Universities

The Soft-Marking Syndrome

“WHY WOULD ANY sensible, qualified, capable or independent-minded person want to pursue an academic career [in an Australian university]?”, declared professional editor Michael Giffin to the Senate inquiry into higher education in 2001, after presenting numerous reasons as to why academic life in this country had over the previous decade or so become increasingly dissatisfying to present-day and unappealing to would-be academics. The first of these reasons was the “pressure on academics to participate in soft marking and deteriorating standards”. Over the last ten or so years soft marking in Australian universities has increasingly been an issue of public concern.…

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