Whiplashes on target in standards debate 3

September 18, 2008

I could not disagree more with Malcolm Grant that we should stifle debate and pretend that all is well with the standards of British degrees ("The real sting of the QAA whip", 11 September).

There are plenty of indicators that suggest, to put it no higher, that standards are not as high as they should be, and plenty of evidence that some of this is due to longstanding, and serious, weaknesses in academic assessment.

Much of this is set out in Mantz Yorke's Grading Student Achievement in Higher Education, which also shows that, as in America, grade inflation is greatest at those universities that regard themselves as the elite.

When will vice-chancellors consult evidence obtained through impartial expert research, rather than the economic interests of their institutions, when pronouncing on major policy issues?

Roger Brown, Professor of higher education policy Liverpool Hope University.

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