are you telling me someone who is studying at Nottingham ( a sub 15 university) with 3 internships (which I will have by the end of next summer...already done 2) will be less worthy than a LSE graduate? Don't think so.
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    I think that someone can get 60% in an exam at, say, Oxford and it mean more than 60% in an exam at Oxford Brookes, for example, usually.
    Yet this is purely because of the depth that the exam goes into, and the difference in subjects that the exams might be on (maybe).
    I mean, teaching things in a more "traditional" way might be very difficult to a modern-day student anyway ...

    I cannot argue about the fact that they would both be achieving 3/5 of the marks on what would undoubtedly be very difficult papers!

    Disclaimer| I am not an authority on this subject and do not claim to be!
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    To be honest, I think I'm beyond caring now. I've studied at Aberystwyth and UCL but no matter how highly I've achieved, how many awards I've won, I know that I'll still be judged as academically inferior to Oxford and Cambridge graduates (often regardless of degree class). It's not so bad, though. My degrees have not held me back, I'm doing what I love for a living, and I'm quite happy to be underestimated.

    P.S. And for the record, '2late', I moved from (lowly) Aber to (mighty) UCL and went from gaining marks in the 70s to marks in the 80s. So there! :p:
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    Have a look at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lif...cle6736054.ece

    Comments on a postcard please.
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    My brother moved from Manchester to Hull university studying computer science at both - he said the latter was much easier.
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    http://www.publications.parliament.u...s/170/170i.pdf

    page 112
    • Thread Starter
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    Well thank God there are some people on here who agree with my opinion. I've find it astonishing that some people on here think the league table position of a particular subject/course is more important than the overall league table posistion and prestige/reputation. :confused:

    Face it, prestige / reputation of the university you attend does matter!!!!
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    (Original post by Danny_777)
    What the hell?!

    I lived in Gilesgate for a year. I have a friend in Mile End, and I have visited Mile End several times. I can tell you that Mile End is a FAR worse place than Gilesgate, which is actually very pleasant. TO make out that the two are even comparable is pretty deluded. Durham has spectacularly low crime rates etc.
    Never had a problem with anyone in Mile End but a few chavs already at Gilesgate. Perhaps they live in a time warp and think I'm Kurt Cobain's cousin or something. Durham itself has low crime rates because nothing is there except a castle and a bunch of churches. It's basically a village with city status. Which part of Gilesgate is pleasant? Howlands estate? Well, the good thing with Mile End is that you won't get an egg thrown at you by an oncoming motorist. What happens at Mile End that everyone on TSR knows that I don't? Suicide bombers on the streets because there's a Mosque nearby or something?
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    (Original post by oo_Lucinda_oo)

    However I imagined the inevitable outrage that would have ensued had I implied Aston was more on par with Oxford, so thought it best to go the other way.

    You didn't have to go either way They're all at very different levels
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    (Original post by cpj1987)

    They state exactly the same thing, essentially. Degrees are subject to various checks to ensure that they're of a certain, high quality. Yet the MPs, who are clearly more educated on this issue than anyone else, claim that they "found these answers unclear"? What's essentially happening is that the MPs are making a claim about the quality of degrees, being given a very definitive answer by university representatives that proves them wrong, and then stating 'Oh, well, we didn't understand what they were saying'.
    You don't understand. The question has been dodged. Instead, the staff answered on a more general note about how there are external tests on quality. They did not answer the question regarding comparable difficulty, that is why the MP's were getting frustrated.

    Another point, just because exams are externally moderated does not mean they will be moderated to the same standard. For example, take the hypothetical situation of a marker being used by both Manchester Met and Cambridge. Both exam papers are initially graded 2:1 - is anyone here really stupid enough to believe that those 2:1 are marked on a similar scale? When assessing all the factors such as teaching quality, student calibre , motivation (all of which is far more likely to be higher at Cambridge) then it is impossible to keep a nationwide balance of what degrees actually means.

    However, the underlying point is that they should not be the same. Recruiters are good at their jobs, they know where the best graduates come from. Similarly, economics of university entry allow for demand to spearhead the entry requirements and usually calibrate the standard of the student to the university (assuming they take an offer close to their grades).

    What I want to know is this : Why do MP's give a damn? There clearly isn't equality, and by pushing for it; they are trying to tear down our great university system
 
 
 
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