A degree of scandal and shame 2

April 28, 2006

So Keele University is trying to graduate students with incomplete assessments.

More than 40 years ago H. D. F. Kitto, professor of classics at Bristol University, proposed the following system for final degree exams and classes. A few weeks before the exams were due, a provisional pass list would be published based on tutors' knowledge of their students'

coursework. Students who were content with their result would not, in general, have to sit the exams. Those who were not content could opt to take the exams - but they would then have to accept the outcome, even if it was worse than that awarded in the provisional pass list. And each year a random sample of students would be required to take the exams in order to keep the system in good repair and ensure that standards were maintained.

It is so breathtakingly logical and simple that it is no wonder it has never been adopted (except that, I believe, Bristol did for a while abolish the final exam for the PGCE).

Greg Brooks. Sheffield University.

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