Grade inflation or true hard work?


“When you are inauthentic you lie to self and others, when you play the role of victim you cause harm to others. Love is honesty, love is empowering. Love is who you really are. When you ask ‘what would love do here?', you’re interested in living in truth.”


Jacqueline Mary Phillips


Grade inflation


I read in the BBC news (, that “Figures suggest that degrees are being "marked up", meaning students are leaving with a higher grade than a comparable student in previous years….Universities could now be penalised in the government's rating system if they award too many top grades.”


"When you look at what makes our universities so prestigious, it comes down to the value of our degrees," said Universities Minister Sam Gyimah. "The value of those degrees is threatened by grade inflation and that is a problem for students, employers and the universities themselves."


This is not the result I wanted


This news article surprised me, as I haven’t really noticed a huge change in student’s attainment year on year. I simply thought that they were doing well and that the results showed a fair representation of the work and effort they have put in. That is until I applied the SEJ and investigated if the thought I had was true. This was prompted by a student who came to complain that I had not marked his exam scripts correctly and that he should have obtained a much higher grade than he received.


He was adamant that he was right and that he should have had fair markings. As many educators are aware, we have to go through a rigorous and strict process when setting examination questions and the model answers provided with them, as we are put through an internal and external auditing process. This is rightly so to maintain standards and also to keep consistency year on year. But this type of explanation didn't cut it with the student.


Honesty pays off


I applied the SEJ when this student came to my office in an agitated state. I spoke with him in a calm manner, but I knew I needed to be focussed, so I did the SEJ process. The regulation was that I needed to be honest with him. I listened with intent and an open heart, when he had finished, I spoke calmly but clearly and shared his attendance record, which revealed he missed about a third of classes in total. Now he remained silent and after a few minutes sat back and said that now he understood the grades he received was indicative of his efforts and engagement with the course.


He then stood up shook my hand and thanked me for being honest and truthful in responding to his ‘ranting’. I thanked him for his response and then he left. When I saw him at graduation he looked happy and content. So you see the SEJ has shown to both of us that being honest truly is the best way to be in whatever the circumstances. There is no grade inflation just honesty and truth that comes from  the practice of the SEJ, that is all that is required for empowering education systems to function perfectly for educators and students alike.


Dr M Howard-Kishi


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