Exams and grading

To be honest I am quite stressed right now. The written exam on the horse course is already this Monday. Even though I went to almost every lecture and managed to pass the multiple choice exams we’ve had so far easily, I am worried. First of all, I started preparing for the exam later than I should have. Ever heard of procrastination? Well, let’s say it’s one of my specialities, and I solemnly swear I wish it wasn’t. Second of all I am worried because the exams here at SLU are quite different from what I am used to. Even though courses provide obligatory grading criteria, the exams remain a bit mysterious to me.

“What makes it complicated is that every course seems to have it’s own requirements on how to obtain these higher grades.”

It starts with the system of how grades are scored. At home in the Netherlands the scoring runs from 1 up to 10. Here in Sweden the grading is divided in 1,2,3,4,5. You might think: “That’s easy, just double the grade and you are back to your Dutch system!”. However, the reality is very different. A grade in the Dutch system is usually precise on the decimal. For example you may obtain a 6,3 or a 6,4 for an examination. This mark will reflect the exact amount of points you scored in proportion to the total amounts possible.

Here in Sweden the numbers reflect classes. Grades 1 and 2 will make you fail; grades 3, 4 and 5 means pass, where 3 is simply ‘pass’, 4 means a ‘good pass’ and 5 is an ‘excellent pass’. What makes it complicated is that every course seems to have it’s own requirements on how to obtain these higher grades. It may be a more in depth analysis on the written exam, it could be handing in extra exercises or a combination of different aspects. When it is depending on the written exam, an example on the requirement for grade 4 could be to score 75% of the points, while grade 5 might require 90%. Therefore you can not really say that a ‘Swedish 4’ is the same as a ‘Dutch 8’, and how to translate a Swedish 5?

The forms of examination have also been very diverse. It is kind of eye opening that there are more forms than only a multiple choice exam or a written exam. Here in Sweden I had to make home exams, group exams and even roleplay has been included to pass a course. However every time something new is demanded you’ll be surprised how insecure this can make you feel. This can be especially stressful if the full grade is depending on it. I hope it will improve my skills on being flexible though, haha.

“One thing that I think is absolutely amazing about examination at SLU is the anonymity.”

One thing that I think is absolutely amazing about examination at SLU is the anonymity. When a written exam takes place, or you have to hand in an essay, you will first be given a number. The list that shows which number corresponds to which person, will not be seen by the examiner of the course. At the end of the written exam, the last student will put their signature on the sealed envelope which will go to the student administration. The student administration will receive the graded exams from the teacher and match these back with the students who made them. In this way the grading is ‘blind’ and can not be influenced by the personal opinion an examiner might have on a student – of which he/she may not even be aware. I don’t know if this is a common procedure in other countries too, but I think the Netherlands could take an example here from Sweden.

Allright, I really have to get back to my studybooks now, or I might not even make a 3! And of course I would rather get something higher 😉 I hope this post was not too confusing, let me know if you have any questions.




1 comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *