King’s claims students will not be ‘disadvantaged’ by boycott despite two week delay for marks
The uni is yet to send any communication to students of how it is mitigating the effects of the marking boycott
King’s College London has claimed that “no student should be disadvantaged” by the ongoing University and College Union (UCU) marking and assessment boycott despite students facing almost two week delays on receiving marks.
In a brief statement made to The King’s Tab, Professor Adam Fagan, Vice President of Education and Student Success, claimed the university is doing “everything possible to ensure that this industrial action does not impact on your studies, your progress through your degree, nor on the award of your degree”.
The university has only marginally mentioned the marking boycott in two emails from the KCL Students’ Union (KCLSU) from mid-May, in which the focus was on emotional support available to students during the industrial action rather than providing any tangible measures the university is putting in place to mitigate the effects of the boycott.
Whilst some universities, including Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh, have chosen to graduate students this summer with missing marks and others have chosen to delay graduations, King’s students remain in the dark regarding their marks for this academic year. For many final year students, this has a direct impact on their future plans.
Multiple King’s students have expressed concerns regarding the lack of information about their delayed marks. Students ranging from business, politics, English literature, languages and liberal arts degrees have signalled to The King’s Tab that they have been awaiting important marks and have neither received these marks nor been explained their delay.
A final year languages student told The King’s Tab that they were expecting a mark for an essay that counted for 100 per cent of a module on the 22nd May, but 12 days later they are still yet to receive it. The student claims they were not provided with communication from the module convenor or the university as when to expect their marks back, if at all.
“With all the hours I have dedicated of my weekends and holidays to finishing my degree to the highest standard, and I have been kept waiting two weeks to hear back on marks that basically dictate my future,” the student told The King’s Tab.
Professor Fagan explained that “the impact of any industrial action on assessment will vary from exam to exam and module to module, so each assessment will be considered individually.” This claim comes exactly forty-three days after the official strike commenced on April 20th.
A final year student who has a conditional offer for a Master’s course in journalism shared their fears with The King’s Tab that their further studies may be impacted by the marking boycott as they require a copy of their degree transcript in order to secure their place.
Naomi* said: “The university that has offered me a place on my Master’s course asks to see my degree transcript before I can start. Without that piece of paper, my future Master’s place is at stake.”
Similar anxiety has grown regarding whether dissertations will be marked in time for the summer results period. Students that have spent months crafting their final works feel despair at knowing whether or not they have passed.
With the trend of delayed marks, there has been no indication whether King’s graduation ceremonies this summer will continue as planned or will be postponed. Many students have already organised the necessary tickets and trips for their families to attend these ceremonies.
Regarding students’ future plans, Professor Fagan claims that the university is working towards taking “all available steps to minimise any disruption and ensure that you can progress from one year of study to the next, and that you can graduate at the end of your degree as normal. You will still be able to progress pending assessment and/or ratification of results at a later date if required.” However, it once again remains unclear as to how the institutions providing postgraduate education should react to such shortcomings in degree transcripts.
One King’s student summarised the situation by declaring “we have heard nothing from our professors or from the university”. The university’s guiding principle during this time to “minimise” the interference of the UCU marking boycott is not apparent to the student population.
In full, Professor Fagan told The King’s Tab: “We will do everything possible to ensure that this industrial action does not impact on your studies, your progress through your degree, nor on the award of your degree. The impact of any industrial action on assessment will vary from exam to exam and module to module, so each assessment will be considered individually.
“We will take all available steps to minimise any disruption and ensure that you can progress from one year of study to the next, and that you can graduate at the end of your degree as normal. You will still be able to progress pending assessment and/or ratification of results at a later date if required.
“The guiding principles are that no student should be disadvantaged while academic standards will be maintained.”
*Name changed to preserve anonymity