Politics students got to do an exam twice because no one knew how to answer the paper properly

They were allowed to repeat the assessment to ‘improve their mark’

In normal circumstances, any university student would be ecstatic to find out that forty percent of their module depends on a multiple choice test. It’s the Holy Grail of all assessments, a flash back to simpler times when tests weren’t three hours long and you weren’t five thousand pounds overdrawn. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much better than a multiple choice exam.

Unless you happened to be one of the students who took the politics module of International Security this year. The format of the test seemed simple enough – just tick the right answer, right? But it became apparent that it wasn’t quite that easy. Students were initially informed that their results would not be published on the date they had been given (9th January) but were not given any indication as to why. Over a week later, students received this:

The problem was that whilst some questions had multiple correct answers and others only one, there was no indication of which questions had more than one answer.

Combined with the negative marking scheme, whereby a mark is deducted for wrong answers as well as awarded for correct ones, this meant that most students ended up with low marks that did not reflect their true abilities.

Several students expressed anger at the way the test, and the module in general, was run. Xavier said that it was, “one of the most unorganised modules I’ve ever experienced. The actual test wasn’t very well worded in parts and I didn’t appreciate only being given a week to revise for the resit when I had other deadlines and work to do.”

Students received about five million emails regarding the retake

Ellie, who studies joint honours Philosophy and Politics, also commented: “There were a few complaints about lectures being cancelled or rearranged last minute during the course, and then we had the class test. They called out a register both times and there was about ten people that didn’t retake, if that.

“My mark improved by 41 just by changing the way the questions were laid out and making the mark scheme fairer; that’s two whole degree classifications without any difference in preparation.

“I didn’t think this was a new module so I’m quite surprised that this happened.”

Ultimately the problem was sorted, but you do wonder how hard it can be to write a multiple choice exam.