Connect with us

Education

Universities ‘failing to mark down students’ for poor writing skills

Universities

Universities ‘failing to mark down students’ for poor writing skills

Universities and colleges are failing to mark down students for poor spelling, grammar and punctuation, which is leading to grade inflation because of a misguided application of equalities legislation, according to England’s higher education regulator.

After a review of assessment policies at five institutions, the Office for Students (OfS) said it feared that staff being allowed to ignore errors in students’ written work was “widespread”. It warned that it was willing to punish universities for failing to tackle poor writing skills.

The review follows cases this year of institutions using “inclusive assessment” policies more widely, and only taking quality of writing into account in courses where it was deemed to be critical, leading to condemnation from ministers.

Susan Lapworth, the OfS’s director of regulation, said: “The common features we have seen in assessment policies suggest that poor spelling, punctuation and grammar may be accepted across the sector. In publishing this report, we are being clear with universities and colleges that we want to see change.

“Effective assessment should take into account all aspects of a student’s work, and this includes their ability to express themselves effectively and correctly in written English.”

The OfS said its inspectors “analysed examples of assessed student work from a range of modules and disciplines”, along with marking criteria and staff comments, to identify how “language accuracy” was being assessed in practice.

It said it found “common themes that gave us cause for regulatory concern”, including interpretations of the Equality Act and similar legislation made by several universities to justify not assessing proficiency in written English for all students.

“As a consequence, it appears that accurate use of spelling, punctuation and grammar is not assessed for many students at these providers, and in some cases its assessment is explicitly not permitted.

“Compliance with this legislation does not in our view justify removing assessment of written proficiency in English for all students,” the OfS stated.

“We would expect providers to assess spelling, punctuation and grammar for most students and courses.”

The regulator also suggested that poor assessment practices “could be an indicator of wider concerns” about institutions, with low standards partly behind the increasing proportion of top class degrees being awarded.

“If the policies and approaches identified in this report are leading to students getting higher marks than they otherwise would, for instance because poor proficiency in written English is not being routinely assessed, then this not only undermines the rigour of assessment processes, but also contributes to unexplained grade inflation,” the review said.

The OfS added that it would “test this hypothesis” through further investigation.

However, critics said the OfS’s review of five case studies was too narrow and that such assessment policies were unlikely to be widespread among the more than 400 institutions registered with the regulator.

Universities UK, which represents more than 140 mainstream higher education institutions, said: “Universities fully recognise the importance of English language proficiency and effective communication skills. Their courses and assessments are designed to assess a wide range of skills and knowledge.

“As the OfS notes, this report refers to a small number of universities. The OfS also recognises that practices will differ across the large and diverse university sector, and there is no evidence in what has been presented to suggest the practices causing concern are the norm.”

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister for England, said: “The government is determined to drive up standards at universities so that every student can benefit from a quality education which leads to good outcomes, and it is right that the Office for Students is putting universities that disregard poor written English on notice.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

four + 6 =

Education

ASUU Strike Hindered Payment Of Bursaries To Education Students- F.G

The Federal Ministry of Education on Monday noted that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has hindered the payment of bursary to students of education in universities.

This was disclosed by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Andrew Adejo, during the 2022 World Teachers Day press briefing held in Abuja.

The Federal Government had, in 2021 disclosed President Muhammadu Buhari’s  promise to release bursaries to students studying education in universities and colleges of education

Speaking to the press, Adejo said, “The implementation of the payment of stipends has commenced.

“However, due to the strike, we have not been able to get the data of all the students in universities. We only have 7 per cent of the required data to be processed for payment.”

Adejo further said, “I must state here that the national implementation of the New National Teaching Policy has commenced. It is a holistic package that will ultimately address the career path, remuneration, professional teaching standards, qualification, deployment and management of teachers.

“The theme for the year 2022 WTD which is ‘the transformation of education begins with teachers’ strongly stresses the importance of empowering teachers for the effective transformation of education to ensure quality teaching and learning as well as galvanize technological advancements to meet the ever-changing needs for national growth and development.”

Continue Reading

Education

ASUU Saga: Reps Summon Ngige, DG Budget Office, AGF, SGF And Others

ASUU Saga: Reps Summon Ngige, DG Budget Office, AGF, SGF And Others

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has invited the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and several others to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday next week

Gbajabiamila, who said this on Thursday at the resumed fact-finding meeting on the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Universities (ASUU), also invited the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan; the Accountant General of the Federation; Director General, Salaries, Income, and Wages Commission; the Director General Budget Office among others.

As part of the push to resolve the lingering ASUU strike, Gbajabiamila, alongside his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase and other leaders of the House on Thursday met with the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS),  the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, among other government officials.

Thursday’s meeting was a sequel to an earlier one the Speaker held with ASUU officials on Tuesday where issues related to the strike were discussed.

The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting led the House leadership to invite the Head of Service, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission, and the Accountant General of the Federation, among others.

“At Thursday’s meeting, NITDA told the House leadership that the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) failed its integrity tests regarding the university payroll, which the agency conducted between March and JUNE this year,” the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, said in a statement.

“According to a NITDA official at the meeting, the government directed the agency to test UTAS in October 2020, adding that the platform failed the two integrity tests conducted on it.

“He said following the first test, ASUU was asked to go back and review, which it did. Yet, the platform did not meet NITDA’s requirements the second time.

“For the third time, NITDA was then asked to conduct tests on UTAS, IPPIS, and U3PS, which the official said all three platforms failed its requirements regarding the payroll system of universities.”

Lasisi added that “Not satisfied with the explanation, Speaker Gbajabiamila asked if NITDA advised the government to take action on the lapses found on IPPIS, which has been in operation by the government since 2011. But the NITDA official said they were not in a position to do that.

“Gbajabiamila also asked if NITDA queried the IPPIS platform, to which the official responded in the negative.

Deputy Speaker Wase also expressed reservations at NITDA’s action, saying it ought to have advised the government on the appropriate action to take in view of its discovery on IPPIS.

“But the Head of Service, in her explanation, said the ministry of communications and digital economy wrote her office following NITDA’s observations about IPPIS on the need to take a holistic look at the platform and that a committee was empaneled to carry out the assignment.

“She also noted that IPPIS is not just a payment platform but that it also has a human resource component, which all government agencies have been directed to activate, noting that all those directly under her purview have since complied.

“Also, the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr Nta, told the House leadership that in view of the general agitation in the tertiary education sector, the agency advised the government to look at the possibility of increasing the salaries of the staff in the entire sector, comprising universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

“He said, however, that at the end of the day, the government decided to increase the salaries of lecturers in the universities by a certain percentage, while professors were considered for higher percentage.

“He said he was not aware of any agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU for salary increment.

“Also speaking at the meeting, the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, said under no circumstance should employees dictate to their employers how they should be paid, faulting ASUU’s insistence on UTAS.

“After hours of deliberations, the Speaker suggested that a further follow-up meeting with ASUU officials be held on Thursday next week, which the stakeholders subscribed to. The meeting was, therefore, adjourned to Thursday next week.”

Continue Reading

Education

Bad Leadership Causing Poor State Of Universities- Ebonyi Varsity V.C

The Vice-Chancellor of David Umahi Federal University of Health Sciences, Uburu, Ebonyi State, Prof. Jesse Uneke, has attributed the failure of most government-owned universities in the country to poor leadership.

He stated this during a press briefing at the university’s conference hall, in Uburu, Thursday.

He said, “A lot of universities have issues and problems, and most times, people blame it on the Federal Government. That ought not to be. Most of the problems in the nation’s universities are caused by bad leadership. This is very critical.

“If you go to any university and you find that things are not moving well, check the leadership. If the government is giving you salaries, giving you capital projects and giving you recurrent; for goodness sake, all you just need is to have a good leadership and management, the university wouldn’t have problems.

“That’s the challenge we are having. But I don’t want to go into that. However, I want you to understand that the failure of some the universities we have in Nigeria is not because the government is not doing its best; it has been as a result of bad leadership”, he added.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending