Sunday, 5 December 2010

Statement of the bleedin' obvious #148 (Category: Universities)

On Thursday MPs will vote on student fees and potentially shift the main burden of funding for university teaching from the state to the students. This will cement the students' position as consumers rather than learners as well as increasing the financial burden on individual students. An immediate consequence is that it will be much harder to fail a student (what does it mean to fail someone who has paid between £6,000 and £27,000 for your services?) and there will be inevitable grade inflation (students will want to go to institutions which are realistic about achievement levels).

In my view there is one way out of the grade inflation problem: abolish degree classifications. A degree becomes a transcript with a final grade point average. This would mean that if someone wanted to graduate with a GPA of 10% there would be nothing to prevent it, and that the current over-emphasis on which side of a multiple of ten a score sits on, which could be prone to a legal challenge if (for example) a lecturer were absent at a conference for a lecture and had a more junior colleague covering, would also be avoided.

Keep things simple!