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Kent award Record Firsts amid Grade Inflation Crisis

Universities across the country have been accused of grade-inflation by a think-tank, Reform, by awarding a high amount of first class degrees, with 24.2% (1,055) of last year’s undergraduates being given firsts at Kent alone.

Accusations that the University of Kent have been “inflating” grades have been reported since 2009-10, where the rate of first class degrees went from 4% to 15%.

Students at Kent have also had the impact of strikes this year, with grade mitigation occurring in modules affected

As a result, the worth of higher grades (first or second class) may become insignificant in a world where companies look for a minimum 2:1 threshold.

Second and final year students have received their grades in the past few weeks, but 1st year undergraduate results are expected to come out tomorrow, 6th July 2018.

These accusations have also been made in a year where students missed potentially 4 weeks of contact hours over lecturer strikes during February and March, with grades mitigated by some universities as a result.

The University of Kent responded to a potential lawsuit over the strikes with a £50 Amazon voucher offered to all graduates this year but have yet to make comment over the accusations of grade-inflation.

Are the amount of hours spent by students in the library worth it if grade inflation continues?

However, this isn’t a problem felt solely by the University of Kent, as according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 26% of all first-time undergraduates obtained first class degrees in 2016/17, implying that grade-inflation has instead become a national issue.

Despite concerns from Reform and HESA, Kent is also by no means the worst affected by grade-inflation, with Imperial College London awarding 45% of undergraduate’s firsts this year and could merely imply that students have become more successful over time.

Yet, such trends are expected to continue without legislation, according to Reform, as an ever increasing student population (1.76 million this year) and high tuition fees, mean that universities have no effective incentive to stop grade inflation.

Kent Union have been contacted for comment.

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