Many psychology students and parents of students at UCLouvain have contacted us expressing their surprise at the first-year undergraduate success rate and the success thresholds for these exams. A spokesperson for the university called for the figures to be accurate and attributed the issue of limits to a misunderstanding of the land tenure mandate.
“Out of 741 students only 4 passed in their year” Isabelle, the mother of a psychology student, tells us. She also says: “Last year, the success rate was 0.7%, this year it is 0.5%”. Isabel got these stats from her son, who retrieved them from Facebook. According to her, “These results reflect scandalous practices related to the procedures for taking exams. Should we blame the students who experienced 2 years of crisis or should we congratulate the teachers who have a limit of requirements that 4 students can check their year “.
A university spokesman denied the figures, saying they did not take into account the fact that 150 of the 741 students dropped out that year. According to him, they also do not take into account the fact that 64% of students have at least an attendance score. “These students had an attendance note, which means they did not appear in the exam, and they often took this exam to facilitate their January or June sessions by postponing one or more exams directly to the August session.“, explains Ms. DeCoster. Therefore, she concludes, we will have to wait for the September results to get the final success rate.
These students had an attendance note which means they did not attend the exam
“Furthermore, according to the Marcourt mandate, a student is considered to have passed the year when they have cleared 45 credits out of 60. This year we already have 181 students who have reached this threshold and can proceed to second level.”she adds.
One student, who wished to remain anonymous, denied that the calculations behind the Facebook posts took into account the fact that some students dropped out that year.
Students also complain about the examination methods: “I realized that the cutoff for passing personality psychology is 10/20 yes, but to get 10/20 you need to get 27 correct answers out of 40 in the exam”, Chelsea writes on Facebook. Meanwhile, Isabelle wrote to us: “These results [taux de réussite, ndlr] A reflection of the scandalous practices relating to the methods of passing the examinations within the ambit of the law”.
To get 10/20 marks, you need to get 27 correct answers out of 40 in the test.
Here again, Ms. DeCoster calls for nuance in comments: “There is undoubtedly a confusion between the definition of the threshold of success and the criterion that expresses this threshold of success. Indeed, while the Landscape Ordinance sets a 10/20 pass threshold, it leaves considerable leeway for teachers. […] Determining a statistical threshold of success to ensure student mastery of essential skills by selecting the number of questions to be checked”.
In short: Students are not wrong in saying that passing marks should not be more than 10/20. But they are wrong to say that the current practices of the university are not correct. Teachers have full right to ask more than 10 out of 20 questions to be answered correctly.
Although these terms and conditions may seem unfair to students, they are still completely legal. As for the statistics mentioned on Facebook, it is difficult to verify whether they actually take into account the students who were suspended during the year. However, their calculations are unlikely to take into account students who have achieved attendance standards.