A couple of years ago we changed the way honours is determined in CS from 1/3 thesis, 1/3 4th year course work, 1/3 years 1-3 average, to doing it based on straight WAM as computed by myUNSW. This simplified the calculations and made it more transparent for students. The old formula and the new formula make no difference for 90% of students. But for two groups of students it makes a difference. Students who do their first three years somewhere else just get an average based on their fourth year work. Because these averages tend to be higher, these students get an unfair advantage. And students who perform poorly in first year, but then figure things out and do well from then on are disadvantaged.
The simplest fix is to base honours just on the 4th year WAM. The mark required for 1st class honours changes from 76 to 79. Other cutoffs stay the same.
- Tim Lambert (lambert)
School of Computer Science & Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052, AUSTRALIA
Phone: +61 2 9385 6876