THIS year has seen the amount of first class degrees awarded to students soar, with some university’s giving over a third of their students the top grade for their degree. 

The University of Salford have the tenth highest first class graduates out of the 148 universities in the country, with 30.4% of graduates achieving the grade, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). However, the highest amount of first class degrees came from Imperial College London, who awarded firsts to 41.8% of their graduates.

Professor of education, Alan Smithers, has called this surge of first class degrees “chronic grade inflation”, as getting a first class degree is now much more common than getting a lower second (also known as a 2:2 grade). This could be seen as a negative thing, as grades could be awarded to boost the universities reputation. Following the increase in tuition fees to £9,250, it could be easy for universities to give out grades that are higher than normal, to attract the elite students coming into their university and to get top students to choose them.

Lecturers at the University of Salford have explained that their marking process is vigorous, and it would be impossible to award a student a grade that isn’t deserved:

The University of Salford have been welcoming the Class of 2017 Graduates into their alumni network today at their first day of Winter Graduations. We spoke to some of the recent graduates about how they feel about their university and the grade they were awarded at the end of their three years of study:

Other universities who have highest amount of first class degrees awarded to students are shown below, with Imperial College London at the top, with 41.8% of their graduates achieving a first. Also featuring in the top 10 are the Russell Group universities, Oxford and Cambridge, who both award over 30% of their graduates the top grade.

So, what do you think? Are you a recent first class graduate? Or maybe you’re looking to come to university in 2018? We’d love to hear your views on the increase in first class degrees.

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