The university’s response

The articles in Times Higher Education and The Independent both quote a Cambridge University spokesman as responding to my analysis by saying:

“The university is satisfied that our quality assurance processes are robust, and that our classing systems recognise student achievement appropriately. The general increase in the number of firsts mirrors the position nationally, and Cambridge’s figures are in line with those at other Russell Group institutions.”

I question whether “classing systems recognise student achievement appropriately” when there are inter-Tripos disparities such as the following:

  • Between 2000-2014, 97% of final-year History students got a First or a 2:1, but only 69% of final-year Chemical Engineering students did.
  • In 2014, the percentage of final-year students awarded a 2:2 or a Third was 26% for Mathematics, 26% for Engineering, 0.7% for MML, and 0% for Land Economy.