The Office for Students (OfS) Some educators have interpreted equality legislation to mean that they do not assess technical proficiency in written English for all students.
“We do not consider that method to be necessary or justified,” the regulator added in a Report.
In response to a statement from the National Union of Students (NUS), it said education was “much broader” than spelling and grammar.
OfS said in its report that it looks at how spelling, grammar and punctuation are evaluated at universities in England, and found some “common themes” that “caused regulatory concerns.”
Some universities have policies that do not take into account proficiency in written English, warning that it could lead to “unexplained” grade inflation.
“The introduction of these policies may have reduced the standards, which may have contributed to the higher degree of classification for a large number of students,” the report said.
Last year, an analysis by OFS found that the number of graduates earning top degrees rose from about 15 percent in the 2010-11 academic year to 29.5 percent in the 2018-19 year, which raised concerns about grade inflation.
In its report published Thursday, the watchdog said students should be evaluated on spelling, punctuation and grammar to maintain quality and maintain quality.
Susan Lapworth, director of control of OFS, said: “Some universities and colleges ask academics to ignore poor spelling, punctuation and grammar to make assessment more inclusive.”
“The idea that they should expect less from certain student groups is encouraging.
Mrs Lapworth added: “This puts new graduates at a disadvantage in the labor market and may leave employers time and money to train graduates in basic written English.”
“There is no inconsistency among providers who follow the Equality Act and make its assessments available, while maintaining rigor in spelling, punctuation and grammar,” the OFS report said.
Since October 2022, the watchdog has said that the assessment of universities or colleges will take action against them as they approach “a lack of rigor.”
But in response to the Hillary Gaibi-Ababio report from the NUS, she said education is “far broader” than spelling and grammar.
“Any proposals to change existing practices should take into account the lived experiences of those with dyslexia,” said the union’s vice president for higher education.
“Instead of improving assessment practices and tinkering with the edge of our education system, we need to redesign education and accept that our testing system needs a radical transformation.”
A spokesman for Universities UK (UUK) said that universities fully recognize the importance of English language proficiency.
“As OfS notes, this report cites a small number of universities. OfS also recognizes that practices differ across a large and diverse university sector, and there is no evidence presented to suggest that practices that cause concern are costly.
High and future education minister Michelle Donelan said: “Strictness and standards are important at all levels of education, and the basics of good spelling, punctuation and grammar are more important today than ever.”
He said: “The Office for Students ignores universities that do not notice poor written English.”
Additional report from the Press Association