The disparity between Finals
results which exists between male and female undergraduates will be discussed
at an Educational Policy and Standards Committee (EPSC) panel meeting on 22
November.The EPSC meet twice a term and is
chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Elizabeth Fallaize of
St John’s. It
consists of three panels dealing with examinations, graduate and undergraduate
matters. The EPSC’s responsibilities
include curriculum design and course structure, learning and teaching, assessment
and academic and pastoral support and guidance. The committee includes undergraduates
and contributes to policy and development, considers proposed amendments to
course and examination regulations, and deals with individual dispensations.Fallaize said, “The University is
very concerned about the Finals gap and is working with OUSU to discuss ways of
tackling it. Many studies have been conducted in the past on the matter but it’s
very difficult to draw easy conclusions from them.” She added, “But we are
still very determined to find the solution.”The OUSU Vice-President (Access and
Academic Affairs) sits on the EPSC undergraduate panel and OUSU’s
Vice-President (Women) has also been invited to attend the forthcoming meeting
in order to offer ten suggestions on how the University can act on the Finals
gap.  Ellie Cumbo, OUSU VP (Women), said,
“It is important that we take suggestions from students directly – that’s what
OUSU is for. Our plan is to first of all contact members of women’s campaigns
and JCR presidents.” “For the next four weeks we’ll be
running a high-profile call for students’ views on what will help and what will
not.” Cumbo added, “This is a breakthrough opportunity for the women in Oxford to tell the University
what their academic needs are. The fact that the University is at last gearing
up to take action on the Finals gap, and is also engaging directly with OUSU in
order to do it, is a textbook example of how a top-flight university should
work.”She continued, “I hope students
of both sexes will be encouraged to tell their JCRs, or me directly, what their
ideas are – both what will help and what won’t. If they’re prepared to speak
out, I believe we really could be at the beginning of the end of the Finals
gap.”ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005