Time to tackle grade inflation
EVIDENCE of "grade inflation" in our universities, institutes of technology and second-level schools has mounted over the last five years and more. In 2005, a study found that over the previous 10 years the proportion of 'firsts' awarded had risen by 7pc in the Leaving Certificate, by 17pc in the universities -- and by an extraordinary 52pc in the ITs. A time for action, surely? In fact, the time for action had arrived much earlier.
Protests about "dumbing down", coming usually but not only from academics, were commonplace by the time of the study, and were often delivered hand-in-hand with complaints about teaching methods and a neglect of mathematics and science.
Ever since, grade inflation has been a constant theme in the discourse on education. But it has come up against a culture of denial, especially within the profession and the political system.