Keble’s Governing Body have clamped down on poor academic performance in response to a disappointing performance in the 2010 Norrington table.
Collections have been renamed “College Examinations” and all marks are now monitored by a newly established tutorial board. The proposals originally stated that all students must obtain a 2:1 or above in College Examinations, although following pressure from the JCR, this was withdrawn.
Instead, Acting Senior Tutor Michael Hawcroft told Cherwell, “If it is felt that a student has performed at a level that would not allow him or her to have a chance of securing a 2:1 by the end of their course, the board, on the tutor’s recommendation, can require the student to re-sit the examination either later that term or at the beginning of the following term.”
The changes will also see College Examinations “more closely resemble University examinations”, as students will be seated randomly by number, as opposed to the alphabetical system currently in place. Hawcroft stressed, however, that “There has been no change to the College’s Academic Disciplinary procedures, which have been in place for a number of years.”
JCR President Basil Vincent seconded such a view, stating, “So far there has been no visible change in discipline, although a more rigorous collections procedure means that students are expected to achieve a 2:1 standard.”
One student, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed the changes were “good”. He pointed to an example of a student last year, who was “doing hardly any work” and “fell behind.” He claimed the college was “too relaxed” about the matter, and resultantly, the student “failed prelims and his retakes.”
Another student, James Nottage, commented, “Norrington display has been oscillating wildly over the past few years, but last year actually Keble actually went up nine places – though I think the plans were probably given some impetus by the previous year’s 28th place”. He also stated that the demand for a 2:1 in College Examinations is entirely “discretionary” and that any retakes are “basically up to the tutors”.
Sarah Herdan, the JCR rep for Academic Affairs commented, “The increased formalisation of Keble’s “College Examinations”, coupled with a system of more standardised feedback for students, is an attempt by the college to both better prepare students for the experience of undertaking University exams and to raise the overall academic standing of the college. The requirement to achieve a 2:1 standard in these Exams, or else resit, aims to benefit the students as well as the college.
“Understandably, given the novelty of this system in Keble, certain issues have arisen, in particular regarding timing, and workload as a result, of resits, but the college is working to address these.”
Keble second year, Vyas Adhikari, suggested that the new policy hasn’t really changed the mentality of the students. While acknowledging that “the new policy has good intentions”, he told Cherwell, “there is a sense among the students that they [collections] don’t matter, which is true, they don’t.”
He added, “The threat of a retake is just an incentive to cram the night before instead of doing some useful revision that is remembered in the long run.”
One second year, from Univ, commented, “I hope my college doesn’t adopt this kind of policy. I don’t want to waste my youth in an exam hall.”