18 institutions to trial end of degree reports

October 23, 2008

A system for recording students' achievements, which could eventually replace the degree classification system, is to be trialled by 18 higher education institutions.

The Higher Education Achievement Report (Hear), which will include details of students' module marks and other achievements alongside an overall classification, took a step forward this week as universities across the UK announced that they would be testing the new approach from next year.

Bob Burgess, vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, led a review into recording students' achievement that concluded that traditional classifications were no longer "fit for purpose".

He said: "This (trial) will give us an opportunity to see if the proposals add value and are practical."

David Lammy, Minister for Higher Education, said: "While the UK degree is a highly valued and internationally recognised qualification, we believe that providing clear and transparent information is essential for students and their future employers."

Institutions taking part in the trials are: the universities of St Andrews, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, Aberystwyth, Northumbria, Derby, Northampton, Gloucestershire, Greenwich, Keele and Ulster; and Goldsmiths, University of London; University College London; the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff; the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury; York St John University; and Newman University College.

• A £350 million programme is beginning to reverse the decline in subjects such as chemistry, maths and physics, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) said this week. A report on Hefce's programme for sustaining science and other vulnerable subjects recommends that the funding council integrate this scheme with its programme on engaging employers with higher education. It also says that land-based studies is no longer a vulnerable subject. A new Hefce advisory group, led by Peter Saraga of Phillips Research Laboratories, will research salaries and other measures of graduate demand in relation to vulnerable subjects.

rebecca.attwood@tsleducation.com.

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