Education: University let down students

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The Independent Online
A new university accused of "dumbing down" degrees in order to pass students has been cleared of deliberately lowering standards but found to have serious administrative and other problems.

Higher education quality watchdogs concluded that standards at Thames Valley University could have been "compromised by administrative failures". In a few subject areas, the Quality Assurance Agency found, weaker students may have fallen below the standards expected of a graduate.

The QAA launched an investigation at the university, based in Ealing, west London, after a Sunday newspaper published allegations of a deliberate policy of lowering standards.

The inquiry found that in many areas of the university teaching was good and learning effective. However, there were serious problems of staff morale and industrial relations, which had damaged student support.