OUR local university may have obtained success in upgrading its education system but it may come as a shock that the students are paying a heavy price as the university’s new strategies have led to their academic achievements being downgraded.
Since last semester, students of Universiti Brunei Darussalam have experienced what we students call “grade robbing” due to a system named “Bell Curve”.
Many students have wondered how their academic grades were pulled down or robbed off when they knew they deserved better.
The system downgrades initial grades calculated by lecturers via random grouping into various grade levels. Students who deserve A or B might get their final examination results published by the system as C or D.
Downgrading of results occur in third and fourth year level modules including the university’s important requirement of thesis-research modules.
Earlier in 2014, there was an uproar about undergraduates graduating with lower degree classifications thanks to Bell Curve.
After that the university promised the system will not interfere with thesis academic grades, however, recently this was what exactly happened.
Despite the fact that the university was already made to realise that thesis modules are the most important of all because of the students’ own research ideas, efforts and hard work, the system still downgraded thesis-research grades. This resulted in the affected students having to appeal to the university for review of their examination results.
This is an arduous process in which students are asked to pay $50 for each module they appeal against, regardless of the outcome and whether the university grants the appeal or not.
Instead of solutions to problems which should have been handled in the first place in a justifiable manner, first students’ real grades are taken away in the guise of Bell Curve and then have to pay just for the right to appeal for the grades they deserved.
Another criticism of the system is that it was implemented on a wrong batch of students; it is arguably ideal for freshmen but interfering with graduating final year students completing their thesis-research modules is unfair.
It is completely understandable that the university has to meet its goals of upgrading the education system but perhaps the committee involved should look into implementing even better systems than the notorious Bell Curve and focus more on improving the internal administrative matters in correlation with students’ academic problems, which should be solved properly.
– Disappointed Final Year Undergraduates