Four of the Irish republic's seven universities are likely to introduce a new marking scheme after a study showed that Irish students were marked harder than their counterparts in the United Kingdom.
The four are the constituent universities of the National University of Ireland, which denies that the change would amount to "grade inflation".
A confidential report was prepared for the senate of the NUI, whose registrar, John Nolan, said that external examiners - mostly from the UK - had indicated that there was scope for increasing the percentage of Irish graduates who received good honours degrees.
Drawing on tables produced by The THES , the report showed that UK universities awarded more firsts and upper seconds than did Irish universities.
To get a 2:2, an NUI graduate needs an aggregate of at least 55 per cent of the marks. The report proposes that the band be widened to 50-59 per cent. A 2:1 is awarded for an aggregate of 62 per cent, but the report recommends that the band be widened to 60-69 per cent.
The NUI senate will make a final decision next month.