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University’s ‘60:60:60’ Rule Fuels Fears Over Degree Inflation

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.

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