Six months on, Durham students still waiting for assessment feedback following marking boycott

One student claims they received only 26 words of feedback for their dissertation


Multiple Durham students affected by the marking and assessment boycott (MAB) have claimed they received no feedback on their final dissertations.

Final year students whose degree classifications had been delayed due to  industrial action spoke to The Tab Durham about the “anticlimactic” eventual release of their marks this month.

Of those who didn’t receive marks until November, one student claimed they only received 26 words of feedback, while others claimed they had received no feedback at all.

On the confessions Facebook page, Durfess, an anonymous poster alleges that they received “only 26 words of feedback’” for their dissertation work.

Explaining their frustrations over waiting for over six months for their marks, the user further criticises the limited feedback. They also refer to themself feeling “like a bit of a mug” for supporting staff during the UCU strikes as a result of this feedback.

The post, Durfess29666, reads: “Imagine making someone wait over six months to get their diss back, and then, just to rub it in a bit further, giving them only 26 words of feedback. Makes me feel like a bit of a mug for having been so supportive of the strikes tbh. Thanks Durham, it’s been horrible x”

The post then attaches a meme featuring David Mitchell as Peep Show’s Mark Corrigan, and a screenshot of what it reports as the anonymous poster’s alleged feedback.

The feedback reads: “Overall, an interesting piece of work. There are however a number of aspects that could have been developed to offer more, depth, nuance and critical rigour.”

The anonymous Facebook post in question

In response to the post itself and the intense reaction it received, The Durham Tab asked other students about their feedback, with a number of responses indicating similar experiences.

One commenter, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke of their frustration with the feedback process.

They said: “A friend of mine said that you can request dissertation feedback from your supervisor, I just found it ridiculous that after months of waiting we also have to ask for the feedback. I also submitted a summative, not an exam, before the marking boycott started and only received my mark with the final grades a few days ago and absolutely no feedback on that either.

“We have spent months if not years of our lives working toward this goal and on a random day in November we got our marks back. It was very anticlimactic.

“If it wasn’t for the fact that I had a great time getting involved in my college, my Durham experience would have been such a let down. Also a reason why I decided to change universities this year.”

Another anonymous graduate claims they received no feedback at all, saying: “They’ve been useless. It’s ridiculous; we all supported the strikes and now they give us [nothing] in return.

“I didn’t get any feedback actually. I’m part of the cohort who didn’t get any marks until November unfortunately.

“If I was doing a masters or anything like that where I needed to do a dissertation, I’d have absolutely no idea how to improve.”

It seems that the allegations posed by the anonymous poster are not unique, as other commenters share their sentiments on their feedback experiences. Some comments read: “imagine getting feedback!”, and, “lmao you got feedback at least.”

With the delays caused by the marking boycotts and pay disputes with the university, students are having to wait months to receive their final marks and feedback, further impacting their future plans, with the grades needed for graduate jobs and further educational opportunities.

In response to the claim made on Durfess, a Durham University spokesperson said: “We have been provided with no evidence to justify the claim reported.

“We have communicated regularly and extensively with our students on this matter. We have done everything we can do [to] get their marks to them as quickly as possible.

“We have also continued to reassure students that Durham degrees are rigorously assessed. We are accountable to the Office for Students (OfS) for the quality and standards of our degrees.”

Featured image via google maps. 

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