Letter: Degrees of irascibility

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is doubtless some ambiguity at the margins between an upper Second and lower Second degree but thanks to Professor Geoffrey Alderman, the country now knows that such a difference is, after all, simply a matter of 'whether the chairman of the board of examiners has had a bad night' ('Abolition of degree classification urged', 30 June).

Naturally such a revelation will surprise many academics who, rather foolishly, imagined that the distinguishing feature between a 2:2 and a 2:1 was the ability and motivation of the student, not the irascibility of the examiner.

By the same token, however, it should not surprise the good professor if, taking his message seriously, ministers and employers should decide that a degree is no longer worth the paper, or transcript, it is written on.

Yours faithfully,


Department of

Educational Research

Lancaster University