The grading error affected the coursework component of the Geography examinationN Chadwick / Wikimedia Commons

Geography students have written an open letter criticising the Faculty after students’ grades were incorrectly calculated.

An error in the Part IA results calculation process, communicated to students on the 18th of October, led to mistakes in the weighting of students’ grades.

The letter has questioned the “consistency and fairness” of the Faculty’s grading process. One student’s ranking increased by thirteen places as a result of the grading error.

Another student’s grade went down a Class as a result of the weighting errors.

According to an email from the Geography Undergraduate Office, “the IA [non-exam] project was weighted equal to the combined weighting of an exam paper when it should be worth 20%”.

For those who performed better in coursework than in the exams, these grading errors meant a loss of marks.

One signatory, affected by the IA miscalculation, told Varsity: “Being put off again and again with excuses is both frustrating and disappointing, and feels so at odds with the organisation, efficiency, and dedication the department demands from students.”

Following confusion over this year’s exam results, geography students across year groups are gathering signatures for an open letter addressed to the department.


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The letter expresses concern for “the underachievement of Geography as a subject when compared to other humanities disciplines,” suggesting that a “technical issue” might be at fault.

The letter also questions “the consistency and fairness of the marking process” within the subject, calling for fair and open communication regarding faults.

The letter calls for “clarity on the marking criteria and process” to “greatly alleviate the concerns and frustrations among the student body”.

In a communication from the Undergraduate Office, the guidelines for classing part IA/IB candidates were attached for students’ information. No details or explanations for the miscalculation, however, were volunteered.

"The Department regrets that a mistake was made by the Exam Board in the initial weighting of 1A students’ work, and we have apologised to all affected students, as well as engaging with students’ concerns individually.  The mistake was spotted a few days after the results were first released; the Classes were then regraded and re-issued.  May I emphasise that it was the weighting of correctly agreed marks, not the marks themselves, that were affected.  No marks have been ‘lost’ and there is no consequence for any student’s progression.  A number of students went up a Class as a result of applying the correct weighting, and just one student went down a Class.  The Chair of the 1A Exam Board wrote personally to that student and to their DoS and offered to meet with the student concerned.  They were satisfied with the explanation offered."