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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

12.4: Degree Outcomes Statement

What is the Degree Outcomes Statement?

The Office for Students (OfS) has responsibility for monitoring quality and standards in England. With regard to standards, its primary focus is the proportion of firsts and 2:1s awarded by each institution. In May 2019, in response to issues raised by the OfS, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), UUK and the UK Sub-Committee for Quality Assurance (UKSCQA) issued a joint statement of intent asking universities to undertake an internal review of the profile of their undergraduate awards over 5 years, and then publish a high-level statement outlining their findings.

Statements would be completed during 2019-20, and submitted to governing bodies (i.e. University Council) by the end of the 2020 calendar year, who would be asked to approve statements where sufficient assurance was provided that degree standards were appropriate (i.e. reflect sector-recognised standards). Once approved, Statements would be published. UKSCQA will subsequently review the published statements.

How the statement was developed at Durham

Durham monitors academic standards annually. This includes institutional annual analyses of degree outcomes and external examiner reports considered by the Quality & Standards Committee (reporting – and escalating issues – to Education Committee and Senate as necessary), with departmental Annual Standards Reports – combining subject-specific degree outcome summaries with quantitative external examiner analysis – provided to each subject area.

To inform the development of the Degree Outcomes Statement, QSC drew on these documents, relevant work undertaken for our 2018 Gold TEF submission, a comparator analysis looking at classification and related practice across the Russell Group, and bespoke analysis considering degree outcomes over time.

The final draft of the Statement was reviewed by the Chair of QSC, and by the Vice-Provost (Education) and Chair of Education Committee, before being considered and approved by Senate, and recommended to Council, where it was formally approved in December 2020.

The Final Degree Outcomes Statement is available online: