According to The Independent, public confidence in the higher education system is at risk, the regulator has warned, as figures show unexplained “spiralling” grade inflation exists at majority of universities in England.
More than four in five higher education providers show an increase in the proportion of first-class degrees awarded which cannot be fully explained by factors linked with attainment, report finds.
Education secretary Damian Hinds said the new report should be “a wake-up call” to the sector and warned that institutions that are “unreasonably inflating grades” could face sanctions.
The warning comes amid fears that universities are giving out more top class degrees to improve their league table positions in a bid to recruit more students from a narrower pool.
The analysis, which looks at changes in degree classifications between 2010-11 and 2016-17, shows that 84 per cent of institutions in England have unexplained grade inflation for top degrees awarded.
Last month, university bosses admitted that a continued rise in the number of top degrees could undermine confidence in the value of a degree, making them less useful for students and employers.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Universities are already taking steps to tackle grade inflation.
“The report we recently published outlines a number of measures to protect the value of qualifications over time that are currently being consulted on by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment.
“It is essential that the public has full confidence in the value of a degree.”
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