Nicespeak revisited

I played a leading role in my own department's encounter with the Quality Assurance Agency, and Deborah Cameron's "The tyranny of Nicespeak" (5 November) seemed much closer to reality than Clare Morris's rose-tinted view (Letters, 12 November). The economists at Warwick University, awarded 24 out of 24 by the QAA, none the less published a devastating attack on the worthlessness of QAA assessments. I have seen no convincing response to their criticisms.

The QAA, sensibly, expects universities to give students the right to appeal against their examination results. If their judgements are robustly based on evidence, why does the QAA not allow a similar right of appeal against its own assessments?

Alan Slomson

From the perspective of 40 years in the higher education business, I was amused by Dr Clare Morris's statement (Letters, 12 November) that "academics . . . [have] a highly developed ability to detect bullshit". This may be true, but it does not prevent them from using it extensively to each other and to the world at large.

Lem Ibbotson
Walsall, West Midlands

This article first appeared in the 19 November 2001 issue of the New Statesman, And now the trouble really begins