A University in
Britain is set to scrap traditional qualifications in favour of a
more in depth grading
The University College London is planning to
stop providing graduates with the traditional first, second or
third degree classifications in favour of the American style ‘grade
point average’ (GPA).
The University has decided to take this action
as grade inflation has meant that around 46,825 graduates from
2010 achieved a first or upper-second class degree. This is almost
two thirds of all graduates from the class of 2010 and double
number from a decade ago.
Therefore Malcolm Grant, the Provost of UCL believes that
students deserve better information surrounding a graduate’s
qualification. "There is clearly award inflation," he said. "The
public assumes there is a national exam process but there is not.
Every institution determines its own proportion of grades.
Perversely, award inflation has been fuelled by league tables which
give points to those universities with higher proportions of the
"Award inflation over the past three decades has led to student
performance being essentially recognised by classification into
only two main groups first class and upper second class honours. It
is a crude and undistinguished model."
The grade system in the UK is not recognised internationally,
and calls for a reform of the degree classification system have
grown in recent years. A former academic has also said that
lecturers were under pressure to “mark positively” and turn a blind
eye to plagiarism to boost the university in the national league
Universities are currently trialing a graduate “report card”
called the Higher Education Achievement Report, which is intended
to show a more accurate picture of student’s achievements and
overall degree classification.
With the old system it is hard to see what the difference
between a 2:1 and one with a 2:2 when the actual marks could be
60.1% compared with 59.9%. Yet the difference in life chances from
these classifications can be very different, with a lot of
employers stipulating they require at least a 2:1.