University denies using algorithms for students’ grades

The University of Leicester has denied that it will use algorithms for missing marks, days after an email from the School of Biological Sciences said that they would.

The University called this email an ‘unauthorised communication’ which also said that students would face the prospect of delayed graduations because of the staff’s marking boycott.

In an email to students on 23 June, the University said: “We do not expect any significant delay to the awarding of degrees or the quality and standards of our awards to be impacted.”

Leicester UCU have a 6-month mandate until October for a marking and assessment boycott, which is causing doubts over how and when students’ marks will be returned.

“The practices [for marking] we are aware of are extremely concerning and jeopardise the accuracy of your marks.” Said Cara Dobbing, Leicester UCU Communications Officer-elect.

 “Marking has been carried out by non-specialists, second marking has been signed off by senior staff and not interrogated, algorithms are being used to calculate absent marks, despite what they are telling you.

“Part of the education safeguard, approved by the university senate in March, meant that algorithms could be used due to adverse Covid circumstances, they are now being delivered to undermine our marking boycott and deliver inaccurate results to you.”

Professor Graham Wynn, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education at the University of Leicester, said:

“We are aware of an unauthorised communication within one of our schools stating that an algorithm may be used in cases of missing marks. This is not University policy and we are focused on ensuring our students can graduate successfully, whilst assuring the quality and standards of our degrees.

“The University does not condone the arbitrary use of algorithms to account for missing marks, and this is not permissible under our academic regulations.”

Toby Cray is a second-year journalism student. You can find him on Twitter here

Find Toby’s satirical work here

Image taken by LSM member Ollie Monk

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