University of Sussex - Third Year Engineering Students Final Term Petition

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Dear whom this may concern,

The students within the mechanical and automotive engineering department feel that the exams and coursework deadlines with the spring teaching and end of year assessment term, have been poorly organised by the department.

The coursework deadlines and the exam timetable for the last term in year 3 were extremely close together. For example, an automotive student had three exams within a period of 5 days, overlapping a weekend. Other students had less than two and a half weeks for revision for all three exams, which was the best-case scenario. This period does not take into account the deadline extensions for no access to I.T facilities that occurred roughly on the 24th April. These services are vital for completion of coursework and revision activities and although time extensions were given for courseworks, the exams were not.

The high coursework demands for this past term have also meant that pre-empted revision has been limited for students and hence insufficient time for exam preparation. In particular, this is caused by Design of Mechanisms and Machines which many students feel should be moved to 1st term and replaced with either Dynamics of Machines and Vehicles or Business due to their ease in exam revision. Note, this statement is not a complaint about Design of Mechanisms and Machines as it is clear this module is fundamental to Mechanical Engineering in its high coursework structure. It is simply poorly placed alongside the fundamental stages of the final year project, resulting in catastrophic consequences to Mechanical Students understanding of other final term modules.

Many of the students strongly believe the lack of standardisation for the assessments, relative to previous years, has become particularly apparent this year. Whilst we collectively agree that it is impossible to perfectly standardise a series of assessments, there needs to be, at least, an attempt to make up for increasing the difficultly of the assessments. On average, the third year exams for the majority of the modules in the past two years have been considerably easier than this year’s exams. We believe that increasing the difficulty of the exams should have been compensated for by providing additional teaching resources, more effective lecturing and supplementary workshops. Furthermore, we recognise that there are measures that attempt to ensure regulation such as the moderation and review of the cohort performance in each module with the assessment board. However, despite this, the board may fail to account for the various circumstances surrounding the assessment period described above which ultimately resulted in a considerable disadvantage for the majority of the students.

To conclude, the students feel that it is not fair that we have been subjected to an unfair means of testing and teaching. This unfair period of time for revision means that our hard work and effort in other years will not be represented in our final results and this can potentially jeopardise the classification of our degree. The problems with the I.T services at the end of the term affected the deadlines for courseworks and the poor organisation of the coursework in the final terms have prevented the students to show their full potential in our final exams. This was out of the students control and we have now suffered from the lack of opportunity for thorough exam preparation.

The students would like to come to a resolution that our marks be compensated or have the opportunity to have one uncapped resit of our choice.


Third Year Engineering Students

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