UK: Reform to degrees

Eighteen universities have agreed to pilot a new Hear (Higher Education Achievement Record) transcript - a 'report card' for students - in an attempt to ensure the degree classification system meets modern needs, reports The Independent. This could mean an end to the 200-year-old classification system of firsts, 2:1, third, pass and fail.

Under the trial, the 18 institutions will pilot the Hear in four subjects - English, biology, accounting and the creative arts. As a first step this year, it will be tried out on recent graduates, and then introduced early next year with existing students. It will run alongside the current classification, with the level of degree awarded included in the transcript.

The pilot was welcomed by Aaron Porter, vice-president of the National Union of Students, and by David Lammy, the new Higher Education minister.

Professor Bob Burgess, the vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, and chairman of a steering group reviewing university classifications, said he was "delighted" that so many institutions had agreed to the pilot. An inquiry by Professor Burgess's group last year concluded that the degree classification system was not fit for purpose but failed to agree on whether to replace it.
Full report on The Independent site