Cardiff University’s school of European Studies, EUROP, has caused upset this year by disallowing 40 credit dissertations for students on joint honours degrees. Dissertations are popular as they are an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge on a topic of their choice. The decision is a huge diversion from tradition as dissertations are a pivotal part of most students’ academic life.
The Assessment Matters project, for which EUROP is the pilot school, will credit dissertations with 20 credits instead of 40 credit modules. At present German & Italian Joint Honours students have the opportunity to take a 20 credit dissertation, whereas French & Spanish students cannot take one at all. Single Honours students are still able to compose a dissertation worth 40 credits taking up 2 module choices.
The Assessment Matters Project has a limit of 4,000 words for a 20 credit module limiting joint honours students to a 4,000 word dissertation compared to 15,000 for single honours students.
EUROP claim that they have done all they can to help students in this position – even bending the rules to a 5,000 word limit for the 20 credit dissertations. Despite these problems, Cardiff’s Vice President for Education, Ollie Wannell stood by the Project declaring that “the Assessment Matters Project has done, and continues, to do a lot of good work.” He did however admit that “the desire to move to 20 credit modules had presented problems in EUROP. The school are working through this problem but it will be likely to crop up in other schools as the project is rolled out across the University.”
When asked if there is help on hand for students in this situation, Wannell stated that The Students’ Union are doing all they can. Vowing to “work to ensure that this has the least detrimental effect on students as possible.”. At the end of the year there will be a review to ascertain whether or not the 20 credit dissertation is an effective method of assessment for EUROP students on joint honours courses.
If you are concerned or would like to find out more information, contact Ollie Wannell at VPEducation@Cardiff.ac.uk or on 029 2078 1428.
– News Editor