Universities accused of artificially boosting grades

Universities in the United Kingdom are artificially inflating their grades to look good, a report by think tank Reform claims. The report states that universities, competing with each other, have altered the way grades are calculated to increase the number of firsts, writes Will Frampton for Bournemouth Daily Echo.

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency showing that in 2010 – the year the government announced tuition fees would be tripled – 12.4% of students at Bournemouth University and 11.6% at Arts University Bournemouth were awarded firsts; however last year those figures had nearly doubled to 22.3% and 20.2% respectively.

Reform’s report says there is considerable evidence that the UK’s universities’ degree algorithms, which translate marks into a final classification, are contributing to grade inflation.

Tom Richmond, the author of Reform’s report, said: “Rocketing degree grade inflation is in no one’s interest. Universities may think easier degrees are a way to attract students, but eventually they will lose currency and students will go elsewhere, even overseas.” A spokesman from Arts University Bournemouth said its grades were independently assessed and reflected an improvement in teaching. Bournemouth University did not comment.
Full report on the Bournemouth Daily Echo site