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Most students in the dark about degree classification

By River Reporter Mar 1, 2012

By Lily Meyer

Nearly three quarters of KU students do not know how to work out what class of degree they will get, according to a River survey.

The survey also showed that 81 per cent of students do not think Kingston offers enough guidelines about degree classification and 88 per cent do not even know their predicted grades.

Helen Blows, a third year English language student, said: “The information varies depending on who you ask, but there is a lot of confusion about working out our degrees and it should definitely be clearer.”

Staff confused also

It is not only students who are confused by the system. Lecturers can also find it confusing and difficult to explain to students.

Korina Giaxoglou, senior lecturer in English language and communication, said: “Degree calculation is an issue that comes up in a lot of discussions with students. If you’re looking for someone to blame about the wanting degree system, blame it on the modular scheme or even better, blame it on the UK honours degree classification, a crude system ‘no longer fit for purpose’.”

With the majority of students achieving first and 2:1 class degrees, many students consider a 2:2 to be a huge disappointment. The career options available to a student with a 2:1 and a student with a 2:2 are completely different.

Many companies will only interview graduates with a first or a 2:1. A top class degree also makes it much easier to get a scholarship for postgraduate research.

Unfair classification

Yet the difference in academic achievement – therefore their potential as an employee – between a student with a 2:1 and one with a 2:2 might be almost nothing – 60.1 per cent compared with 59.9 per cent. In this case, the difference in job prospects reflects no difference at all in academic achievement.

Ellie Pullen, 21, a third year journalism student, said: “I wouldn’t be happy getting a 2:2 after working so hard for three years and spending so much money.

“I don’t think it’s fair how degrees are calculated. It should be more evenly weighted over your first and second years. You could get mainly firsts and high 2:1s throughout your second year and all it takes is one slightly lower mark in your third to run the risk of getting a lower degree.”

For most students, if you registered in 2009/10, your honours classification will be determined by your score taken from 180 credits (normally 12 modules) from levels five and six.

Your score will be determined either by: adding the best 60 credits (normally four modules) at level five, plus all 120 credits (normally eight modules) at level six, or by your grade profile in the best 60 credits at level six.

Simpler system

If you registered in 2010/11 onwards, calculating your honours classification is somewhat simpler, as it is determined by the combined marks based on the best 105 credits (normally seven modules) from levels five and six, with your best credits from level five counting for 20 per cent (times total marks by 0.2) of the total mark and level six credits counting for 80 per cent (times total marks by 0.8).

If this still sounds rather complicated, just remember your final year is the most important in terms of grades achieved, but level five can give your final degree classification an extra push.

The best marks count, so you can leave behind one module result you’d rather forget about.

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