Wits University students receive their first semester results close to the start of the second semester. As a result, many complain that they go through unnecessary stress over their holidays waiting for marks to be released. The university says the long procedure is to the benefit of the students.

09_HomelessWits University prides itself in its complicated and lengthy marking procedure, but students complain about the long wait to receive marks.

First-year architecture student Siphokazi William, who received the majority of her marks last Friday, said it is stressful to wait so long for results. “I want to know if I passed and move on.”

William and her fellow classmates only received their mathematics marks on Tuesday,  July 21, a day after the start of the new semester. The posting of the results on a noticeboard went more than 10 days beyond the requirement of the university’s Senate Standing Order.

One of the reasons the marking process is so long is due to the external marking process used by Wits, according to the Dean of Humanities, Professor Ruksana Osman.

She explained that “50% of all course work of undergraduates and postgraduates must be externally marked”, in order to focus on students at risk sooner than later.

Another issue delaying results is the new system of online access to marks.

With the use of two systems to submit the results online, “interfacing” takes a lot of time, according to Head of Academic Information and Systems Unit, Maggie Maseka. “We had a few glitches here and there we picked-up and will fix, but 96% of students didn’t have a problem getting their marks.”

Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Crouch, said there were two faculties that asked for an extension delaying the release of marks. In one case there was a lecturer who did not submit their marks on time and who currently faces disciplinary action.

Generally the university staff believes there has been a great improvement to the marks system in the past couple of years.

“We have a fairly complex procedure to follow, but it is to the benefit of the students,” said Crouch.