News - February 28, 2012

Passing university students out of pity

Letting students through who do not deserve a pass. This does not take place only in the applied sciences universities Windesheim and Inholland, says a small group of journalism students from the VU University in Amsterdam, but is more widespread and not just in applied sciences universities. This is reported today in de Volkskrant.

The four students interviewed 180 lecturers in Dutch universities. Of these, one out of ten revealed having simplified exams and awarded 'sixes out of pity'. Giving a student a fail for a graduation thesis is regarded as taboo. Professor Timo de Rijk (TU Delft) says: 'Sometimes, I award sixes out of pity. Those who react with surprise at this are likely to be doing it too.'
A third of the lecturers interviewed admitted that they feel pressurized to get students through their courses quickly. 'My boss has directed me to award a 7 for a thesis, although it very clearly should get a 4,' says a Utrecht University lecturer who declines to be named.
Standards compromised
According to the journalism students, lecturers have compromised their standards because of the way universities are financed. The educational institutions are geared towards getting the diploma bonus given when a student graduates. In addition, students who take a long time to graduate are very costly for a university.