Glasgow University School of Law staff warn of grade inflation during boycott
Glasgow University has diluted its standards during the marking and assessment boycott, academics from its School of Law have warned.
Forty members of the law school, who have requested anonymity, wrote to university principal Anton Muscatelli to oppose the decision to hold law graduations yesterday.
In their letter, they say that the university’s strategy during the boycott “has consisted in waiving or diluting what heretofore were considered essential components of our assessment process”.
Honours dissertations now “go without any form of second marking if affected by the boycott, settling instead with a weakened form of moderation by staff members who may lack the necessary specialist knowledge and the ability to ensure exactness in marking at the level of each individual dissertation”.
And, in cases where no grade for a course could be produced, “the university has chosen to allow a large number of students to graduate with unclassified degrees, and others to progress despite the lack of necessary marks”.
The approach of the university “undermines the rigorous assessment standards that we have enforced until now, as is most obviously the case with the dissertations, which seek to prevent important risks such as inappropriate or mistaken marks being awarded, or plagiarism” and risks damaging students’ career prospects, the letter warns.
It also notes that the same marking regime “will not be applied to all, as the work of some will be assessed on the basis of the solid standards that we have traditionally upheld, whilst others will be governed by a thinner and less reliable process”.
Students may be subjected to one or the other standard entirely randomly “as it depends on whether that student was due to be marked by a staff member participating in the boycott”.
The university’s “mitigation strategy” has led to some students being awarded unclassified degrees, with a view to awarding their final degrees upon completion of marking on courses affected by the boycott.
But the letter states that this decision could severely impact students’ ability to successfully gain employment after graduation and will put excess pressure on the school’s management, professional, and administrative staff to monitor, process, and update degrees.
Signatories to the letter are a mixture of union and non-union members.