Staff at world most famous and top ranking Russell Group University have been told that they will face investigation over their grading if they award average marks lower than a 2:1.
In an email seen by Times Higher Education, lecturers at Queen Mary University of London’s School of Business and Management are told that they must remember what is called the “60:60:60 principle” when assessing students’ work.
Podium of university ranking winners, Quarter of students in UK universities gain first-class degree. With 60 now widely used as the threshold for an upper second – often referred to, along with firsts, as a “good degree” – the memo reminds module organisers who “return marks for any element of assessment where the average mark is below 60 and/or fewer than 60 per cent of the students receive a mark of more than 60 will be asked to explain why this is the case”.
Moderators are also asked to “bear the 60:60:60 principle in mind” and to “sense-check with markers if the distribution of marks does not meet this principle, recommending scaling or other adjustments if justified” – a process used in universities to increase unusually low marks to reflect student achievement.