'Inconsistent' degrees to be overhauled

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The Independent Online

The way in which university degrees are marked is to be overhauled, after a scathing report which found no consistency of standards between subjects, departments or universities.

A House of Commons select committee report on university standards published in August said it was unacceptable that higher education received £15bn of public money but was unable to answer straightforward questions about the worth of degrees at different universities. It also found that the proportion of students awarded a first-class degree rose from 7.7 per cent in 1996-97 to 13.3 per cent in 2007-08 and concluded that different levels of effort were required in different universities to obtain similar degrees.

Professor Steve Smith, president of Universities UK, said that the review was needed to ensure the system was robust. "We are committed to taking an open and sensible approach to public concerns," he said.