University students with exam marks as low as 26% were given pass grades in an effort to reduce failure rates, documents reveal.
Leicester's De Montfort University raised marks for five modules of a pharmacy course in 2004, the Times Higher Education Supplement found.
In one, they were increased by up to 14%, details gained under the Freedom of Information Act show.
Well, that gives me immense confidence in the whole degree thing. Not. Luckily, de Montford University which has, let's face it, been a standing joke for years (ever since it had to advertise on TV for students) doesn't feel the same way.
The university said it had "every confidence" in its pharmacy course.
I'm sure that it has: I've every confidence in the course; it's the students passing through it that I have absolutely no confidence in.
It had previously been stated that students "were not up to the rigours of the programme [and] that they did not have the right attitude to study".
Lecture attendance was low and there was "a lack of work".
Is there anything that I need to add to this? Apart from the fact that I would never, ever associate "students" with "lack of work", obviously...
In 2004 staff were told that failure rates of 50% could put their jobs at risk, meeting minutes show.
Ah, the old job-saving initiative. One wonders if, just maybe, our university system just isn't very good; from my experience, the amount of time that lecturers spend actually teaching their students is pretty minimal. You can get away with that in the Arts, where critical thinking is the main thrust of the course, but not in sciences such as pharmacy.
At the meeting it was decided marks for first-year undergraduates doing the MPharm course should be raised by between 6% and 14%. Those for second-year students were boosted by 2%.
So, if in doubt, just realise that.. ahem... one may have been a little harsh with one's marking...
Two members of staff resigned in protest at the decision, the THES reported.
Nice to see that there were two people there who have some sort of integrity. Certainly, they have more integrity than de Montford's Pharmacy degrees...
In 2005 the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain placed De Montfort "on probation" after investigating allegations of "marking irregularities".
It returned to the university this year, finding "substantial progress" and that "assessment procedures were appropriate".
Examiners were now "in no doubt standards were being maintained and were comparable to those elsewhere in the sector", the society said.
Ah, de Montford has pulled its socks up, and now its degree courses are merely debased rather than being completely valueless. That's good to see.
[A spokesman for de Montford] said: "We continue to have every confidence in the quality and robustness of the pharmacy modules and course, in the staff that teach the modules and in our students."
It's a pity that those two members of staff who resigned didn't share his confidence...
Part of the problem with all of this is the way in which universities are funded. The emphasis on research and published works ensure that, in order for the university to gain government funding, lecturers are forced to spend increasing amounts of time doing anything other than teaching students (which does not attract funding) and ensuring that students pass the courses in whatever way they can (which also gains funding). Once more, institutions attached to governments are screwed up by government involvement.
Can we just privatise everything now, and cut away the dead hand of the state? Pretty please?
UPDATE: Allan is good on this...