An increasing number of students nationally are making official complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, the universities’ official ‘watchdog,’ if they fail to obtain either a first or a 2:1.
The Oxford University Proctors received 124 complaints this year from Oxford students. 105 were related to University Examinations, which represents just 0.5% of Oxford students. Only 38 of these complaints were either wholly or partly upheld by the Proctors.
Despite the national rise in the number of complaints, only 6% were justified by the OIA. Before launching an official complaint, students are required to “exhaust the internal appeals procedures” of their own university.
Universities Secretary David Willetts dismissed the rising number of complaints, commenting that students are “paying for higher education, not paying for a degree.” He added, “One of the increasing areas of complaints is students saying, ‘I’ve got a 2:2 when I should have got a 2:1 – they’ve let me down’.”
According to survey ‘The Student Barometer’, which encompasses over 200 universities worldwide, 58% of Oxford students agreed with the statement “marking schemes and examination conventions help me understanding what Examiners are looking for in final examinations.’ This compares to 33% of students in Russell Group universities and 47% of students at Cambridge. 43% of Oxford students do not agree that “the criteria used in marking have been clear in advance.”
Adam Mackinnon, a biologist, commented, “I’ve seen the mark scheme but it does seem rather subjective.”
A maths student at St. Anne’s stated, “I’ve not seen the mark scheme. Then again I got 85% in my collections so I’m not sure it matters.”