For the second year running a group of students have lodged a formal complaint against the Economics department’s exam procedure, following their Microeconomics paper at the start of this term. The students, who have approached the Board of Studies and are still unsatisfied with the outcome, are claiming that their exam paper was “deliberately misleading”, that the module was poorly taught, and that many of them had to pay for private tutoring in addition to their seminars and lectures.
One second-year student told Nouse that in one of the questions “the symbol for Wealth and Endowments were really very similar and seemed designed to trick people”, and that “pretty much everyone I know has had private tuition for this”, commenting that supervisors “didn’t seem to care” about many of the students’ concerns with the module.
Peter Spencer, Head of the Board of Studies for Economics, has since spoken to Nouse, saying that “students brought this [matter] to our Board Of Studies” and that the department had “a long discussion with the student representatives there.” He continued to say that the issue was given “a full and serious discussion” but that he “can’t remember what the conclusion was”, adding that “as far as [he was] concerned, there are no plans for change”.
One of the main complaints of the students is that notation used in their lectures and seminars was especially difficult for those doing combined studies. “For people who didn’t have a Maths background it might as well have been French,” commented one PPE student.
Jan ‘09: Third-year Economics students are forced to wait for results after exam scripts delay
May ‘09: Economics department ordered to conduct an investigation into its exam procedure
June ‘09: Economics department release revised grades following strong student dissatisfaction
“There’s a difference between having a hard exam and not being able to understand it because it’s been written deliberately confusing,” she continued. “I went to see my supervisor and it was pretty much a case of ‘go and get a tutor’, but it’s such a niche area of Economics it was really difficult to find someone who could teach me what I needed to know.
“I know some guy who runs tutoring out of his house in Halifax and charges students £3 a visit,” continued a second PPE student. “I thought about going but was uncomfortable with turning up to someone’s house. My parents ended up paying lots of money for tutoring over the Easter holidays, even though I’d done loads of work.”
As well as their discontent at having to pay for extra tuition, many of the students told Nouse that they were more upset by the attitude of the Economics Department themselves. “They don’t really listen at all,” said one Politics and Economics student, saying “they should definitely change the format of the exam as there seems to be problems with it every year.”
“I know a few students who have gone to their supervisors concerned about the exam,” her friend added, “they said that they shouldn’t worry because PEP knows the Micro exam is ridiculous and often not a reflection of people’s abilities.”