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Breaking: UoA Senate to consider 'relaxation' of marking protocols

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

The raft of 'minor amendments' to University policy is intended to mark as many papers as possible ahead of graduation


By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco


UoA Senate Chamber, Photo Credit: The Gaudie

The ruling body of the University of Aberdeen is considering a motion which would simplify marking protocols in a bid to ensure more students can graduate with degree classifications this summer.


A paper circulated among members of the UoA Senate this morning laid out the extensive plan, which will be voted on this Wednesday.


A source told The Gaudie that the motion was expected to pass.


If approved, the motion would do away with 'double marking' requirements and lower the percentage of assessments needing to be marked in order to gain credit for a course, from 75% to 70%.


Students may also be eligible for 'compensatory credit' for certain courses.


While the motion introduces a number of protocols aimed at speeding up the marking process, some students may still be forced to graduate without a degree classification, with the motion clarifying that dissertations must be marked in order for a degree classification to be given.


The paper reads:


'While the Measures seek to enable as many Honours students as possible to graduate with a classified degree, there may still remain a small number of students where it is not possible to confirm award of an Honours degree… Where the restriction is due to non-marked work, these students would be awarded an unclassified Honours Degree pending completion of marking and confirmation of degree classification following the conclusion of the MAB on condition that they had completed and submitted all assessment.'


Such students will be permitted to attend graduation, where they will 'receive a degree certificate without a degree class, their transcript to date and a letter confirming their position.'


It remains unclear how many students are at risk of graduating without a degree classification.


Indeed, as the UCU marking and assessment boycott enters its second month, there have been little signs of compromise between union chiefs and higher education representatives, of which UoA Vice Chancellor George Boyne is a key member.


As we reported last month, students have expressed widespread concern over the boycott, with many final year students fearing the effect it may have on their future after graduation.


Unlike a number of other student unions across Scotland, AUSA has remained steadfast in its opposition to the boycott, citing the effects it would have on final year and international students.


Graduation will be held the final week of June at the P&J Live events venue.


In a lengthy statement, Aberdeen UCU representatives told The Gaudie they were 'alarmed' at the motion and accused the University of playing a 'dangerous game' with students' futures.


The statement read:


'AUCU is disappointed and alarmed at the draft Senate motion, circulated today for the first time. It is a complex document – the product of much drafting and organisation. It is absolutely shocking that senior management did not invest the same amount of effort in reaching out to lecturers to agree a compromise. The current dispute has been going on for the entire year.


Aberdeen University management is playing a dangerous game with the careers of students and the well-being of staff with this threat to undermine external examiners and exam boards, and to intimidate staff with the threat of severe and disproportionate deductions.


The Pandemic figures prominently in the paper. Are these really the same managers who begged and pleaded with lecturers to work double-time adapting material for online delivery while voluntarily accepting a pay-cut? As David Farrier at Edinburgh has written – you can negotiate with us, you can’t negotiate with a virus.


The current motion if passed in the present form carries unknown and unspecified risks for students by offering them imitation-degrees. The results they will use will be partial and will not be guaranteed by external oversight. In the worst cases where students had taken study away in level 3, a tiny faction of their effort will be used in classification.'


This is a developing story. Follow our social media platforms for up to date information.


The full text of the motion can be viewed here.

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