News - March 23, 2015

Opinion poll on the escalator

Carina Nieuwenweg,Koen Guiking

Voting booths weren’t the only place a vote could be cast on Wednesday 18 March. The escalator in the Forum was another voting venue. Not for a political party but whether resits should be allowed for exams that have already been passed.

The present situation is that exams for which a pass has been achieved cannot be retaken. Some students would like that opportunity very much, because they’d really like the highest grade possible. The Student Council polled whether this wish is widely shared.

At the foot of the escalator students were given a piece of paper with the question, ‘If you had the chance, would you retake an exam you had already passed?’ At the top of the stairway 201 students deposited their papers in the ‘yes’ box and 166 students voted ‘no’. The Student Council has yet to decide what it is going to do with the result. So council member Karel Brasser describes the event not as a ‘referendum on the escalator’ but as a survey. Resource too gauged voter reactions. ‘I think that the opportunity should be available to bump up a grade if you get a pass. Because sometimes an internship or a certain Master’s requires a high average,’ said Astrid Berndsen, first-year International Land and Water Management.

On the website the subject has prompted heated debate. Lecturer Bas van Vliet, for instance, says that he is ‘certainly not’ thrilled at the prospect of having to mark yet more retakes. ‘You either prepare well or you don’t. If you don’t, you should be jolly pleased with a six.’ Others think that ambitious students should be encouraged to have another chance of getting an eight. ‘At present some students are disenrolling for exams or deliberately getting a really low grade so that they can sit the retake. Prominent figures in education policy are calling for the culture of scraping a pass to be stamped out and that’s exactly why absurd rules like this need to be changed.’