Questioning the Grade: understanding the complexity of student grade enquiries in Higher Education
Authors: Allen, S.F.
Start date: 13 June 2017
Publisher: Bournemouth University
Place of Publication: Bournemouth
This workshop investigates the perceptions and attitudes of undergraduates and academics towards grading within one UK university. It explores requests for grade uplift by investigating actual, perceived and anticipated student demands, in an increasingly market-driven higher education sector. The reported phenomenon of ‘grade grubbing’, whereby students demand an uplift of their grades, has been identified as a symbol of marketization and the student-as-customer. However, there is little formal research on this topic particularly in a UK context although there is more discussion about grade grubbing in a US context. Grade grubbing is a relatively unexplored phenomenon. A mixed methods approach involving the use of questionnaires, focus groups, interviews and concept mapping was used, together with an extensive literature review of marketization as an underpinning key concept, in order to gather empirical evidence about attitudes towards grade appeals. The perspectives of undergraduate students and academic staff were sought and compared. The key finding is that forms of student behaviour labelled as grade-grubbing have been over-simplified and misunderstood. Whilst the student voice indicates a consumerist attitude towards the student experience, grade grubbing itself, defined as seeking an uplift in the initial grade awarded, is … Well, let me tell you what I found.