Scientists come First in Finals

first_img39% of MPLS students received a first class degree, in comparison to 26% of Humanities students, 25% of Medical Sciences students, and 23% of Social Sciences students.However, MPLS subjects also topped the tables for 3rd class honours. Only 3 students of 28 receiving 3rds were from non-MPLS subjects, and there were none from Social Sciences. A spokesperson for Oxford University commented, “The distribution of firsts appears to have varied by subject groups for a long time and the same sort of distribution appears to occur in other Russell Group universities. Each division reviews the figures across its group of subjects and the Education Committee looks at the figures across the board.“Research [into the gender gap] has been carried out for over 10 years and has failed to reveal any significant factor that influences examination results…Marking of examination papers has been carried out anonymously for many years.”Disproven Hypotheses for the cause of the gender gap include such theories as natural differences in intelligence and mathematical ability as well as the effect of PMS. These have been researched by Oxford.Suggested “Unproven Hypotheses” include teaching styles, examination anxiety and perfectionism.Louise Privett, an Engineering undergraduate, agreed that the gender gap may be caused by teaching style, “Oxford’s pretty much all taught in lectures and tutes, maybe girls learn better in school style classes – it’s well-known girls do better at school.”Ellie Kaminski, a first-year biologist, on the other hand, claimed that boys simply work harder, “Boys are more nerdy in general. They spend more time studying and less time washing their greasy nerd hair.”Only 8% of black students gained first class honours last year, with every other ethnic group gaining 25% or over, according to newly released statistics. This is reinforced by previous year’s statistics, where the split in different classes of degrees were first publicly recorded for different ethnicities, as black students again underperformed, gaining between 4% and 16% firsts (variability having been added for data protection purposes), in comparison with 29% of white students. Undergraduates who study maths-based subjects are more likely to achieve Firsts than students on arts or social sciences courses, according to the University’s newly released Finals statistics.The data also confirms the existence of a continuing gender gap, with men consistently out-performing women in finals.Males remain more likely to get Firsts than females, gaining almost 200 more last year, with 34% of men getting top honours at finals compared with 23% of women last year.The percentage of women gaining Firsts has remained at 23% for the last 4 years, while the percentage of men rose 3% from 31% the previous year. One explanation offered for the continuing gender gap is that men are more drawn to maths-based subjects.Mathematics & Computer Science students were the most successful last year, with 9 of 11, (82%), gaining Firsts. Of the more widely read subjects, Mathematics and Physics, when taken to Masters, were the most successful, with 51% of 94 students and 49% of 89 students gaining Firsts respectively. Males outnumbered females in all of these subjects. David Ferris, a first-year physicist, denied that the higher percentage of Firsts meant Maths and Physics were any easier, “I doubt they’re particularly easy compared to other subjects. Maths and Physics are the sort of subject that people don’t just choose in order to get a degree, they do it specifically because they want to do the subject, which usually means they’re pretty good at it.”Jurisprudence and Economics & Management students struggled most, out of the popular subjects, to gain the top class, with 17% of each gaining Firsts. The most difficult subjects to gain a First in were Archaeology & Anthropology, Classical Archaeology & Ancient History, and PPP, where the percentages of Firsts barely passed 10%.More generally, students reading in Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) gained over 10% more firsts last year than those reading Humanities, Medical Sciences, or Social Sciences.last_img read more