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UK may see new degree classification system

Last week, buy cialis the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) concluded in the U.K that the current 2:1 degree classification system is outdated. The report describes how the current system “cannot describe, and therefore does not do full justice to, the range of knowledge, skills, experience and attributes of a graduate in the 21st century.”

The report finds that the current system cannot capture achievement in some key areas of interest to students and employers, and that many employers could be missing out on the skills and experience of potential recruits merely because these students had not attained a first or upper second degree. The report comments on how “the focus on the top two degree classes wrongly reinforces an impression that a Lower Second or a Third Class degree is not an achievement.”

The drafters of the report believe that replacing this system represents a major upheaval for the sector. It is now the popular belief that employers value candidates with work experience just as much as academic achievement. A recent survey by graduate recruitment specialist Milkround.com, found 58% of graduates think employers should scrap their minimum requirement of a 2:1 degree.

Another survey conducted by High Fliers research, which looked at the graduate job market in the UK, found that a total of 36% of vacancies on offer are likely to be filled by applicants who worked for the company concerned while they were at university.

The report concludes: “this means many of those without work experience are likely to be left out in the cold.” The report goes on to find that more than half of recruiters say graduates who have no previous work experience are unlikely to make it through their selection process and have little or no chance of securing a job offer for their graduate programme.

Despite the suggestions of recent research, HEAR believe that they can’t ignore the durability of the current classification system: “throughout this period of considerable institutional and curriculum change, despite the increasing diversity of graduates and their learning experiences…the honours degree classification has endured as the final judgement.” The report still doesn’t find the honours degree classification system as the most efficient, “[it] reduces the information about student achievement to five/six broad categories of classification and…is far too blunt a tool to fully capture the qualities and capabilities of the modern student.”

In 1997, the Dearing report also called for the abolition of the current degree classification system. It has been over 10 years since Dearing hoped that the system currently in place would wither of its own accord. This hasn’t happened, however, HEAR ask for “active participation of the sector in taking this work forward.”

The drafters of the report feel that “information contained in HEAR will be limited and its potential may remain under-exploited.”

Nevertheless it is the belief of HEAR that many employers are not knowledgeable on the proposed changes but if they were, the opportunities for providing a range of new types of information are considerable.

Peter Hamilton

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