Many psychology students and parents of students at UCLouvain have contacted us to express their surprise at the pass rate in the first year of a bachelor’s degree and the pass threshold for these exams. A spokesperson for the university called for a closer look at the figures and attributed the problem with the thresholds to a misunderstanding in the landscape decree.
“Out of 741 students only 4 passed their year” Isabel, the mother of a psychology student, tells us. She adds: “Last year, the success rate was 0.7%, it is 0.5% this year”. Isabel got these figures from her son, who found them on Facebook. According to her, “These results reflect scandalous practices related to the procedures for writing exams. Should we blame the students who are facing a 2-year crisis or should we applaud the faculty for meeting the requirements that 4 students can validate their year “.
A university spokesperson disputed the rates and said they did not take into account the fact that 150 of the 741 students dropped out during the year. According to them, they also do not take into account the fact that 64% of students received at least one attendance mark. “These students had an attendance note, which means they didn’t write their exams, and they often make this choice to ease their January or June sessions by postponing one or more exams directly to the August session.“, explains Ms. Decoster. Therefore, she concludes, we should wait for the September results to get the final success rate.
These students had an attendance note, which means they did not write their exams
“Also, since the Marcourt Decree, a student is considered to have passed their year when they have validated 45 credits out of 60. This year we have 181 students who have already reached this threshold and can move on to the second position”she adds.
A student, who wished to remain anonymous, denied that and claimed the calculations behind the Facebook posts took into account the fact that some students dropped out during the year.
Students also complain about the methods of examination: “I learned that in personality psychology, the threshold for passing is 10/20, but to get 10/20 you need to have 27 correct answers out of 40 in the exam”, Chelsea writes on Facebook. Meanwhile, Isabelle wrote to us: “These results [taux de réussite, ndlr] The extent of legitimacy is a reflection of disreputable practices on the methods of passing examinations”.
To get 10/20 you need to have 27 correct answers out of 40 in the exam.
Here again, Mrs. DeCoster calls for nuance in comments: “There is a confusion between the definition of the threshold of success and the measure that expresses this threshold of success. Indeed, although the Landscape Decree sets the pass threshold at 10/20, this gives teachers considerable leeway. […] By selecting the number of questions to be validated, determine the statistical threshold for success to ensure that the student has acquired the essential skills”.
In summary: Students are not wrong in saying that pass marks cannot be more than 10/20. However, they are misguided in arguing that the current practices of the university are not correct. Teachers have every right to answer more than 10 questions out of 20 questions correctly.
Although these terms and conditions may seem unfair to students, they are still completely legal. Regarding the figures mentioned on Facebook, it is difficult to verify whether they really take into account the students who dropped out during the year. However, their calculations are unlikely to take into account students who achieved an attendance grade.
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