Results online

James Burton - News Reporter 19 June 2009

From June 2010, all students taking Cambridge University exams will receive an email containing their results at least half a day before they are posted outside Senate House. The move comes after years of campaigning for change to a system that, according to Ant Bagshaw, is an example of “tradition solely for tradition’s sake.”

The CUSU education officer told TCS: “I think its great news that the university has finally listened to the majority of student opinion and decided to make changes”.

What the move means in practice is that students will be able to find out what grade they have received for each exam without having to wait for results to be made public. Although the grades are already posted on ‘CamSIS’ there is currently no requirement for them to be made available privately prior to being made public.

Despite criticism of the new system from some national newspapers, which suggests it represents an unnecessary and perhaps cynically-motivated break with three hundred years of tradition, Mr Bagshaw defended CUSU’s position, saying its agenda was not developed “for the sake of an officer’s political career, but as the product of research and consultation.” There is, at the moment, no plan to end the practice of putting results outside Senate House, and a request by CUSU to make it easier for grades to be withdrawn from the lists – a process which currently requires students to supply medical evidence suggesting it would cause excessive stress – was denied by the university. A spokesperson said that, “to give everyone the option of having their names removed would be too costly and time-consuming.”

Although he welcomed the decision to email results, Mr Bagshaw nonetheless suggested that the CUSU campaign would continue: “The University hasn’t addressed the more serious issue of how students get their names removed from the public lists… The University should make opting out easier and not expect students to supply medical evidence.”

James Burton – News Reporter