I’ve been chair of the examining boards for Parts IB and II of the Philosophy Tripos (so that’s the second and third [final] year exams here). The process is now over, reasonably painlessly for me.
But it’s not so painless for a good handful of disappointed students. For we still have to do the increasingly pointless task of dividing performances into “first class”, “upper second”, etc. This was, of course, always an artificial business. But at least once upon a time the division at the top approximately corresponded to the distinction between the really outstanding and the rest (and very few expected/hoped for a first). Now, with grade inflation, a first is more in reach, with that first/upper second divide coming further down the rank order. But it typically seems to fall bang in the middle of a bunch of really pretty good if not quite outstanding students, some of whom were just that bit luckier with the way the exams went for them than the others. It makes no defensible sense.