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The Academic Council has confirmed a new draft of the Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessments of Students at the Higher School of Economics.
The current knowledge control system does not have a single grading element of a so-called ‘blocking’ nature. This made teachers from a number of disciplines concerned that it worsened the quality of the educational process. In order to fix this, some instructors started using nonlinear functions in their grading system, thereby introducing the concept of blocking. According to student voting, many of these teachers were still determined to be among the best, i.e., students themselves said the system worked well.
This sort of change must be done in a transparent and understandable way so as to avoid future disputes and legal action. What will happen is the cumulative grade will remain, while the maximum weight of one specific grading element will be 70% (versus the current 80%).
Nonlinear formulas can be used to calculate a grade, while separate elements can play a blocking role. It is important to note that this is not a requirement for all disciplines taught at HSE. Rather, it is an option for instructors who consider the new mechanism useful for evaluating their area of expertise.
Moreover, the decision to introduce a blocking grade – like the decision to use nonlinear functions – is made not by the teachers themselves, but by the academic council of a specific educational programme. A grading formula is clearly prescribed in each discipline’s guidelines, and the opportunity to retake and contest a grade is required for each blocking element. This makes the entire grading system transparent and verifiable.
The new version of the regulation enters into force September 1, 2019. This means there will be no changes in how students are graded during the current academic year.