RUC students: We wait too long for our grades

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Is it fair to demand that students meet their deadlines, when teachers don’t? RUC teachers are struggling to provide grades within the allotted time. 

Du har knoklet for at blive færdige til tiden. Og så venter du forgæves på din karakter. Hverdag på RUC. Foto: Uffe Weng.

You have slaved away to finish on time. And then you wait and wait for your grade. Everyday life at RUC. Photo: Uffe Weng.

The day has arrived and the wait is over. You log on to STADS even before breakfast with messy hair and sleepy eyes. But no grades. At the platform, in the train and in the back row in the auditorium you try to check the electronic grade database, but still no luck. The grade you’ve waited so long for seems to be delayed indefinitely.

This is by no means a rarity at RUC. RUSK spoke to students from several programmes and they all pointed to a clear tendency amongst the teachers, which many students find frustrating.

“There are always problems with our grades and you can never count on them to be ready on the promised date,” said Tobias Eliasen, 24, who experienced the worst delays when he attended Basic Studies in the Social Sciences.

If possible, it might be even worse in the humanities.

“My grades have been delayed in each of my semesters. The last two semesters, the grades were delayed by at least two to three weeks,” said Luna Mai Brehm Nielsen who studies for her bachelor in Psychology and Social Sciences.

Under the Danish Examination Order (link), grades must be announced no later than four weeks after the examination paper has been handed in.

Stress and disturbances

Some might claim that a delay is harmless because it has no influence on the grade itself. But in fact, the time spent waiting can have a particularly adverse effect on the efforts put into the exams.

“I tend to let it influence me (the delays, ed.) in the writing process. It can be very stressful to get things done on time, but especially when I know that it might take weeks before I get feedback,” Tobias Eliasen, a Public Administration student on his fifth semester, said.

The majority of RUC students are enrolled in multiple courses at any one time so they have to divide their academic attention into carefully measured portions. And the grade delays play an essential role here, too.

“It’s a huge problem when your thoughts about the grade is poking about in the back of your mind,” Tobias Eliasen elaborated.

Luna Nielsen, 23, agrees. She believes that it is stressful to have to wait around indefinitely and added that it is very difficult to get information about exam grades:

“I have contacted both student counsellors and course managers to get information about the status of my grades, and the answer is always, that ‘they’ll be ready very soon’ or ‘we’ve done our part’. You’re constantly sent along to someone else.”

An unknown problem

The University management is surprised by the criticism.

“I haven’t heard anything about it until now, but it seems to be a problem,” Rector Hanne Leth Andersen said.

She did note, however, that for the moment the problem is not a matter for the University management.

Further down in the system, from the Head of Studies of  Society and Globalisation, Thyge Enevoldsen, the reaction is more or less the same.

“This is not something we’re familiar with,” he said.

However, it was a problem years back the Head of Studies explained.

“In the past, the problem was even more severe; sometimes it was impossible to get exam papers back from the teachers.”

Thyge Enevoldsen hasn’t received any complaints about grade delays for 18 months.

Both the Head of Studies and the Rector recognise that it can be frustrating to wait a long time for your grades. They encourage students to draw attention to the problems by contacting their head of studies or the Study Board.

Tobias Eliasen has attempted to remind his teachers about his grades several times, but he has not wished to file a complaint:

“The only option to file a complaint, that I am aware of, is to go directly to the teacher. And then there is a risk that the teacher might hold a grudge against you.”

Likewise, Luna Nielsen has actively attempted to shed light on the grading process. The answer from the Administration was always the same: Your grades should be here any day now. She did not wish to file complaint either:

“I have to consider the time and energy I want to spend on this.”

Things are looking up in January

The Student Council is aware that grades are often announced later than promised, and they are working on reducing the period of assessment to two weeks instead of the current four weeks.

“It is the uncertainty and lack of transparency in the current administrative procedures that we want to change,” said Therese Cederberg Nielsen, member of the Academic Council and candidate for the student political organisation at the upcoming RUC elections.

Under the slogan ‘Less Administrative Hassle’, she is working on a set of initiatives that are intended to make it easier for the students to navigate in the University Administration.

The Academic Council is scheduled to consider the initiative on November 12, and the Student Council hopes that ‘the hassle’ will be reduced in time for the January exams.

 

 

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