So, what motivates people at work is challenge, mastery and making a contribution. Is that the same for students? Is it a better incentive than grade inflation? Will we get better students if we challenge them more, help them to be excellent according to their abilities and enable them to make a contribution to the overall learning of the university and society? Or shall we just hand out a few more firsts?
I'd rather give a first to a student who was motivated to achieve more rather than to make some arbitrary quota in order to improve our so-called "value added score" and improve our position in the Guardian league table!