Education

Reevaluation of the Exam from Applied Methods & Statistics

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Education Coordinators
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  1. Launched 01/11/2019
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Dear Psychology Education Coordinators Ms Erkelenz and Ms Helmer,

we are writing this letter to bring to your attention something that we believe is unfair and requires attention.The subject of this Petition is the Exam of Applied Methods and Statistics, which took place on the 18th of October 2019. As mentioned in individual appointments with you, this course is generally believed to be one of the easier statistics courses.

This year the exam was quite different to the mock exam and the passing rate was 54,2% in the English track.

In previous statistics courses the teachers always announced after the exam that students are encouraged to write emails about ambiguous questions and that these will be taken into account in the grading, if reasonable and applicable to a number of students. This year the teacher Sara van Erp posted an announcement stating that she will not take into account any complaints about the exam and will evaluate ambiguity with an item analysis. Given the relatively high failing rate and the fact that only 47 out of 177 students were able to achieve a grade higher than 6, it seems a bit surprising that the item analysis revealed no bad questions to be taken out of the exam.

Furthermore the teacher posted that the exam inspection (which is the only opportunity to discuss the exam) will be in 2 weeks, on the 14th of November. At this point there will be no chance to discuss the grading anymore. On top of that, Sara van Erp announces that no notes may be taken during the exam inspection. This means, all students who come there to review their mistakes are not allowed to write them down and make a plan how to improve themselves.

Overall there seems to be lacking transparency about the exam, which is why we would like to ask for:

  1. An insight into the psychometric properties of the exam questions and the item analysis

  2. An independent second evaluation by a third party on whether the exam needs adjustment of the grades.

  3. The permission to take notes during the exam inspection and the guarantee for sufficient time for discussion.

Reason

We want to make sure that everyone is graded based on their knowledge and skills and not on other factors such as ambiguity of questions. For the resit it is important to have sufficient insights into what was so difficult in the exam and what went wrong in teacher-student communication concerning it.

Thank you for your support, Luise Nathusius from Freiburg
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