Waste of a great tutor 2

April 13, 2007

The recent resignation of a professor who has had his marking and that of a second marker overturned by a head of school with a vested interest in passing students is surely prescient ("Marks U-turn is 'mockery of exam process'" March 30).

An analysis of the current trends in pass rates at different grades would reveal two serious issues that are of concern to many academic staff.

First, there is concern over the inflation of grades to justify the award of many more firsts or to reduce the number of lower second-class grades because students perceive the 2:2 grading as failure.

Second, there is equal concern about passing students who submit work that does not merit any academic award. University managements have taken steps to submerge these changes by skilful manipulation of the manner in which overall grading is calculated to make a distinction as mundane and routine as passing and by numerically neutering the number and power of fail grades available to staff to describe just how poor work really is.

The academic world has taken on the feel a of timeshare marketing exercise, with every entrant offered a great prize and at minimal effort. The ironic thing is that this academic deceit is happening when concerns are growing about student plagiarism.

Which is the greater crime?

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