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Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Ghana, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe. The classification system as currently used in the United Kingdom was developed in 1918. Honours were then a means to recognise individuals who demonstrated depth of knowledge or originality, as opposed to relative achievement in examination conditions.
Recently, there has been concern over possible grade inflation due to increasing numbers of higher-class honours degrees awarded per annum. The number of first-class honours degrees has reportedly tripled since the 1990s. As with claimed grade inflation of A-levels, prospective employers or educational institutions have observed increased difficulty in selecting candidates.
It is, however, unknown whether the rise in the number of first-class degrees is due to grade inflation of whether students are achieving higher levels than in the past, and university leaders have also pointed at the higher A-levels attained by students as evidence that higher degree grades should be expected. On the other hand, the practice of degree classification has been criticised for unduly stigmatising students and being unreflective of a graduate’s success or potential for success, particularly in the workplace.