[Translate to English:] Wessel Prins.

UC | Knee jerk reactions


In the spring of 2012 the Dutch universities made performance agreements with the Dutch government. These agreements pertain to, among other things, student academic success. Our university has pledged to increase the graduation rates from 41 percent to 55 percent, an increase of 34 percent by 2015. One of the means of achieving this goal is the Bachelor College (BC). These education reformations and the lofty goal of increasing the graduation rates by 34 percent put a great deal of stress on the organization.

The BC started in September 2012 and with it the first instance of the new TU/e wide course Calculus. The university’s trial by fire, can it really give a course to hundreds of students simultaneously? The midterms gave great prospects for this new course, many students got high marks and the expectations for the final exam where high. So when the day of the exam came the university collectively held its breath waiting for the results. Would the first BC course be a success or would the concept fail utterly? And then came the cries filled with disillusion from the first years students, the degree of difficulty of the final was in no relation to the expectations created by the midterms, and consequentially the results were dramatically lacking.

Fast forward three months and we are at the final exam for the second TU/e wide course, Physics. Immediately afterwards there are shouts of joy, the exam was highly doable perhaps even too easy. Solutions to exercises could literally be found in the book (which was available for use during the exam). “The exam was not at a university level”, a freshman said.

Two BC courses, two completely opposite reactions. How could this have happened? Was the Physics exam perhaps a knee jerk reaction to the Calculus results? Because if it is, this would be a tragedy. It should never be the case that concessions are made on the quality of our education as a result of the pressure coming from The Hague.  We must all be vigilant as to not let governmental pressure negatively impact us, the students.

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