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.”
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.