Are you working toward a degree in English, Biology, Accounting or Creative Arts? If so, you may be in store for more than a traditional final grade at the end of your course.
Eighteen universities are trialling a new system of grading, called the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). In it, you will find a detailed breakdown of your performance from all your modules and coursework.
You’ll still get the traditional First, 2:1, 2:2 or Third classification, but the report will more clearly highlight your strengths and weaknesses throughout. When you shine on a particular module, the new system will show that. On the flipside, any glaring weaknesses can also become apparent. For instance, if I had received the report for my degree, you’d notice that I took one module that only scraped a Third. I didn’t enjoy the module and didn’t put enough effort in the work…with the new reporting system, that would stick out like a sore thumb. But it would also point out my ‘big mark’ Firsts. You win some, you lose some…
If the HEAR trial is a success, it will probably become standard everywhere from 2010-2011.
The universities taking part in the trial are:
University of Leicester; Goldsmiths; University of St Andrews; University of Manchester; Newcastle University; UCL; University of Aberystwyth; University of Northumbria; University of Wales Institute, Cardiff; University of Derby; University of Northampton; University of Gloucestershire; University of Greenwich; Keele University; University of Ulster; University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury; York St John University; Newman University College
Below are links to coverage of what’s being said in today’s papers, as well as the original report suggesting the new system, plus the National Union of Students (NUS) take on the matter.
- Guardian – Bob Burgess on why the degree classification system needs upgrading (Bob Burgess is chair of the Burgess Group, which produced original report, which is below)
- Press Association
- Daily Mail
- Independent – Leading Article from 2007, after original report was published (Degree reform has been funked).
- Burgess Report – Beyond the honours degree classification (pdf file)
- NUS Burgess Report Briefing (pdf file)