stats for grading of MAsNorwegian universities converted to a new grading system a couple of years ago, using letters instead of numbers, and at about the same time the standard undergraduate degree was chopped from a four year cand. mag. to a three year Bachelor degree. Now the powers that be have found that grades awarded to MAs are worse than they used to be for the old hovedfag, as this graph of grades given throughout Norway last year shows.

My impression is that more students expect to do an MA than expected to do a hovedfag. It’s a shorter degree in total, though our expectations for the students write a research thesis are almost the same. They’re spending a year on the thesis now, against a year and a quarter previously. Well, in practice most spend far more than a year; they have great difficulties in completing it, partly, I suspect, because quite a lot of MA students really don’t want to spend a year writing a thesis. There are probably other forms of education or training they’d be a lot happier with. I mean, look at those statistics: 20% of MA students get an E or actually fail? And that’s not even counting the huge percentage of MA students who never finish.

There are a lot of students at university who don’t really seem to want to be at university, who don’t put a lot of work into their studies and/or who I’d imagine would be far happier doing something else.

3 thoughts on “declining grades

  1. Espen

    “There are a lot of students at university who donít really seem to want to be at university, who donít put a lot of work into their studies…”

    Amen. And who think an education is something you get by getting a degree, that they will get a cushy job if they only get into the most sought-after programs, and that basic knowledge such as mathematics or history is irrelevant as long as you just get a good communications style….

    That being said, there are a lot of good students, too.

  2. Jill

    Oh yes, there are lots of excellent, inspiring, creative students – and they’re a big part of the reason that thisI enjoy my job! It’s important to try to spend more time thinking about them than about the students who aren’t really that into learning, or else this job becomes completely pointless and really demotivating.

    In some ways the times before the “quality reform” must have been better for teachers AND students – if you weren’t nterested, nobody made you work. Teachers didn’t have to suffer through your excuse for a paper, and could get away with simply giving feedback to the students who were proactive and asked for feedback. The students who didn’t want to be there didn’t have to write their excuses for papers and could quite simply either get a terrible grade on their exams or drop out.

    Ah well.

  3. JosÈ Angel

    That is because “quality” does not mean “good quality”, but “minimum quality”; standardized procedures. The students are not going to get better or worse under the quality assessed system, and I doubt whether the teachers will improve on average, they’ll do more paperwork, that’s for sure. Still, no doubt the system works better for some people, and worse for some others…

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