Office for Students to examine assessment practices

The Office for Students (OfS) has today launched a review of the use of ‘inclusive’ assessment practices that disregard poor spelling, punctuation and grammar when students’ work is assessed. The review is part of a range of activities to drive up the quality of higher education courses and ensure that standards are maintained.

The OfS is reviewing the policies and practices of a number of universities to identify approaches that maintain rigour in assessment and those that do not. The findings of the review will be published, identifying where the OfS is likely to have future regulatory concerns as well as areas of good practice.

Susan Lapworth, Director of Regulation at the OfS, said:

'Rigorous assessment practices are essential if students’ qualifications are to stand the test of time. Students from all backgrounds should expect a high quality academic experience and a qualification that reflects their achievements. We have been clear that standards should not be reduced for particular groups of students and it is patronising to expect less from some students under the guise of supporting them. Effective academic writing requires good spelling, punctuation and grammar from all.

'We want to understand the approach universities are taking to these important issues. It is a matter of strong public interest that the English higher education sector is able to demonstrate that the degrees it awards to students are a reliable indicator of academic achievement and that high standards are maintained.'

Published 23 June 2021

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