Lecturer accused of leaking ‘too much information’ to students before exams

A University of York Accounting and Finance lecturer has been accused of giving out “too much information” to second-year students taking exams this term, and actively discrediting their degrees

York Management School’s unprecedented exam results have caused controversy this term [Photo: Sam Newsome]

York Management School’s unprecedented exam results have caused controversy this term [Photo: Sam Newsome]

A University of York Accounting and Finance lecturer has been accused of giving out “too much information” to second-year students taking exams this term, and actively discrediting their degrees.

It has been revealed that second-year students were given exam information last term that directly coincided with a significant increase in the amount of first class marks in the module, causing student outrage.

A second-year Accounting, Business, Finance and Management (ABFM) student told Nouse that the lecturer has been “giving out information about what would be in exams” and that students this year have been given an “unfair advantage”.

Another second-year ABFM student, who preferred to remain anonymous, complained that the information revealed by the tutor in his lectures “pointed very much to what would be in the exams”.

The tutor has been accused of giving his students information which directed them to Part A of the compulsory second-year module, Financial Management and Financial Reporting (FMFR).

Such complaints follow information disclosed to Nouse about the 14.5 per cent rise in median grades in FMFR this term.

Statistics provided by Josephine Maltby, Director of Teaching and Professor of Accounting and Finance at York Management School, revealed that last academic year the average grade for Part A of the module was 50 per cent, whereas this year the average mark was 74.5 per cent. Last year, 34 students failed the module, whereas this year, only seven students have not achieved a pass grade.

One second-year ABFM student commented: “The results are unfair because they discredit our course if the marks are that high.”

She added: “People don’t take ABFM and Management seriously, but it is not a reflection of students or their ability.”

A third-year Management student said that it is “grossly unfair” that second-year students may have been given a greater advantage this year, and that FMFR is the “notorious” module which “everyone dreads”.

“It is completely unheard of for someone to get a first in FMFR… this is the notorious module which everyone dreads.”

A third-year
Management student

He added that “all the third-years” noticed the unprecedented rise in median grades this year, and that he thinks they “should not have been provided with the information because then there is no point in doing the exam.”

Maltby advises that students “attend all lectures, seminars and other teaching events offered for a module.”

However, students in the suspect tutor’s seminar and lecture groups remarked that the turnout to his lectures is consistently low.

The tutor in question joined the Management School at the start of this academic year, whereas last year FMFR was taught by Walter Mkumbuzi.

A third-year student said that last year it was “completely unheard of for someone to get a first in FMFR” and that this year most second-years he has spoken to “have said it was easy”.

This year’s pass rate was 96 per cent, whereas last year it was 80 per cent.

Maltby admitted: “As far as lecture content is concerned, the lecture in Week Ten of Autumn term included a PowerPoint presentation with advice for revision/preparation for the exam. This was also immediately made available on the VLE website for the module.”

David Garner, the University Press Officer, commented: “I understand that Josephine Maltby has provided Nouse with a comprehensive response to the inquiry about the York Management School, to which I have nothing to add.”

An email sent on 9 March to all students taking the Part B examination of FMFR next term from Maltby and Philip Linsley, Head of Undergraduate Programmes, told students that Part B will not be set “at a higher level of difficulty than the FMFR Part A examination as a means of levelling out results across the module… The examinations are of the same standard.”

Gondhia said: “How do they plan to address the issue of the ‘abnormally’ high grades last term?”­­

Charlie Leyland, YUSU Academic Officer, has commented: “The York Management School are actively addressing their poor performance in NSS Results and student feedback with YUSU and the course reps. I know that the course reps are engaging with the department to work together on issues such as teaching, assessment and feedback, and communication… Assessment and feedback is still an issue in the NSS results, though we are doing better now.”

The lecturer in question denied a personal response, and said that Maltby’s information provided sufficient clarification.

7 comments

  1. Obviously those who are complaining have not achieved the 74.5% average mark. We have been informed by EVERY academic tutor that our seminars are always the best preparation for the exams. For those who did not pass, it is evident that they did not attend lectures/seminars and didn’t follow the instructions provided. Whatever information provided was available to every student on this course, so there has been a fair advantage to everyone.
    I think it is a joke that when results are significantly better than last year it is complained and ridiculed when recognition should be given.

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  2. You have to admit a 50% increase in the average mark in 1 year is very substantial though.

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  3. 17 Mar ’10 at 1:06 am

    A Third Year Acc Fin Student

    “It is completely unheard of for someone to get a first in FMFR… this is the notorious module which everyone dreads.”

    Seriously FMFR is not that difficult as this article has stated. Only people who do not do or not want to work would find it hard to get good marks. There’re at least 30 people I know that got a first and lots got med/high 2:1 in this module last year. The result this year is a bit higher than it was last year I admit but if everyone is getting strangely high marks, the tutor and the management school will firstly be questioned by the external examination board before any other body.

    Lectures and seminars are obviously prepared towards the exams. So even if the tutor did not say it explicitly, you should understand that the kind of numerical exercises given in the lecture examples and seminar works will be similar to what you will be examined on. If there is an “unfair advantage”, it should be over those who did not turn up in lectures and seminars.

    Btw, did the people who report this to Nouse actually ‘express their concerns’ to the Management School first?

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  4. How can you complain about a lecturer in your own course giving you too much information? Are you a complete idiot!?

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  5. How stupid is it that management school students are complaining that they have it easy from their lecturers?

    Its obvious that what is in your lectures is in the exam….thats the point of them!

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  6. To be honest, the lecturer for this module last year was excellent! He actually taught us the degree instead of just mindlessly reading sections from the text book and took the time to explain stuff and give us examples we could work with!

    How can it possibly discredit our degree? York is one of the top universities in the country and in the world, so any degree from TYMS can be held in high regard! It does seem, however, that this term we have been stuck with a lecturer, for part 2 of the same module, who is often ‘ill’ and missing lectures and seminars with no prior warning. Only in the last week or so of the term were we guaranteed any form of reserve in the case of his absence, but can we trust a lecturer who ‘couldn’t find the right room’ for his seminar several weeks in?

    That’s the least of it, I attended a seminar on a Tuesday, which the lecturer missed. That same night a few of my friends saw him drinking in the Lowther at the same time as Viking Raid! He then continued to not turn up at the lecture the following day at 12.15

    I don’t understand why any student would complain about FMFR being too easy, and I know the exam won’t be made more difficult to compensate, but it looks like they’ve found a way of bringing the mark down anyway.

    Lecturers should be encouraged to get the best out of students and try to get as high an average as possible, it’s what we pay the university to provide us!

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  7. It could be that the lecturer taught his students in a brilliant manner, thus resulting in enhanced performance.

    the bottom line is that the teacher should not be the assessor/examiner, this is an inevitable conflict of interest–had the exam been set and marked by an independent exam board we would then not be having this subjective discussion!

    Essan

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