Amy Fox

Writer. Editor. Feminist knitting designer.

Concrete: First years to receive Higher Education Achievement Report

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Students starting UEA this year will be the first to graduate with a Higher Education Achievement Report (Hear) alongside their degree qualification.

The Hear takes many different aspects of students’ time at UEA into account. This includes a breakdown of all modules taken across the degree, including retakes, but will also acknowledge awards, extracurricular activities and sports achievements which have been verified by the University.

The report will be an electronic document which follows a standard format across all of the 109 universities who have already signed up to adopt the system.

Students will be able to view the report throughout their degree, with a view to encourage them to stay motivated and start thinking about employability as soon as possible. In a blog post for the Guardian, University of Leicester professor Bob Burgess, chair of the steering group introducing the Hear, said: “At a time when students have just started to pay higher fees, the Hear is a clear example of how universities can provide greater value. For employers, it offers the chance to see in more detail what students have achieved at university and make comparisons between job applicants.”

However, there are some concerns with the system regarding students whose grades may be affected by extenuating circumstances, or who are less able to give time to extracurricular activities.

UEA director of planning Ian Callaghan said: “The report is designed to go beyond a single degree classification, such as a 2:1, and provide additional information including a detailed breakdown of marks for all modules that a student has undertaken whilst at UEA.

“It will also show the key learning outcomes expected from a student studying a specific course, and give context about what it means to have a UK degree.

“Another key feature is that it will show a student’s extra-curricular activities, such as holding responsible positions with clubs and societies, volunteer work, membership of UEA or student union committees, or winning awards.

“It is anticipated that students will be able to share their HEAR with prospective employers and other interested parties. It won’t be a substitute for a well-researched and prepared CV, job application or interview. But it will present a more rounded account of a student’s time at UEA – to the benefit of both students and employers.

“It will also help employers see detail behind a student’s final degree classification, such as whether they got a low 2:1, came close to a First, or perhaps excelled in particular areas.

“We believe that providing this level of academic detail, and a more diverse account of a student’s time at university, will help boost employability by highlighting key skills which the traditional classification system ignores.”

The system will affect all first years that have started this year, and will include grades from modules currently being taken.

Update 20 November: UEA has stated that the Hear scheme will now be implemented for students enrolling in 2013, not current first years.

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