University ‘report card’ may one day replace traditional honours degree system
NEW school-style report cards for university graduates could replace traditional degree classifications, it has been suggested.
More than half of UK universities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews, have implemented the Higher Education Achievement Report (Hear), which will give a detailed record of a person’s university achievements alongside their final degree award.
The record, which includes details of volunteering work, any prizes a student has won and membership of sporting clubs, was introduced in September after being piloted at several universities.
Professor Sir Robert Burgess, vice-chancellor of Leicester University and chair of the working group that recommended introducing the electronic record, said he hoped it would eventually replace the existing degree classification system.
He said: “The UK honours degree is a robust and highly valued qualification, but universities have recognised for some time that a single degree classification cannot do justice to the range of skills, knowledge and experience students gain during their time in higher education.
“The Hear is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach. Our previous report identified the damaging obsession with first and upper-second degree classifications and it is now clear that this is not enough detail for students and employers. The aim of the Hear is to provide the wider picture of a student’s achievements.”
Last year, University College London became the first UK university to drop the 200-year-old honours system, replacing it with an American-style “grade point average”.
UCL said it aimed to tackle “award inflation” – almost two-thirds of its students gained a first or upper-second class degree in 2010.
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