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Firsts pass thirds
II.1s won too easy, II.2s not 1:1, says report
A Commons select committee report has found that, shockingly, different degrees at different universities require ‘different levels of effort’ to obtain the same classification, with some honorary degrees bestowed on Members of Parliament not requiring any effort at all.
University Vice-Chancellors have issued a solid retort of quibbles and obfuscations. ‘It depends what you mean by “equivalent”,’ explained Roger Bighouse, VC of Canford University, ‘It is a very difficult issue, comparing these qualifications across institutions. We let poor people in sometimes, you know. Some of them even go on to do quite well. Does that answer your question?’
Along with concerns about inequivalence of qualifications, the select committee were worried about the increasing prevalence of first-class degrees. ‘Grade inflation accounts for depreciated student interest,’ giggled economics lecturer Francis Bargle, ‘Though much of the added value of student life is in the bonds people invest time in, your degree classification mostly depends on how well the examiners market.’
Alan Johnston, buoyed by his success revitalising the staid, struggling A-level system, suggested that the university system could be similarly transformed to better stretch high achievers with the introduction of a new first-star classification. Other experts prefer replacing classes with a system of credits, suggesting that historians are to earn seventy credits for waking before noon on a weekday, whilst geography students’ grades would be capped at II.2.
The Tories, with Oxford classics degrees hidden behind their backs, have criticised the lack of clarity over the relative worth of university qualifications, threatening to publish data showing the earning prospects of graduates over all degrees and all subjects. ‘The data are quite startling,’ doomsayeth Conservative MP Marvin Wilcox, ‘It turns out that a degree in IT is almost worthless, whilst the best qualification in the land is having rich parents.’