British universities award an increased number of first-class degrees

According to recent research by the British Office for Students, there is an upward trend in the grades awarded to graduating university students.

The data gathered during the research shows that the number of first-class diplomas awarded by British universities is about eighty percent (80%) higher than it was in 2010. The Office for Students has called this rise a “grade inflation,” and deemed it unfounded.

An example is the University of Surrey, where the percentage of students with excellent diplomas rose by more than twenty percent (23%) to nearly half of the whole graduating class (47%).

Concerning increase

According to the independent regulator, this trend is concerning, because it means universities are devaluing the efforts of hardworking and ambitious students. According to Education Secretary Damian Hinds, this increase is probably the result of “unfair practices,” which was a reason to look into the issue further.

What is more worrying is that if this trend continues, the overall quality of education in the country will drop in value, as first-class diplomas will become easily achievable. If this happens, the public will lose a lot of the trust it has for higher education in Britain. 

According to the Office of Students research, there are universities where the percentage of excellent performing students has increased by more than times what it was several years ago. An example is the University of Durham, where the increase in first-class diplomas is about thirty percent (30%).

In the official press release about the research, the Office of Students explained that the study had taken several factors that might affect the performance of students, and still could not find a conclusive reason for this “grade inflation.”

In contrast to this trend, a recent UNESCO report stated that global education is not meeting the performance and development target set by the SDG4 goal.