By Neve Dawson, Third Year English and History and Milan Perera, Deputy Editor
Due to the ongoing Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB), around 10 per cent of students will have their final degree results delayed. As a result, 64 students will not be able to attend graduation this summer. This figure is expected to come down as marking continues until July 20.
In a release made on July 11, departments across the university have provided an update on the ongoing Marking Assessment Boycott (MAB). So far, the strike action has resulted in delays in issuing the final marks for many students.
Regarding the marking boycott, Jessie Millson, a final year student tweeted:
Done with this system. I had next to no teaching during my first year due to covid and that has been used as an excuse for slack teaching since. On top of this, they’ve made strikes harder to support due to total lack of care for us. Then we get this on FINAL RESULT DAY? F this. pic.twitter.com/DmyVEiAYcK— Jessie Millson (@millson_jessica) July 11, 2023
A third year history student who wished to remain anonymous also voiced their concern: ‘My coursework grades brought me right on the grade boundary. Now my timed assessments have been struck from the record I lose the chance to potentially increase my grade.
'Although the university has said this might go up at a later date, it’s disheartening to see how poorly the situation has been handled. The lack of clarity on the entire situation has led me to completely rule out further studies, as I can’t risk another year of this academic anxiety.’
In her address to all students, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Evelyn Welch stated that for those in ‘harder hit areas’ students will obtain a ‘pending decision or provisional award this week’.
Professor Welch moves on in her address to discuss the topic of ‘next steps’ for students, reassuring them: ‘We have support teams in place to ensure you can progress on your course, move into the workplace or your next place of study.’
A University of Bristol spokesperson clarified that: ‘With the 10 per cent figure, that doesn’t mean 10 per cent won’t be able to graduate – it means 10 per cent don’t have their final degree result. Those with a ‘preliminary award’ (a pass but no classification) will be able to attend graduation in July/August, but have the option of attending a later ceremony should they wish to wait until they have a final classified award.’
In a Tweet, UCU expressed their disappointment at the university’s attempts at reassurance:
Instead of trying to settle this dispute so that students' work is marked and marked properly... pic.twitter.com/ziIyz2C4ib— Bristol UCU (@Bristol_UCU) July 11, 2023
In a statement issued by Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol said:
‘I am deeply sorry about the continued uncertainty they face and I share their disappointment that a national dispute is having such a significant impact on their lives.
‘While it may be little consolation, we are offering a goodwill payment of up to £500 to those students most affected.’
She added: 'I also want to reassure students that we have been working extremely hard to ensure they are able to graduate and progress onto other courses or employment. Maintaining the integrity of our degree awards and supporting every student to achieve the outcome they have worked so hard for are our absolute priorities. The robust contingency measures we introduced to mitigate against the impact of the boycott have helped examination boards make sound decisions that will maintain the quality and high standards associated with a Bristol degree.
'Graduations are continuing as planned this summer. If they are awaiting a classification for their degree, students can choose to attend a later ceremony in the Autumn. Affected students can request a letter of completion of studies, which can be provided to employers or other institutions to clarify what marks they have received so far and the courses for which marks are still pending.'
Regarding University’s attempts to find a resolution with UCU, she said:
‘Last month we extended a fresh offer to Bristol UCU, capping the number of days to 10 at 50 per cent pay if striking members started marking again. This is one of the most generous offers made to striking staff by any of the universities involved in the dispute. It was made in a bid to get those taking part in the boycott to reconsider their position and to help our students graduate; this is what they deserve after years of hard work and, ultimately, the outcome we all want.’
Have you been affected by the Marking and Assessment Boycott? Let us know!