Second year English students have been left outraged after their Department managed to lose a dozen exam papers.
The Department has told the affected students they must submit an additional 2500 word essay over the summer to compensate for the loss of their exam.
A batch of 12 Critical Questions exam papers was sent from York to an examiner who had been called away to London due to a family medical emergency, but the scripts never arrived.
In an email to the affected students, Chair of the Board of Examiners Dr Victoria Coulson said “the examiner, the administrative staff in the department, and Royal Mail have made repeated efforts to track it down, but we have not been successful.
“Over the past two weeks we have done everything we could, in the hope that we would not have to send you this message, but it has now become clear that we have to accept that the scripts are lost.
“I am very sorry that we have to do this, but we have been advised by the university that there is no option other than to ask you to submit an additional piece of work. The University’s Standing Committee on Assessment, which sets university policy on all assessment related issues, requires a mark that relates specifically to the module in question.
On behalf of the department, I want to offer you my apology for inconveniencing you in this way.”
Understandably, some students whose papers were lost are furious with the department.
Affected student Emma Claydon told York Vision: “So basically, we got told in a lecture before our exam not to stress about the exam format, and to look at it as beneficial for real life contexts, as it is a way of stimulating more unique concepts and arguments – there are things I know I wrote that I didn’t even realise I knew, and now I’m being asked to write an essay on something that won’t be in any way near as original as what I wrote in the exam – I can’t remember what I wrote so I can’t even try to replicate it in an essay context.
“The email off the Chair of Examiners was pretty understanding, however there is an obvious attempt to cover up the real issue here: the papers should have been photocopied or scanned. I also don’t feel comfortable knowing that the department willingly sent my papers to be marked by someone who, if they were in our situation, would have got mitigating circumstances due to family medical emergencies; clearly, they were not in the frame of mind to seriously mark our papers if they were having to rush to London.
“I keep trying to rationalise it and think I’m becoming irrationally angry, however this is not GCSE or A level any longer, this is university and I’m paying £9000 a year. People are talking about compensation and legal advice because this is not our fault at all, but to be honest, I just want my mark back and a full explanation of why these papers were not photocopied.
“Even if it had meant they’d be a little late compared to others’ results, I wouldn’t have cared, so if this is due to rushing and carelessness by the department, then I’m going to be so much angrier than I am now.”
Another student caught up in the incident, Becky Welch, added: “Even though we’ve been told they will make it as easy as possible for us to redo I think it’s unacceptable that post wasn’t tracked and they were lost in the first place and that we’ve been told 2 weeks after the problem arose.
“All the revision that I did has now gone to waste and I feel like an excessive amount of my own time has been wasted.”
When asked by Vision for comment, the University Registrar & Secretary David Duncan said: “Twelve second year English Literature exam scripts which were in the care of an examiner have gone missing in the post. The exam relates to a specific module and constitutes 11% of the students’ marks for the year. The Standing Committee on Assessment, which oversees the integrity and fairness of the assessment system, has determined that the students must be asked to complete a further, take-home exam of equivalent difficulty. The students will be required to complete this by 11 August so that the scripts can be assessed and the students can continue their studies without interruption in the autumn.