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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2008): Education - UK - higher

Grading student achievement in higher education: signals and shortcomings

M. Yorke

London: Routledge, 2008

In contemporary higher education systems, students are expected to demonstrate not only high standards of academic achievement, but also their broader employability. Many aspects of employability are difficult to grade for a variety of reasons and some graduates may be losing out because their particular strengths are given insufficient acknowledgement in current summative assessment practices. Using the UK honours degree classifications as a case study, this book appraises the way in which summative assessment in higher education is approached and shows that the foundations of current practices (in the UK and elsewhere) are of questionable robustness. It argues that there is a need to widen the assessment frame if the breadth of valued student achievements is to be recognised adequately and meaningful information is to be conveyed to interested parties such as employers.

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