Universities need to evaluate spelling, punctuation, and grammar: UK regulators

Higher education regulators in the UK have told universities that spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors should not be ignored because of the risk of compromising the quality of education and disqualification of students.

Office for Student (OfS) has published a report (pdf) After a review of student evaluation policies and practices at a small number of higher education institutions on Thursday. The report said some common themes behind the practice raised regulatory concerns.

The report contains case studies from five higher education institutions, two of which incorporate English proficiency into their assessment policies and clearly communicate their expectations for students.

The other three providers are, in most cases, student work on the technical aspects of the written language, unless it is a learning outcome of a module or course or specified by an expert, statutory, regulatory body, or quality assurance agency. Do not evaluate. Higher education.

OfS said these approaches were “less likely to maintain a rigorous approach to assessment” and could have contributed to higher grades, potentially putting students at a disadvantage for further research and employment. Said.

According to reports, providers often described their approach with reference to their desire to achieve or promote inclusiveness. This was generally defined “in terms of avoiding or preventing students from being disadvantaged (or favored) by the assessment methods used.”

OfS said that compliance with equality and other laws does not justify removing all students’ written assessments of their English proficiency.

“Quality and standards must not be compromised. OfS’s current regulatory requirements expect providers to evaluate the spelling, punctuation, and grammar of most students and courses,” the report said. increase.

OfS said it was concerned that inadequate write ignorance could spread throughout the sector. He also states that this practice may have contributed to the unexplained performance gains found in previous analyzes.

OfS Regulatory Director Susan Lapworth said that students’ writings “have the correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar,” because it is impossible to “analyze and investigate complex theories and arguments.” It must be of a high standard. “

She also refuted the argument that it is more comprehensive to ignore spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

“The idea that we should expect less from a particular student group is patronizing,” Lapworth said. “It can undermine not only public confidence in the value of a degree, but also standards. There is a risk of putting new graduates at a disadvantage in the labor market and employers to train graduates in basic English. You may spend time and money. “

Lapworth said OfS plans to “take action” after October 2022 in the event of a strict lack of assessment practice.

Higher Education Minister Michelle Donelan said it was correct for OfS to “notify universities that ignore poor English writing.”

“Strictness and standards are important at every stage of education, and good spelling, punctuation, and grammatical basics are more important than ever today,” she said.

“We are determined to raise the standards of universities,” Donneran said.

OfS review started later Media reported In April, many universities adopted a policy of ignoring English skills, and one university said, “Building an academic voice relies on advanced skills for homogeneous Scandinavian, white, male, and elite. It means adopting a method of expression. ” An expression method that obscures student peculiarities in written and spoken English. “

Lily Zhou


Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.