Degree outcomes and national calibration: Debating academic standards in UK Geography

Wyse, Stephanie, Page, Ben, Walkington, Helen and Hill, Jennifer L ORCID: 0000-0002-0682-783X (2020) Degree outcomes and national calibration: Debating academic standards in UK Geography. Area, 52 (2). pp. 376-385. doi:10.1111/area.12571

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The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2019 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). In this short intervention we report on work in progress by Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy) in collaboration with professional bodies such as the RGS-IBG, which seeks to respond to public concerns about “grade inflation” in relation to degree outcomes. We present an updated analysis of degree outcomes in UK geography for 2010–2016 showing a strong correlation between average A-level points score on entry and the proportion of good degrees awarded by UK geography departments. We then go on to report on the results of pilot training activities within the discipline to increase the use of social calibration techniques as a means of providing transparent assurance about the high quality of assessment practices. We conclude that there is good reason to engage positively and actively with the public debate about academic standards and we make the case for regular social calibration exercises to share marking practices across multiple institutions as a potential means of ensuring consistency, reliability and clarity in academic standards.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Degree outcomes and national calibration: Debating academic standards in UK Geography, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Calibration; Degree outcomes; Assessment; Academic standards; Grade inflation
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Professional Services > Academic Development Unit
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Marta Kemp
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2020 10:21
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 17:32

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