University grade inflation highlighted by study

Puck’s Gauss is well and truly cooked.

Ahh, there’s no shame in it, stats is a mass of confusingly similar terms & its why they are a constantly used by VIs to bullshit us. Puck is right in that I would have been clearer in using the median when I then went on to use percentages. :blush:

I didn’t mean to be mean. :slight_smile:

That 700% figure is meaningless without some specifics - is this across the board, undergrad only, postgraduate, diploma. You’d also have to take into account what proportion of these are maths and science based now (marks of 90-99 are common in every university I worked in) compared to previously.

Factors in the inflation anyway are

i) Shitty LC standards leading to lower levels in degrees in some subjects.
ii) pressure from HEA, government and stakeholders to increase standards, pass mark ratio.
iii) pressure from university management to use full range of mark bands (marks in 80s and 90s)
iv) pressure to raise the marks of top students so that their results are comparable to UK universities (in particular) where this was in place by the early 1990s. This way students from here aren’t disadvantaged when competing for funding\scholarships\positions against UK (and perhaps USA) students.
v) study is now easier - with the resources available (especially digital) it takes a special skill to not write essays which are based on a wide range of reading.

New syllabus leaving cert maths: This beggars belief. If this is the standard to get into 3rd level how are they passing engineering and science courses? … n_2010.pdf

I’m about to finish college for the second time this May, timing sucks for me if this is on the examiners minds. In defence of the course, 40 people started it 4 years ago and only six left for final exams this May. They were not afraid to fail people along the way.

Hey beats me but look at this “subliminal” question :nin ,

this is loony stuff. Inter cert c 1975…despair is an option…

The education system was there to produce morkeshing and legals and kommunications people for the past ten years, not techs or rigourous analysts of any sort.

Sadly the staff in the primary system in my area is a sort of ladies who lunch club. I have a grave ongoing difficulty in explaining to them why times tables are important but they think my kids are soooOOOoo bright

The primary system needs a serious kick in the hole and their inspectors are a complete joke :frowning: … stcount=26

There was a comparative study done in the UK a couple of years ago between the Leaving Certificate and A levels, across the subjects. It was a sophisticated and complex study. The findings lead to a hefty upgrade to the credits awarded in most Leaving Certificate subjects for UK university entry.

From what I see the problem seems to be a rapid expansion in demand for computer/IT employees by US companies has not been met. They have complaining since the early 2000s about the number and quality of graduates. When the dotcom bubble burst Irish students turned away from IT. Courses weren’t filled and standards dropped. The word was not put out around the schools that IT was OK in terms of employment and everyone apparently was sucked into the property bubble or public sector. Some ITs apparently are notorious for not producing employable IT graduates.

So now the FDI CEOS are lashing out and tarring the entire Irish education system with the one brush. OECD studies show us as performing very well in literacy and most other subjects.

The situation is an FF generated mess.

No, you’re mistaking cause & effect.

In the late 90’s the Government set about placating the Teaching unions who were pissed because, & I can almost para-phrase one of the leaders at the time here because of the insanity of the quotation; ‘our members are earning less than graduates of the same year who went into IT or Medicine or Engineering’

The placation took several forms; the degrading of the Inter & Leaving Cert, the introduction of a ‘transition’ year, & the unjustified ramping up of wages. Less days, less work, more pay !

Children, & their parents, choose university courses on the basis or perceived future earnings; that’s why everyone piled into construction, nothing else. For the last 10 years you could leave at 18, go into construction & earn more than a lot of science graduates.

In the 80s, & early 90s FDI came here because we had a disproportionately high number of technical & science grads, the reason we had this was because these were perceived as marketable skills, outside of Ireland; they were like visas to a better future.

When I went into Engineering, I fully expected that I would never work in Ireland.

The FDI companies have been warning the Government that there was a problem for almost the last 20 years. The didn’t cause the problem, they just kept pointing out the trend &, to be fair, they have been doing as much as the can to reverse it.

I would say that there was significant capacity for producing IT graduates in the Irish Education system throughout the 2000’s. Mainly because it had been put there in the 90’s in response to the demands of Celtic Tiger Phase I, i.e. the export led sustainable bit.

The problem was that applicants were voting with their feet post dot-bomb and choosing alternatives such as Business, Building related Disciplines, Public Service related ones etc.

From my vantage point in the system, rather than standards being dropped to keep these people in the system, I saw failure rates and dropout rates rise as the points dropped for such courses. Often the number reaching 4th year was a small fraction of what came in in 1st year. This was partly a reflection of the fact that on average the Irish school leaver of a certain high ability level who previously did IT, no longer wished to work for Mr. Multi-national and was off studying to work for Mr Property Developer or Mr HSE as a nurse or physiotherapist. Rather than the system developing that person to a lower standard of IT graduate as seems to be alleged, that person had on average opted out of IT.

There remained some high ability students in each cohort (people who were really into the subject and were very able - the median points for low points courses is often quite respectable) but many of the former high ability students were replaced by students who struggled. Many of the latter failed to make it to graduation despite a significant investment in learning supports. Given this enforced weeding out, those that did graduate probably did quite well as many of them were the vestige of the cohort of high ability students who used to populate IT courses in the 80s and 90s.

Of course certain colleges came to the brink of viability for their IT courses and maybe pressure to pass more students did arise at the pass/fail boundary but where this existed it would presumably have had less effect on the 2.1/1st boundary.

I am not sure which IoTs are notorious for producing unemployable graduates but I would just caution that often when these arguments are made it is often seems to be based on the comments of one employer who has very specific technical requirements. I have worked with many IoT graduates in Industry and elsewhere and have found them to be as good as anyone else. IT is a very broad spectrum and it is entirely possible that any HE institution will have the an employer or indeed several employers for whom their course will fail to produce day one productive employees. It would be great to see some concrete data from these guys to underpin their press releases.

I’ve worked as a part-time lecturer in an IT so for what it is worth, here are my thoughts on the whole “grade inflation” thing.

As fishfoodie has mentioned, academic review boards are slaves to the bell curve. Now I often wondered if it should apply given that students in particular university or college are unlikely to be a good random sampling of the overall student body. When you sit in on a meeting where they attempt to impose a bell curve on a class of ten people, you’ve strayed into loony territory unless you believe that normal distribution curves should be fractal as well.

Further, in the three years I was working there, historical data on student results was only ever used to justify across the board increases in results. A good class where that year the mean was above the historical mean (but still fit the normal distribution model) would be happily accepted. Next year, when the following year’s class of duds churned out abysmal results, the board would look at the previous year’s results and argue the grades should all be bumped up by five or ten percent to bring them closer in line with the previous year. This is the primary source of grade inflation in my opinion.

Most of the areas of productivity improvement - lecturers providing free grinds to improve “retention” (i.e. stop people dropping out or failing), online class notes and the like are largely provided by lecturers and colleges in response to the poor quality of the students entering the system. In my final year (about four years ago), my suggestion that the class might want to take some notes at a certain point was met with a chuckle and “sure, I presume you’ll put the notes up on the web” …

room305, I’ve just noticed your new sig:

That is an astonishing thing to say. Is it any wonder that IT in Ireland is a dis-spiriting process?

Is there a profession / role in Ireland that doesn’t get it’s fair barrage of potshots… Programmers / Engineers are not special YM…

We’re all equally dispirited…

We’re not all seen as the savious of the nation. Calling surgeons jumped-up tailors is fine as long as you don’t get ill. I object, however, to being called a clerk by a tax advisor…

Well feel free to call him what you like, do you use a tax advisor? :stuck_out_tongue:

And only the fact that he seems to ignore the fact that there are quite a few female computer programmers around…

This is the sort of nonsense put out by people who are deeply ignorant of what they are talking about.

room305, if you have a link to it I’d be grateful. If not I will go looking for it.


Then how do you know what to call him? :laughing: