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Too Many Firsts Awarded? Says Minister

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3146722/Universities-making-hard-sift-sheep-goats-dishing-firsts-warns-minister.html

  • Minister says too many people leave university with first-class degrees
  • Called for the introduction of a more rigorous, grade point average system
  • Current system ‘no longer capable’ of recognising differences between students, he said

Too many graduates are coming out of university with first-class degrees, making it harder for employers to sift the ‘sheep from the goats’, Universities Minister Jo Johnson has said.

Many students are simply ‘coasting’ knowing they will emerge with a first-class honours or the next best category, a 2:1 degree, the politician warned.

He called for the introduction of a more rigorous, grade point average system made up of 13 scales to ‘make it less easy to coast within the 2:1 band’.

The grade point average system – used in America – was ‘also of immense use to employers, who will be able to tell more easily the sheep from the goats when it comes to job applications’, Mr Johnson told a Universities UK conference of vice-chancellors.

Mr Johnson pointed to a ‘startling’ 300 per cent rise in the percentage of first degrees since the 1990s.

‘In 2013-14, over 50 per cent of students were awarded an upper second, suggesting that this grade band not only disguises considerable variation in attainment but also permits some to coast,' he added.

Has there been a large increase in the number of firsts? Or is this poor stats, that instead of 1 out of 100 it's now 4 out of 100 who get a first?

However if the teaching is focussed on telling people what they are doing wrong and people listen there score will naturally improve, although I do think the large 10 scale is a poor measurement as a 60 and 68 are both 2:1 but there is a difference in the quality of work produced.

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quadruple the number of students and you should see a quadrupling of any grade.

changing the scoring is the next step in the degradation of the degree.

Saying that, I know a few students who having passed, still cant think.

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No mention of subject I see. I'll stick to rather having got a third in physics (I didn't try terribly hard, or at all, really) over a first in whatever the latest faff around for three years degree is.

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If it was largely only the brightest 5% who used to go to University in 1970 say, they would now all be getting Firsts along with many more.

It was never a question of the brightest going to University.

It was certainly the most studious....

Two school mates of mine, one is a minister today, with his Oxbridge degree, the other a newsman, left at 16, one could well be on the telly interviewing the other.

both were more devious than the average person at school,the minister disrupting class with asking sideways questions, certainly the newsman astounded me with streetwise lies all the time I knew him.

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The more Firsts you award, the better your institution looks to those oh-so-desirable non-EU students researching UK universities from abroad.

They pay well above the normal fees...

"I'll have some of that!", says the Vice Chancellor, savouring the thought of another investment BTL....

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Has there been a large increase in the number of firsts? Or is this poor stats, that instead of 1 out of 100 it's now 4 out of 100 who get a first?

At Cambridge, 24% of students get a first these days, and 78% get a first or upper second.

https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/top-cambridge-degrees-more-than-double/2018957.article

Also,

Over the past 14 years the percentage of final-year arts students awarded a first jumped from 17 to 30 per cent and the number of students awarded a first or 2:1 increased from 84 to 94 per cent over the same period, according to the report.

“No significant growth took place in the average across the sciences triposes, though it did within one or two individual Sciences Triposes,” the report adds.

Just goes to show how much better Oxford/Cambridge are than everywhere else ...

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At Cambridge, 24% of students get a first these days, and 78% get a first or upper second.

https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/top-cambridge-degrees-more-than-double/2018957.article

Also,

Just goes to show how much better Oxford/Cambridge are than everywhere else ...

They should just give them all a first and have done with it.

In fact just give all 18 year olds a debt of £50+k and a certificate.

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erm...

i know of a Russell group university were the the VC told a school it has to pass more firsts otherwise students would go elsewhere...

its called competition and students as clients...

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Brains have developed to help predation, not least on one's fellow man in order to garner resources and rise up social rankings.

Homo homini lupus est, as the motto of my old alma mater has it.

I must say, I coasted to a first back in the early 80s so I'm shocked to hear standards have slipped further.

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erm...

i know of a Russell group university were the the VC told a school it has to pass more firsts otherwise students would go elsewhere...

its called competition and students as clients...

Had similar experience teaching at a non-RG uni.

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Too many firsts.....not enough fist class jobs.

How things have changed........not that long ago you could secure a first class job without so much as a degree, earned the degree whilst working. ;)

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quadruple the number of students and you should see a quadrupling of any grade.

changing the scoring is the next step in the degradation of the degree.

Saying that, I know a few students who having passed, still cant think.

My dad said that of his students as far back as the 1960s.

That was an era of politically-motivated expansion. They brought in the UCCA process, whereby every student put in a single application to five universities, so they could point to the data showing five times more applicants than places and justify more expansion.

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My mum deserves a first working full time bringing up six kids......she said it was best job in the world......educated us all, no certificate held. ;)

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How things have changed........not that long ago you could secure a first class job without so much as a degree, earned the degree whilst working. ;)

But that was before the invention of 'Human Resources'.

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I got a First Class in Chemistry, 1 out of 2 of my class of 120+. I look at the subject, a 1st in some fields I'd put at or below a Third in subjects such as Physics, Maths or other "core" disciplines. I may be biased but the "non-traditional" subjects at uni are of no use to the student, society or the economy in the grand scheme of things. I'd imagine any knowledge they'd pick up is all stuff which anyone could learn in the first few months of a job. A bit more difficult to bluff your way through the initial stages as an engineer, scientist or lawyer if you haven't had 3 or 4 years exposure to the subject.

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When I got mine (twenty years ago - eek!) I was told it was based upon grade percentages and a quota dictated to the universities. Oxford and Cambridge have always been allowed to award more firsts.

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I got a First Class in Chemistry, 1 out of 2 of my class of 120+. I look at the subject, a 1st in some fields I'd put at or below a Third in subjects such as Physics, Maths or other "core" disciplines. I may be biased but the "non-traditional" subjects at uni are of no use to the student, society or the economy in the grand scheme of things. I'd imagine any knowledge they'd pick up is all stuff which anyone could learn in the first few months of a job. A bit more difficult to bluff your way through the initial stages as an engineer, scientist or lawyer if you haven't had 3 or 4 years exposure to the subject.

Nonsense.

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Nonsense.

Would you clarify that? One of my mates "Harry the Fingers" has a 1st class music degree. I didn't do quite so well at Physics! :blink:

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Is there a proven correlation between intelligence/grades and how well people perform in business?

Brains have developed to help predation, not least on one's fellow man in order to garner resources and rise up social rankings.

Very often this sort of predatory intelligence works against the company and its shareholders and for that individual. If you want to blow up your company, put an ambitious intelligent person in charge.

Business (as opposed to skills like medicine or engineering) really doesn't require much intelligence and if you are really intelligent it will quickly bore you.

It is like IT Companies advertising for 'risk takers'. Frankly, they are the last people you want in charge of your computer systems.

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One of the few dependable things I have found in life is that people who have been to Oxbridge or have First Class Degrees will invariably drop the fact into conversation within at least 15 minutes of you meeting them.

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