Students notching up better results during the pandemic

Coronavirus or not exams went steaming ahead across Flanders despite the pandemic and guess what?  Students obtained better scores and there was no hike in the number of students dropping out.

This was already the third exam period during the pandemic and at Ghent University at least students outperformed their predecessors last year.  The number of students that passed for all subjects rose by 3.1%.  Among first years the success rate is up even 4.4%.

“A striking and reassuring finding was the fact that for all subjects and across all disciplines the number of students taking part in exams rose” says Ghent Rector Rik Van de Walle. “Even among first years more students turned up for exams.”

“I was already convinced that lecturers provided high quality education during the past semester.  The results confirm it: both lecturers and students did very well”.

The rector suggests the improved scores may be due to the lack of distractions on offer in recent months.  Student activities couldn’t be staged; hobbies were often problematic and you couldn’t attend any cultural events.

At Odisee, the University of Applied Sciences, students performed even better: Pass numbers were up 4.3% while the number of students getting high scores (14 or more out of 20) rose 6.3%.

Here the university management sees similar grounds for the improved performance.

“Students have little else but their studies to keep themselves amused.  That may be part of the explanation, but the type of teaching, online, means students have to deal with subject matter in a far more active fashion” notes Stef Aerts of the agro and biotech division.

“Online-learning clearly has its advantages.  We will try to retain the advantages of mixed learning after the pandemic” says Ann Martine, educational director at Odisee.  “We worked with ‘knowledge clips’, 20-minute videos.  Students watched the clips even after the lessons.”

Ms Martine stresses how important it was to allow most practise lessons and internships to go head. “Otherwise we would have encountered greater problems” she adds noting that psychosomatic issues among students have risen. 

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