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OfS grade inflation analysis not fit for purpose, says expert

Statistical methods used by the Office for Students to measure grade inflation for its recent report are “troubling”, according to an analysis requested by HE.

In December the OfS urged universities to tackle rising grade inflation after it published a report showing that the number of first class degrees has risen by what it called an “unexplained” 11 per cent since 2010. The regulator threatened to use the full range of its statutory powers to bring universities into line.

However, in an analysis of the report requested by HE, David Firth, professor of statistics at the University of Warwick and a fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, said that the statistical method used by the OfS to analyse the data on degree attainment from 148 providers could generate “unreliable” results. Firth has published his full analysis in a blog post.

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