University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management

Education

New data: Best study programmes to appeal your exam grade

Less than four percent of students file appeals over exam results. But maybe more should do it - a whopping 21 percent are upheld

It pays to complain. At least if you feel you have been treated unfairly.

One in five official appeals about exam results at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) are upheld. Examination rules were changed in 2010, and students filing official complaints about exam results have risked receiving a lower grade than the original, but in almost all actual cases a re-evaluation means a higher grade.

In total 21.2 percent of appeals are upheld at UCPH, but with significant differences across faculties.

Far more students would complain if they knew

31.8 per cent of appeals, one in every third appeal, is upheld at the Faculty of Humanities, whereas only approximately 15 per cent are upheld at the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. This could be because the faculties’ definitions of ‘uphold’ varies. At the Faculty of Law, an upheld appeal means the student has received a higher grade, whereas at the Faculty of Social Sciences, it’s defined as an offer of reevaluation or to retake the exam.

Malou Astrup, president of the Student Council at UCPH, believes the numbers would be higher if students were made aware of their options.

”Far more students feel that they are treated unfairly. But we students aren’t informed about how to complain, and we don’t know how,” she says.

Law, the home of the appeal

She would like to see more courses with thorough feedback during the semester and proper explanations for the grade given, instead of testing the students general knowledge at the end of the semester.

There were a total of 1,579 exam appeals at UCPH in 2013 and 2014 from a student body of almost 40,000. The Faculty of Humanities had the fewest appeals relative to the number of students at 1.3 percent, and the Faculty of Law had the most at 12.7 percent.

Laura Bech Hansen, chairwoman of the Humanities Council, believes that the smaller humanities classes better help to prepare students for exams.

High expectations cocktail

“As we have a lot of small courses, there are often also relatively small classes, where it’s easier to establish a good dialogue with your lecturers. The shorter the distance between lecturer and student, the easier it is to ask about what’s required at an exam, and to get a sense of your academic level,” Laura Bech Hansen says.

Chairman of United Jurists (Forenede Jurister) Jens Guldager is not surprised to hear that students at the Faculty of Law have the highest rate of appeaæs.

”People care enormously about their exams because employers look at the results. When you combine that with the fact that we have a high gradepoint average from high school and have high expectations to ourselves, you have a cocktail that invites to examination appeals,” he says.

Here is the data for each faculty at the University of Copenhagen:

Exam appeals per student at the University of Copenhagen

Faculty of Humanities
(Jan 2013 – Dec 2014)
Students: 11,627
Exam appeals: 154
Percentage of students who complain: 1,3%

Faculty of Law
(Winter exams 2012 – summer exams 2014)
Students: 4,544
Exam appeals: 578
Percentage of students who appeal: 12,7%

Faculty of Science
(Academic years 2013-2015)
Students: 9,628
Exam appeals: 138
Percentage of students who appeal: 1,4%

Faculty of Social Sciences
(2013 – 2014)
Students: 6,604
Exam appeals: 389
Percentage of students who appeal: 5,8%

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
(Winter exams 2012 – summer exams 2014)
Students: 7,900
Exam appeals: 306
Percentage of students who appeal: 3,8%

Faculty of Theology
(Jan. 2013 – Dec. 2014)
Students: 670
Exam appeals: 14
Percentage of students who appeal: 2,1%

UCPH in total
Students: 40,974
Exam appeals: 1,579
Percentage of students who appeal: 3,8%

Successful appeals

Faculty of Humanities
(Jan. 2013 – Dec. 2014)
Appeal: 154
Appeals upheld: 47
Second appeals: 9
Second appeals upheld: 2
Total upheld: 49
Share upheld: 31,8%

Faculty of Law
(Winter exams 2012 – summer exams 2014)
Appeals: 578
Appeals upheld: 76
Second appeals: 76
Second appeals upheld: 14
Total upheld: 90
Share upheld: 15,5%

Faculty of Natural Sciences
(Academic years 2013-2015)
Appeals: 138
Appeals upheld: 36
Second appeals: 3
Second appeals upheld: 0
Total upheld: 36
Share upheld: 26,1%

Faculty of Social Sciences
(2013 – 2014)
Appeals: 389
Appeals upheld: 89
Second appeals: 42
Second appeals upheld: 18
Total upheld: 107
Share upheld: 27,5%

Faculty of Health Sciences
(Winter exams 2012 – summer exams 2014)
Appeals: 306
Appeals upheld: 46
Second appeals: not specified
Second appeals upheld: not specified
Total upheld: 46
Share upheld: 15%

Faculty of Theology
(Jan. 2013 – Dec. 2014)
Appeals: 14
Appeals upheld: 8
Second appeals: 4
Second appeals upheld: 0
Total upheld: 8
Share upheld: 57%

UCPH in total
Appeals: 1579
Appeals upheld: 302
Second appeals: 134
Second appeals upheld: 34
Total upheld: 336
Share upheld: 21,2%

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

Do you have a good story? We would like to hear from you. In the meantime, sign up for our weekly newsletter for news, like us on Facebook for features, guides and tips on upcoming events and follow us on Twitter for links to other Copenhagen academia stories.

Seneste