Change to degree grades rejected

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The Independent Online

University leaders have rejected plans to abolish the existing system of degree classifications, despite a major inquiry concluding it is "not fit for purpose".

A task force led by Professor Robert Burgess recommended that firsts, 2:1s, 2:2s and thirds should be replaced with a simple "pass", "fail", or "distinction".

But the idea was too radical and lacked the necessary support among vice-chancellors, the umbrella group Universities UK said.

Instead, one option being considered is to add a new grade within the current 2:1, to help employers distinguish between the 40 per cent of all graduates who get upper seconds.

A spokesman for Universities UK said the pass, fail or distinction proposal had not won enough support. "There is a general acceptance that neither employers nor the [university] sector is ready for such groundbreaking change. People know what a 2:1 is.

"But the argument is that there are too many people with 2:1s, from an employer's point of view," he said.

Wes Streeting, from the National Union of Students, told the Times Higher Education Supplement: "Everyone seems to agree that the classification system is out-dated. But, as ever, there is no consensus about what should replace it."