Or, put another way, is it likely that universities will seek to award more firsts to boost league table rankings?
Geoffrey Alderman thinks so:
The more firsts and upper seconds a university awards, the higher its ranking is likely to be. So each university looks closely at the grading criteria used by its league-table near rivals, and if they are found to be using more lenient grading schemes, the argument is put about that “peer” institutions must do the same. The upholding of academic standards is thus replaced by a grotesque “bidding” game, in which standards are inevitably sacrificed on the alter of public image – as reflected in newspaper rankings.
See Guardian for the full story…
Actually I think this is one of the few things that most institutions would be extremely unlikely to do – it’s just too difficult and would be counter-productive. I would be surprised if there is any solid evidence to support it happening anywhere.
However, the argument about the problems caused by modularity and the impact on standards is a more compelling one here (although again hard evidence is difficult to find).
But, as always, academic standards are always under threat or dropping like a stone etc etc – it’s not like it was in the good old days when a first really was a first, eh?