Oxford University under fire for "sexist" new exam policy
Oxford University under fire for "sexist" new exam policy
Oxford Rewrites History Exam to Make it Easier for Women to Get Top Grades
13 Junio, 2017, 04:12
Oxford University said: "Timed exams remain an important part of the course, testing skills to complement the other assessed elements The gender gap was a consideration in this change".
The University of Oxford is planning to introduce a so-called "takeout" exam as part of its history course to help women get better grades.
One of Oxford's five final-year history exams will be replaced by a paper that can be done at home to try to improve results for female students.
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"This course in particular showed one of the largest gender gaps in results between women and men", a document said regarding the gender gap in Oxford's History program.
The document stated: "As women and men perform more equally in submitted work, it was proposed that a take-out exam with questions similar to that in a timed exam should be implemented".
The decision has come under fire, however, with University of Liverpool honorary research senior fellow in history Amanda Foreman telling the Telegraph, "The reason why girls and boys perform differently in exams has nothing to do with the building they are in. But it is so insulting". "I don't think girls are inherently weaker than boys and can't take it. Women are not the weaker sex".
She added, "You are saying that the girls can't take the stress of sitting in the exam room, which does raise one's anxiety levels".
Some faculty members were reportedly sceptical of the policy, warning it increased the risk of plagiarism and acted as a "sticking plaster" rather than a long-term solution to gender attainment gaps. "The gender gap was also a consideration in this change, although research shows that the causes of the gap are broad do not lie exclusively in methods of assessment", the school said in a statement. Cambridge University - where the average gender gap is almost nine percentage points across all subjects - is reviewing its exam system "in order to understand fully any variations and how we can mitigate them effectively".
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