Ensuring Appropriate Mitigation for UoM UGR Psychology Students 2017/2018

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For the attention of the B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology degree programme Examination Board at the University of Manchester, within the Division of Psychology and Mental Health (2017/1018).

This petition is to urge the Examination Board to take into account a range of factors that may have influenced the summer 2018 examination period, as well as other assessed assignments, which may have arisen due to the UCU strike action throughout 2018.

 The University of Manchester is a prestigious University in the United Kingdom and is a member of the Russell Group. Students across the UK and the globe expect the highest level of education when attending the University of Manchester due to its esteemed reputation. Currently, students on the B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology degree programme feels unsatisfied with the level of education received and the handling of the UCU strike action on the lead up to the 2017/2018 summer examination period.

The department has not been very communicative with students as to what will happen with examinations. We are told that this will be discussed at the Examination Board meeting. We understand that you are telling us ‘when’ this is happening and ‘what’ is happening (in that the department seeks to mitigate against the UCU strike action on students, however, the department has failed to tell their students ‘how’ they are going to mitigate against the influence of the UCU strike action on examinations, on weighted assignments, and on third-year dissertation research projects. This ‘how’ factor is requested by the students to allow us to feel reassured on the lead up to the examination period.

The strike action actively had a direct influence on the teaching and learning on all students on the degree programme. Therefore, students on the degree programme believe that the Examination Board should take into account all of the possible outcomes from the strike action. 

Semester 2 of the academic year can often seem to be the most stressful lead-up to the summer examinations. There is no major gap for revision between the end of the Semester and the examination period, whereas in Semester 1 students have the Christmas period to revise. The strike action has caused the current level of stress to be majorly amplified. 

The signatories of this petition urge the B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology degree programme Examination Board at the University of Manchester to take into account the following:

•Some students have been advised that the examinations have been made prior to the UCU strike action and therefore the timetabled lecture must be learnt, regardless if any material has been given by the relevant lecturer;

•Students may feel under more pressure in the examinations as they may not recognise questions as the material may not have been adequately taught due to the UCU strike action. We contend that this is going to have an impact on performance; research demonstrates that stress can influence memory;

•Students may feel an amplified level of stress on the lead up to the examination periods as they may struggle to adequately learn information which should have been taught over the period of the UCU strikes. We contend this is going to have an impact on performance; research demonstrates that increased stress may impair the encoding of memory, therefore limiting the ability for information to be learnt;

•Students feel stressed due to the miscommunications of staff, causing further confusion. For example, the Programme Director for the B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology degree programme at the University of Manchester sent a fairly reassuring message to students that they should not learn lectures that have NO materials provided, yet in one (or more) case(s), Unit Leader(s) has/have stated that students should learn all the information regardless, because examinations were created prior to the UCU strike action;

•Students anticipate that the department will also carefully study the academic performance in laboratory reports, essays, and other pieces of assessed coursework in courses which have been influenced as a result of the UCU strike action, as well as the summer examinations;

•Third year students may have missed significant contact time with their project supervisors, which may consequently hinder the ability to meet deadlines and create what could be an excellent first class report. 

Second-year students are also confused as to why examinations could not be amended. In their Evolution of Behaviour of Cognition course, Dr Jensen could not make the final lecture due to unforeseen circumstances. However, he managed to have the content of the last lecture removed from the examination with approximately 1-month notice. Students are confused as to why examinations could not be amended after the UCU strike period. There exists an approximate 2-month gap in between the end of the UCU strike period, yet members of staff are insisting that examinations cannot be changed. Logically, this seems to not make much sense and is very frustrating for students. We believe some form of communication is required to detail why this is the case from the Programme Director or Examinations Officer for the B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology degree programme.

We hope that you take the aforementioned points into consideration in the Examination Board meeting. We take our education very seriously, and in the current educational climate whereby we pay our fees, we expect a service in return, which has not been given adequately during the UCU examination period. 

 Yours sincerely,

The Signatories

Students on the B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology degree programme at the University of Manchester (2017/2018) 



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