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POPLHLTH101, 2015

K Roe made this Official Information request to University of Auckland

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From: K Roe

Dear University of Auckland,

This is in regards to the course POPLHLTH101 in 2015.

Please can you inform me:

1) How many students who submitted the first assignment were given (1a) under 50% for that assignment. (1b) under 40% for that assignment.

2) How many students who submitted the second assignment were given (2a) under 50% for that assignment. (2b) under 40% for that assignment.

3) Please can you tell me how many students (who submitted both assignments, who sat the multiple-choice internal component, and who also sat the exam) were failed for the course in that year.

4) Please can you tell me how many of the students in 3 were awarded passes for the core 3 papers for application to MBChB.

Thanks.

Yours faithfully,

A person in NZ,

K Roe

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe,

 

I refer to your email of 30 October 2019. The University's response
follows.

 

1)  How many students who submitted the first assignment were given:
(1a) under 50% for that assignment.
14
(1b) under 40% for that assignment.

6

 

2)  How many students who submitted the second assignment were given:

(2a) under 50% for that assignment.

8

(2b) under 40% for that assignment.
4

 

“3)  Please can you tell me how many students (who submitted both
assignments, who sat the multiple-choice internal component, and who also
sat the exam) were failed for the course in that year.

4)  Please can you tell me how many of the students in 3 were awarded
passes for the core 3 papers for application to MBChB.”

The University does not hold this information in the form requested. Your
request is declined under section 18(e) of the Official Information Act.
You have the right to make a complaint to an Ombudsman about this
response.

 

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

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From: K Roe

Dear Rebecca Ewert,

If the university does not hold this information in the form requested I have very serious concerns about whether the University is keeping adequate records of student progress / achievement.

In answering question 3 all you have to do is count up the number of rows that sum to a total of less than 50 percent for the course and then count how many of those rows have values other than zero for every column (for the first assignment, second assignment, internal multi-guess, exam). That will tell you the number of students who did everything that was required of them but the University decided to fail them out.

I want to know whether I was the only person to be prevented applying to MBChB (and a good honest effort to irrevokably ruin my GPA thus preventing further application) not because of performance on core papers, but because I refused to attend meeting on demand that seemed more to do with circumventing proper grading process than anything else.

Please can you tell the NZ public what mechanisms of accountability there are on grading `language rich' `arts based' courses that are supposedly for students who are capabe in subjects such as law, arts, and social sciences?

- Is blind grading employed (the grader does not know which student submitted the assignment when they are awarding it a grade)?

- How many times does the grader grade it (e.g., only once or three times to see if they award it a different grade on each pass through)?

- What is the process for checking different graders have employed comparable standards across batches (e.g., the A's are similar between graders, the B's are similar between graders)?

- What is the process for ensuring that you don't fail out students who have previously demonstrated capabillity (e.g., at secondary school, on previous arts and social sciences courses, perhaps on international publications)?

I understand that the POPLHLTH101 people think they are allowed to be very particular in asking students to do very particular things only and otherwise failing them. My understanding of the University of Auckland is that it is a top 100 University, however, and as such, I enroled under the assumption that international standards on assignments and grading would be employed. I understand if students perhaps are not EXPECTED to meet some of the higher demands of international scholarship. It is, after all, a first year paper. It is another thing entirely, however, if students are not ALLOWED to meet some of the higher demands of international scholarship -- including those around freedom of expression of original ideas.

Yours sincerely,

K Roe

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe,

 

I refer to your email of 16 November 2019, in which you requested
information from the University of Auckland under the Official Information
Act 1982 (OIA). The following is a response to your OIA request and does
not address your extraneous claims about your studies at the University.

 

In relation to the POPLTHLH 101 course as currently offered by the
University:

 

“- Is blind grading employed (the grader does not know which student
submitted the assignment when they are awarding it a grade)?”

 

Blind grading is not used for POPLHLTH 101. I note, however, that POPLHLTH
101 tutors do not mark work submitted by students in their own tutorial
group.

 

“- How many times does the grader grade it (e.g., only once or three times
to see if they award it a different grade on each pass through)?”

When marking of an assessment commences it is not uncommon for lecturers
to mark the first say 10 assessments, and then go back and remark those 10
to ensure consistency across marking. For a large stage 1 paper like 101,
it is common practice for the course director, professional teaching
fellow  and the tutors on the course to mark a set of assignments (3-5)
independently and then come together at a special meeting to discuss how
they marked these  and why to develop a shared understanding about what
they are assessing and how they are using the rubrics.  Markers may also
consult with the Professional Teaching Fellow and/or Course Director about
any assessments they are unsure of throughout the marking process (2-3
weeks).  The Professional Teaching Fellow also reviews the marking of the
individual tutors' marking once all of the marking is completed to check
alignment with what was agreed at the meeting.

 

“- What is the process for checking different graders have employed
comparable standards across batches (e.g., the A's are similar between
graders, the B's are similar between graders)?”

 

All courses have an examiner and an assessor. The assessor reviews the
marking of assessments by looking at students with a range of grades (e.g.
3 in the lower grade band, 3 in the middle, and 3 in the upper grade
band). They will compare this against the assessment that has been set and
any marking guides or rubrics. They are looking for consistency and
fairness in the marking. They may make recommendations where they think
there are issues with consistency or  fairness and in discussion with the
course director/coordinator grades may be revised accordingly. This is
noted in the Assessors report for the course.  

 

"- What is the process for ensuring that you don't fail out students who
have previously demonstrated capabillity [sic] (e.g., at secondary school,
on previous arts and social sciences courses, perhaps on international
publications)?"

 

Every student's assignment is marked based on its merits, not the
student's prior academic achievement. Information about the support
offered to students is publicly available at
[1]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/...

 

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

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From: K Roe

Dear Rebecca Ewert,

The year I sat the course the course convenor attended most of our tutorials. The tutor ended up taking very much of a back seat as the course convenor took over explaning things and otherwise running / managing the tutorial session. I do not know if the course convenor chose to conduct herself similarly in other tutors tutorials.

The course convenor also ran a number of extra help sessions whereby students could go and seek approval from the course convenor as to whether parts of their assignment should stay or go according to whether the course convenor approved or disapproved of what was said.

Now I am being informed that the course convenor decides whether or not the students work has 'merit' and that the decision on whether or not the work has 'merit' is not the product of a blind grading process.

Q -- When people grade their 3-5 for the grading meeting - who decides / what is the process for deciding which students will have their work presented as 'ideal' and 'aspirational' (and perhaps which students will have their work failed) in the 'special meeting'?

For example, does the course convenor instruct tutors 'present these 3 in particular at the meeting' or is there an algorithm whereby students are selected at random.

A person in New Zealand (a New Zealander),

Kelly Roe

Yours sincerely,

K Roe

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe

 

To clarify - for a large stage 1 paper like 101, when the marking process
commences, it is common practice for the course director, professional
teaching  fellow and the tutors on the course to mark a set of assignments
(3-5)  independently and then to come together at a special meeting to
discuss how they marked these and why, to develop a shared understanding
about what  they are assessing and how they are using the rubrics.

 

Once marking is complete there is a process of moderation where the course
director and/or the professional teaching fellow will review the marking
across the markers to ensure consistency. This typically involves randomly
selecting work with a high, medium and low mark from each marker. 

 

Throughout the marking and moderation process a marker is able to seek
support and additional review from the course director and professional
teaching fellow if they have questions about  marking.

 

There is no process whereby the course director instructs tutors on which
particular 3-5 assignments to mark and bring to the meeting, or algorithm
used to randomly determine which assignments are marked and brought to the
meeting. Quite commonly a marker will bring assignments that reflect a
range of marks e.g. low, medium, and high.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

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