University Academics Responses to Our Work

Well done! I’m delighted to see that someone is looking at this issue. My colleagues and I see each year standards slipping in this university but it suits neither students, university management nor government to raise the issue of grade inflation. I think there is general agreement that standards are slipping across the board and what you found has been commented upon many times in our tea-room!

In my experience as a lecturer I have seen considerable pressure to inflate grades. In particular the pressure comes from UK academics who act as externs and who are victims of the ‘dumbing down’ syndrome.

I enjoyed your comments in the Irish Times column on Monday last and agree completely with your analysis of the grade inflation phenomenon. We have discussed this issue here also and our experience with both Science and Medical students is similar to yours viz. we are under pressure to award higher grades.

It is long overdue that someone should draw attention to the systematic decline in second and third level standards over the last 10 years or so. The capacity for some parts of the system to ignore this very unwelcome development is remarkable. My own experience in third level corresponds to your thesis; to some extent we have all been in denial, but it is time to call it, and time also to call the serious decline in the undergraduate educational experience which continues to accelerate, certainly in the universities, as fourth level and research become the prime focus.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on this piece of research into today’s nursing students. I would like to ask if you were able to ascertain if indeed there are any “Fails”. My experience is that the focus from institutes is to offer a “pass degree” rather than to fail these borderline nursing students. When the clinical site identify “poor performance”, these students are permitted to repeat, repeat and to repeat….. indefinitely in order to get this “pass degree”.

Problem is that many educators cannot be seen to publicly enter this debate as they may get into hot water with their employers. I spent some time recently going through the links to articles etc on your site and reckon that the level of debate around the issue is in itself sufficient cause for a proper investigation.