English students ‘mortified’ by public release of degree classifications

Some students said that being forced to compare their marks with their peers’ made them feel more anxious about results

English students at the University of York have expressed concern about the way that the Department releases final degree classifications, saying it increases anxiety.

Students were able to see the degree classifications of their peers as well as their own after they were released on the Department’s website on 26 June following confirmation by External Examiners.
exam paper

Some English students were said to be “mortified” when they were told their final degree classifications would be released in this way, with one student saying: “I didn’t see a single positive reaction in a Facebook page of [around] 400 people.”

The English Department were keen to emphasise that the lists of final degree classifications were “done… anonymously by exam number [and] arranged in strict exam number order”, adding: “There is no way that these can be linked to students.”

However, Megan Ollerhead, a third year English student who recently completed her degree, said: “I think the thing is not so much people being able to match results to individuals (although that would be perfectly possible and therefore it’s kind of dodgy), it’s more about the fact that we were forced to compare ourselves with the rest of our year group. It’s a really anxious time for most people, especially if like me you were on the borderline between grades… Being forced to see how you did compared to others is pretty unhelpful, especially in a subject like English where the courses are so individuated and you can write on whatever you like within the scope of each module.”

On the other hand, Anna Henley, who also recently finished her English degree, said: “I didn’t think it was a problem at all. As it was listed by exam number, anonymity was retained. I think the listing is needed, especially in a subject that is so subjective such as English Literature as it shows that the top grades were actually given. [I have] no qualms with it whatsoever.”

The English Department told Nouse that they released this year’s degree classifications “as [they] have done every year”, adding: “This year departments were even encouraged to release their own anonymous lists in order to relieve the pressure on e:Vision at a very busy time. We have never had a complaint about this practice before and in fact students have been happy to get their degree classifications as soon as possible. However, we are happy to listen to students, and if our student reps next year tell us that they want us to discontinue this practice, then we will of course do so.”

The English Department were also keen to stress that only degree classifications and not individual module marks were made accessible to the entire year, although other departments release students’ module results in the same way. A second year languages student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I think the way the languages department release their marks is terrible. As it is a small course, with only around 30 people studying French in one year, and fewer for Spanish and German, it is quite easy to tell whose mark is whose when you can see everyone else’s. Why can’t they just put them on students individual eVision pages? It doesn’t exactly help with results stress when you can compare your mark with everyone else’s so easily.”

10 comments

  1. 3 Jul ’14 at 6:45 pm

    Justin Timberlake

    Oh, cry me a river! Jesus who cares.

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  2. English Language or English Literature…? :S

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  3. Are you kidding me? This happens almost everywhere, and most of the time isn’t even done anonymously. It worries me that these are soon to be graduates complaining about this non-issue.

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  4. 4 Jul ’14 at 10:45 am

    Economics Student

    Get over it! The economics department releases all results in this way and has done for years. I think it’s a good thing as you can see how relatively good/bad your results are. I don’t see the problem with it at all. I suspect the people complaining are the 2:2 students who don’t want people to see their results!

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  5. Get over it and join the dole que.

    My department had our names on a board.

    Get used to it, when you leave university it is much worse out there.

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  6. @Holly Knight

    You call this news? Your journalism skills are very poor.
    You will end up as a writer for takeaway leaflets.

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  7. You mean that English only shows you exam number and classification? I thought all departments were like CS and showed you name, %age classification and whether any mediation was done.

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  8. Some folks dread and resist the truth that’s been dogging them their whole lives through until it stares them in the face: “you suck at what you claim to do”. Humanities are mostly a refuge for incompetents and non-performers, so nobody should be surprised at all this squealing from these self-absorbed and self-reverent inconsequentials.

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  9. If that’s the biggest worry for English gradualness then…

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  10. I think this is great, how are you otherwise supposed to have any sense of the statistics? Anyone know where I can find the link?

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