A rise in the first-class degrees given at university is pushing the government to implement measures for tackling the grade inflation. Research shows that the marking up of degrees is leading to students leaving with higher grades than the ones from the previous year.

The government will now penalize the universities that are awarding too many top grades. Sam Gyimah, the universities minister said,

When you look at what makes our universities so prestigious, it comes down to the value of our degrees. The value of those degrees is threatened by grade inflation and that is a problem for students, employers and the universities themselves.

Higher Education Statistics Agency’s estimates show that the number of students graduating with a first-class degree has gone up from 18% to 26%. The gap is huge when compared to 1990s when only 8% of students passed with a first class degree.

The government will use the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), the rating system, for discouraging lower standards instead of the degree-awarding bodies used by the Universities. This rating system will rank universities as gold, silver or bronze after the assessment of multiple factors like quality of teaching and student experience. A panel of experts set up for the purpose will review whether universities are awarding excessive numbers or not.

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A University spokesman in UK said that the rise in first class degrees can be result of higher investment in technology and quality of teaching. He added,

It is essential that students, employers and the public have confidence in the ongoing value of a UK degree.

The high fees also push the students for working hard in order to get the value of the investment that they made. Sophie Wilson, a student who graduated last year said that she had to work almost 12 hours a day and she couldn’t take a break even when she was suffering from depression.

I think it’s ridiculous that it’s being devalued. It’s more likely that people are working hard because uni is so expensive these days.

Source: BBC, Global Headlines