Today was the end of year exam board for undergraduate courses. This involves the careful and relentless examination of anonymised excel spreadsheets, only enlivened by the more outre courses taken by students on joint degrees. Who would know that students had the opportunity of studying Freudian Economics, Marxist Psychology , The Geography of Wine or The Sociology of Water? These courses make the idea of a course in Operations Strategy sound even more enervating.

First, to start with the good news, no one failed Innovation & Entrepreneurship, so that was a resit paper that did not need to be set (though, in the spirit of recycling,  next year’s students can now look forward to a topical question about Spring 2013).

In Quality Management the mean mark was 66%, with 10 firsts, 16 2.1s and 4 2.2s. In Operations Strategy the mean was also 66%, with 9 firsts, 18 2.1s and 4 2.2s. Which is just the sort of consistency of quality we would be looking for in a Lean/Six Sigma organisation…..

On the other hand, Entrepreneurship and New Business Ventures was 28 1sts, 4 2.1s and 1 2.2, so I still have a long way to go to achieve that level of educational value-added, or it might be that the brightest students want to be entrepreneurs; I can’t think of other explanations. At the other end of the scale, another course had only 7% firsts, so this may be that entrepreneurship students are 11 times brighter. [This may not be right; I am not too hot on statistics, but it looks a bit significant.] The serious point is that the selection of courses influences the probability that a student will fall off the end of the production line clutching a first-class degree and is it not wholly related to their motivation or aptitude.



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