Letter: Hurdles in the RAE handicap 2

December 21, 2001

Were other readers struck by the disparity in the proportions of 5 and 5* grades in different disciplines? At one extreme, all six veterinary science groups, in solid well-established universities of impeccable integrity, were rated 5. Some 82 per cent rated 5 or 5* in pure maths, 70 per cent in anthropology, 67 per cent in Celtic studies and 63 per cent in law. My own grouping, social policy and administration, scored just 21 per cent of 5 and 5*, and poor old environmental sciences came out at 12 per cent.

Are some disciplines simply not so good as others? Or are they more often practised in weaker institutions? Or were we running different races, with discipline panels operating different handicaps?

Chris Paris
School of policy studies
University of Ulster

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