No detriment policies meant a record number of students got firsts in 2020, says OfS
Your dad’s going to read this and spend three days talking about how easy uni is these days
No detriment policies meant a record number of students got firsts in 2020, the head of the Office for Students has said.
Over a third – 35 per cent – of 2020 grads got a first class degree, up from 28 per cent in 2019, new stats have revealed.
This “significant increase” has been caused by no detriment policies, says OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge, who added: “There is more to be done to ensure that students, graduates and employers can maintain their confidence in the value of a degree”.
Students kept away from campus have been calling for unis to reintroduce no-detriment policies. When students were sent home in the spring, the majority of universities introduced measures ensuring work completed during the pandemic wouldn’t bring down a student’s overall grade.
However, the Russell Group said this not “necessary or appropriate” this time round, in a joint statement of its 24 members.
The record number of firsts may provide a very limited warm, fuzzy feeling for a cohort of grads emerging into a catastrophic jobs market. Leading companies took on 15 per cent fewer grads as the pandemic took hold, The Times reports.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said: “This latest set of figures covers students graduating during the early stage of the pandemic. This was a period of intense disruption, with universities needing to move studies online very rapidly. As a result of this many universities implemented ‘no detriment’ policies, and these policies lie behind the significant increase in first class honours awarded to students graduating in 2020.
“Before the pandemic, OfS analysis found evidence that unexplained grade inflation at our universities had begun to slow. However, there is more to be done to ensure that students, graduates and employers can maintain their confidence in the value of a degree and temporary changes in response to the pandemic should not bake in further grade inflation. This will require careful work which balances the importance of standards being maintained with recognition of – and response to – the exceptional pressures that students remain under this year.”