Achievement report is here to stay, says chief architect

Academics will be encouraged to do more to advise their students on what extra-curricular activities will improve their employability, as part of a new system of measuring achievement at university.

October 3, 2012

A report published today has recommended that from autumn 2012 all entering undergraduates should leave with a Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) which will detail precise exam marks as well as participation in clubs, societies and volunteering.

Sir Robert Burgess, vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, has led the group that produced the recommendations, and argued that the HEAR should help reverse a "damaging obsession" with first and upper second-class degrees.

Students will be able to see their HEAR throughout their degree, which will "allow them to discuss with their tutors their strengths and weaknesses", for example in relation to employability, he told a press briefing to launch the HEAR report.

The HEAR "provides a prompt for them [tutors] to talk about employability", he said. "Employability is not just the preserve of the people in the careers service," he added.

Sir Robert denied that there was a problem with students faking extra-curricular activities on their CVs.

But he said that involvement in sports teams, the student union and other similar activities would be "validated" by the university, which "gives assurance" to employers.

Universities do not have to sign up to the HEAR system, but the sector's representative bodies, Universities UK and GuildHE, have endorsed the plan.

Sir Robert said that 109 higher education institutions had requested a starter pack on the implementation of the HEAR system, including 14 of the 24-strong Russell Group of research-intensive institutions.

He added that pressure from students would convince universities to take up the system.

Asked whether a HEAR would provide an incentive for students to work harder, for example because it would reveal to employers if they got a low upper second-class degree, he said: "I would hope that the HEAR would be a document that would motivate students."

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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