Earon Scores "A" on first HW-MBA Exam

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Earon Kavanagh, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. I am very pleased to announce that I received a 68% grade (for an "A") on my recent June exam in Human resource Management at Heriot Watt U's Edinburgh Business School.

    I feel very lucky, and the hard word paid off. I also feel a bit excited and apprehensive, because that means I've set a precedent for myself on the HW MBA. Now I am driven to score an "A" on all the remaining courses.

    For those interested I have started an H-W MBA diary on the other distance ed board moderated by Peter French and company, and will soon upload it and link to my website. My website will then join other H-W MBA student sites in offering info and tips on study and exam taking.

    Well... I'm going to go celebrate with a cool Guinness. Later,

    LATEST RESULTS from the J02 diet...

    Edward Thomas [Earon] Kavanagh

    SID No.
    (removed by earon)

    Registration No.
    (removed by earon)

    Subject code
    Location Code
    Exam Mark Band
    68 A
  2. defii

    defii New Member

    Congratulations to you -- much success as you contine.
  3. Peter French

    Peter French member

    Pass 68A means what?

    Good luck for passing.

    However, with the utmost respect "Pass 68 A" doesn't surely mean the highest level pass? The UK and Ausralian systems normally are closely aligned, and High Distinction or 'A' being the top grading for a subject, normally clicks in at 80% or 85%.

    Where I work, you would get a credit pass for '68' - sorry...it means that either +32% of the paper presented serious difficulties or you could get anything correct past the 2/3rds point.

    Not being nasty, but you are bit hasty crowing about 68% unless that is better than you ever achieved before :D
  4. pbocij

    pbocij member

    Re: Pass 68A means what?

    In the UK, degree grades normally follow a pattern like this:

    < 38% - Fail
    38 - 40% - Borderline fail/Third Class (3)
    41 - 49% - Third Class (3)
    50 - 59% - Second Class (2.2)
    60 - 69% - Upper Second Class (2.1)
    70+% - First (1)

    Most universities allow a little leeway so that a student who scored 69% might be awarded a First. That's also why there's a "compensatable zone" between 38 - 40%.

    It's not usually important what grades you get for coursework, etc. because UK employers and academic institutions tend to only bother about your final degree grade (as outlined above). The only exception is that some people like to know what grade you got for your dissertation.

    Nowadays, most UK universities have started using a set of letter grades to indicate the overall quality of a piece of work. As an example, an "A" might mean something like "An excellent piece of work with no major flaws. Only minor criticisms apply." To my knowledge (as somone who has worked in 5 UK universities), an "A" is usually reserved for scores above 80%. In one university I worked at, for example, an "A" was awarded for scores of 96% or over.

    Hope some of this is useful.

    By the way, a grade of 68% is very respectable within a UK institution. You have to remember that some institutions grade from a maximum score of 80% (it's assumed that a student can't work at a higher level than this) and some stop counting after a student reaches 70% (because a First is a First is a First). I don't know how HW grades work, but Earon's score is definitely a good one - congratulations.
  5. Congratulations, Earon. Very few people score as high as 68. (I am not one of them.)

    In response to pbocij, the HW MBA is not awarded with the degree grades listed (which I think only apply to undergraduate degrees). But if one's average score is 70% or more then the MBA is awarded with Distinction. So pbocij's calibration is about right.
  6. Ike

    Ike New Member

    Congratulation Earon!!!
    I wish to add that it may be difficult for people over here to understand the British grading system. The truth is that examinations based on the British system are very, very, tough. Back in those days when my country was enjoying the oil boom, most people that seek university education in the United States are those who could not compete in the British system of education. Most of them are also children of rich people. The brightest secondary school graduates back then would normally study in the U.K or in my country.
    It may appear laughable when you read what pbocij posted but the truth is that 38% may be very difficult to attain in the British system. Most questions are essay-type questions. The questions may appear very familiar to you yet you may not be able to answer any of them. It is like you know all the questions but you don't know the answers. Multiple-choice questions could help but they are rare in the British system. I never had multiple-choice questions during my undergraduate days in the early 1980s. In some disciplines, the answers may be very subjective. In sciences and engineering, the questions are always crooked to confuse the students.
  7. Re: Pass 68A means what?

    I had a feeling after making my post on passing with an "A" at 68% that someone would wade in with a comment such as Peter's. The comment indicates quite clearly that Peter's frame of reference, at this point in time, does not incorporate an understanding Heriot Watt U's grading systems. I don't take issue with this because that's the way it is for most, myself included, who are usually not familiar with H-W's strange grading system. And rightly so; H-W has, in my opinion, a strange approach to grading its MBA student performance. Of course, we encounter these competing 'frames of reference' constantly in distance ed discussions. To give him credit, Peter asked, on the other distance ed board, for information on the H-W MBA student performance grading system.

    As for me, in most of my educational endeavors (going back to childhood) I usually get "A"s and "A+", or equivalent, when I bother to study. I knew that H-W exams were very tough (I examined earlier exams, how the grading is carried out, + the stat that about 35% absent the exam, and another 35% fail the exam). I also found the studying very difficult, in that I couldn't write any papers for credit on the final mark, and had no access to ANY feedback along the way, no way of knowing how I was doing.

    HW's grading system is as follows:
    A with Distinction= 80 and above
    A= 65-79 on exam
    B= 50-64 on exam
    C= 45-49 on exam (this is a marginal fail, which may be eligible for a compensatory pass, by taking the needed marks from another pass, if they are available - I think this can be done once.)
    F= 45 or below on exam.

    I think that H-W's grading system has to be understood from within its own logic. The H-W distance MBA delivery system is unique and highly rigorous. That's because grading is based solely on assessment of one's performance on the exam. As Rich Douglas eloquently wrote recently (on the other distance ed board)

  8. Peter French

    Peter French member

    68% ir great? Not in this State...

    1. Our 'honours' first degrees are based on completion of an additional year - straight research. It has nothing to do with you passes within the degree.

    2. With 68% you would not be guaranteed entry into a Masters program unless it was at a place that you wound't want to be at.

    3. With 68% at Masters level, your degree most certainly would be terminal.

    4. With a 68% degree you would qualify to be employed where you would rather not be employed.

    Educational standards are NOT universal:)
  9. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Re: 68% ir great? Not in this State...

    Peter - its an A - most people don't even complete the course.
  10. Re: 68% ir great? Not in this State...

    I would, and do, suggest that 68% at H-W is probably comparable to 80+% at your school. There is simply no comparison, and you're getting caught up in the numbers. But I will see what I can find out from H-W, as to why they are using this confusing grading system.
  11. Ike

    Ike New Member

    Re: Re: 68% ir great? Not in this State...

    Peter still does not get it. Peter should note that 68% is a D in most U.S. schools, but then, we are discussing H-W MBA grading system. You are right in suggesting that H-W 68% may be comparable to 80+% in some other grading systems.
  12. Mike Wallin

    Mike Wallin New Member

    Congrads on your A

    May you earn many more:D
  13. Peter French

    Peter French member

    Re: Re: 68% ir great? Not in this State...

    A lot of US students flunk here in Australia because they are used to 'gift' type passes, and not used to any rigour. I have just been speaking with an academic 'involved with H-W' and another with braod experience in this particular globa issue area - it was a 'dry lunck, OK?

    ...and they share my view not those of others currently being promoted. There are a lot of people doing degrees who should never have been granted entry to the courses. Inevitably, we have the bar lowered so that they can jump over it. UK and Australian assessment criteria doesn't differ a hell of a lot - and simply the scores you qoute would put your application either for work or further study into the bin.

    A 68% from H-W equals a 68% from UNE or Melbourne. Maybe that ecxplains why an H-W mayers won't get you into a doctorate out here. Therse scores are 'Indian' type scores ... :D

    Anyway I have assessments to prepare for 5 subjects this week - I'll let you argue with each other, believe that i am a wanker, or beleive in your own BS ;)
  14. Peter French

    Peter French member

    Re: Re: 68% ir great? Not in this State...

    An "A" for 68%?

    What does the bloke who gets 88% get????

    ...and if most people don't complete the course, that says a lot for the entry criteria :D , but then of course you still pay even if you fail ...
  15. Mike Wallin

    Mike Wallin New Member

    HW is a real school

    HW is a real school Dr Bear wouldnt be associated with it if it wasnt legit:D
  16. Peter French

    Peter French member

    Re: HW is a real school

    Not another of Dr Bears? I wonder if Sam Xavier knows ...

    ... Fairfax, Greenwich, CPU, some other International graduate school ... AND now Herriot Watt?

    Now I am really worried ... a CPU graduate now doing Herriot Watt ;) :(

    Of course it is a real school - I never doubted that .....
  17. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    The only thing wrong with this picture, Earon, is the bit about celebrating with a Guinness.

    Your school is in Scotland, man, and you're hoisting an Irish product? Get with the programme. If not a single malt, then at least an Irn Bru. Or a haggis on a stick, or something.

    PS: I suspect Heriot-Watt is still the only institution with its own private label Scotch. The Heriot-Watt Scotch was, at least when we used to visit the campus, sold at the student union, and those who know these things say it was quite good, for a blended Scotch.

    I trust you'll be better prepared to celebrate passes 2 through 9.

    PS: If Mr. French were to consult the comparative education monographs published by NOOSR (the Australian National Office of Overseas School Research) during the 1990s, which equates the grading systems of 85 countries with that of Australia, he might better understand and accept the value of your 68 vis a vis Australian grading.

    PPS: Don't hold your breadth.
  18. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    Educational Standards are Universal

    Peter French writes: " Educational standards are NOT universal."

    A strange assertion. I should hope they are. Would it be safe to fly to Australia if the pilots had varying standards of competence outwith a very narrow band? How would Australia cope with university faculty assessed to different standards, given the number of foreign faculty in its universities (including from Heriot-Watt)?

    If Peter means that educational standards are measured on different 'numerical scales' he is certainly correct. This is also common in physical measures such as metres, feet, kilograms and pounds, let alone different currencies (even 'dollars' vary in 'value' in diferent countries that use this name). All scales must be convertible, as any lire billionnaire learned if she chatted to a dollar billionnaire before the Euro.

    Where he is misleading himself is in claiming that the numerical scale he is used to in Australia is the Universal (presumably 'high') standard and any other scale is unsound. Simply transcribing a absolute number from one scale to another and assuming that it is lower than the same absolute number from a different scale is a simple error, as any graduate of an Australian University or Heriot-Watt should know. :)
  19. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    EBS Exams

    Let me outline the system we use at Edinburgh Business School (Heriot-Watt University) for our MBA programme.

    It is by final examinations only. There are no assessed course work, essays, projects or group work, or any other forms of faculty graded ‘continuous assessment’. Our on line eMBA courses provide electronic feedback (our Profiler) on students’ self assessments. Our exams are, crudely, ‘pass or perish’. Students get one re-sit per subject only (with a very few singular exceptions).

    The final examinations are closed book, of 3 hours duration, which are invigilated by the British Council at over 300 centres worldwide. There is no choice of questions. There is no value in ‘question spotting’ as the examination papers for six exam Diets ahead are prepared by EBS faculty, complete with model answers, (I am currently writing ‘replacements’ plus answers for mine used in the June Diet) and these are drawn upon by administrators in any order. With up to 26 subjects examined at each Diet, there is no check that similar questions or topics were examined recently, or never before. The student has to cover the entire syllabus (contained in the Texts, published by Pearson Education) and be ready to answer any question on it.

    All MBA papers are graded in Edinburgh by EBS faculty. We use the British External Examiners’ system (senior faculty from other British Universities). The grading scale used is the typical British University scale – crudely, start with zero and add marks for correct and relevant answers that demonstrate knowledge, analytical, synthesis and evaluative abilities (the ‘Bloomian progression’).

    Our students tell us our exams are tough; our External Examiners agree; our MBA graduates (6,000 since 1992) tell us the difference shows in their subsequent careers.
    They are tough because nobody doing a distance learning degree wants any suggestion it is ‘easier’ than a campus degree or somebody else’s distance degree.
  20. George

    George New Member

    I completed the MBA at HWU and found it very rigorous. It was not an easy job passing any of the core courses. As an academic teaching on MBA programs in Australia I would equate a B grade at HWU with a CR (Credit Grade) in Australia, but of course all universities are different and even the professor you get can affect your grade etc. I don't know what percentage of students get an A with distinction at HWU but at the university I teach our average is only 4% so to get an A or we would call a DI (Distinction Grade) would be a great achievement - only 15-20% get this grade where I teach. As far as HWU acceptability in Australian universities, my experience is that I got my tenured academic position on the basis of my HWU MBA and relevant work experience.

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