The ‘Thatcherite’ generation and university degree results

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Recent years have witnessed a substantial rise in the number of ‘good’ first degrees awarded in Higher Education and much discussion has focussed on whether this trend represents a decline in ‘standards’. A study of University degree award patterns between 1979 and 1989 indicated gender, subject and size and age of University as factors of some limited importance. A questionnaire distributed to 18 Universities in England and Wales resulted in over 70 individual responses with the identification of improved quality of entrants, improved teaching quality and increased use of continuous assessment as perceived factors. Evidence supports the notion of improved quality of entrant on the basis of improving A Level grades coupled with a relatively small increase in University undergraduate numbers during the 1980s. There is also strong anecdotal support among members of the University community that students worked harder during the 1980s influenced by the ‘Thatcherite’ competitive culture and fears about future job prospects. Copyright © 1992 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992


Macfarlane, B. (1992). The ‘Thatcherite’ generation and university degree results. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 16(2), 60-70. doi: 10.1080/0309877920160207


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