Just deserts? Grade inflation and desert-based justice in English higher education

MORRISON, Andrew (2020). Just deserts? Grade inflation and desert-based justice in English higher education. British Journal of Educational Studies.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2020.1832957


This article discusses concerns raised by the Office for Students (OfS) and other policy actors regarding perceived grade inflation in undergraduate degree classifications in England. I employ a desert-based justice philosophical framework to argue that the criticisms made by the OfS can be understood in light of the position that degree classifications occupy at the intersections of two distinctive logics of desert: as retrospective in virtue of past actions; and as utilitarian future-oriented. I then draw from literature in the sociology of education and work to contend that the utilitarian desert-bases of degree classifications, which the OfS aims to safeguard, have been undermined by the shifting relationship between higher education credentials and the labour market. I suggest that criticism of grade inflation (if appropriate) finds a stronger philosophical foundation in the retrospective bases of desert than in utilitarian ones.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 13 Education; Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2020.1832957
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 13:39
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2022 01:18
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/27366

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