The University has released its yearly list of degree classifications revealing the performances of each college, with Merton topping the list for the first time since 2011.

34 Merton students received first class degrees, while 43 students were awarded a 2.1 as the college jumped three places from fourth.

St John’s climbed a place into second, Worcester jumped from eleventh to third, while last year’s top achievers New slipped to fourth place.

Wadham were the high climbers this year, jumping from 19th to fifth place, while Exeter jumped 13 places from 28th to 15th. Out of the PPHs, St Benet’s have taken top spot from Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

The Norrington score has caused controversy ever since it was developed by Sir Arthur Norrington, a former University Vice-Chancellor, in the 1960s to provide a way of measuring the performance of students at each college in finals.

As the University website stipulates, “The Norrington score is calculated by attaching a score of 5 to a 1st class degree, 3 to a 2:1 degree, 2 to a 2:2 degree, 1 to a 3rd class degree and 0 to a pass, Honours Pass and Unclassified Honours. The percentage expressed is calculated by dividing the total college score by the total possible score the college could attain.”

Delighted with the year’s academic performance, Merton’s Senior Tutor Dr Catherine Paxton told Cherwell, “it is always wonderful to top the Norrington Table but this achievement is particularly special in our 750th anniversary year. 

“This outcome reflects both the dedication of the tutors and undergraduates and the College’s commitment to providing an environment in which our students can fulfil their academic potential.”

Somewhat surprised by his college’s high performance, Merton’s Jeremy Ogunleye admitted, “I will say that I noticed work load and expectations went up drastically. I’d assume college staff will be extremely delighted with the news and probably relieved.”

However, he also told Cherwell, “No, I’m not particularly proud of it as it reinforces a reputation that members of the college aren’t proud of. It’s all mad.”

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Also not particularly proud of their position were bottom place college Pembroke, who recorded only 17 first class degrees from 102 students.

A college representative told Cherwell that, “While Norrington scores are subject to substantial fluctuation, we do find our result this year disappointing.  However, some of our students obtained excellent individual results, including the top first in the University in History and English. 

“Pembroke has an ambitious and active community, and has invested heavily in recent years in teaching provision and facilities, as well as developing an outstanding access scheme.  We expect improvement in academic performance will follow – these are long-term initiatives which will take several years to have a demonstrable impact on admissions and progression.”

Pembroke can also find consolation in the fact that even the University itself has been quick to stress that, “since the numbers of degrees awarded per college are small, the rankings should be treated with caution.”