I'm experiencing a practice at my university where the overall number of students who would pass the exam is adjusted based on how many students passed the first exam, so the retake exam contains questions which are beyond the lectures if previously the percentage of students who passed the exam is very high. Another question is that in first exam questions are repated from the previous years. The student might be absent in the first exam due to the illness, etc, so I consider it as discriminative practice and I need some ethics based formulations, codes, laws etc. that will help me to prove this discrimination. Thanks.

  • 3
    I'm not sure I understand. You're saying that when students miss an exam because of illness, the retake exam they are given is one that is intentionally designed to be more difficult? Commented May 29, 2015 at 19:43
  • 1
    Yes, when the student lodge an objection the argument is that it ivery high the percentage of the student who passed the exam, but this is in the first exam not the retake, so overall they consider the percentage of both although in the retake practically nobody passed, The main motive is that having more than 90 percentage of the students that would pass the exam is in contradiction of the characteristics of the subject considered as difficult and therefore more respected by the other professors.
    – mak_ec
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 19:46
  • 3
    Not everything that isn't fair is also "discrimination". According to Wikipedia, discrimination is when students are disadvantaged due to being in a specific "group, class, or category", where groups, classes, or categories are individual traits of the student (gender, nationality, religion, etc.). Arguably, "students that take the retake exam" doesn't qualify as an individual trait.
    – xLeitix
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 7:27
  • I would also suggest you to make clearer what exactly you are looking for. At least I don't really understand your last sentence "I need some ethics based formulations, codes, laws etc. that will help me to prove this discrimination".
    – xLeitix
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 7:30
  • 1
    Related: Are identical make-up exams fair?
    – 299792458
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


I'm afraid that quoting external regulations and grading guidelines here won't do you any good. The question is what are your university's internal grading policies. Do they have a recommended grade distribution? Are there rules governing repeat examinations for students who had to miss the first one? Are there policies on what is allowed to be covered on such examinations?

Whether good or bad (and it's a bit of both), grading standards differ between institutions, and even within different departments at the same school, and sometimes even course to course. That means you can't rely on what others do to help, and you can't really claim "discrimination" here, either. Such policies are clearly unfair and unethical—it's not right to force a fixed percentage of students to fail, regardless of their actual performance. However, unless your university's regulations specifically forbid such behavior, there's not much you can do to fix this.

  • I can imagine one scenario in which this might conceivably be discriminatory -- if a student misses the first exam due to a disability (e.g. chronic migraines), is not permitted to make up the first exam, and is assigned a grade based on poor performance in the killer second exam. I admit this is quite a long shot interpretation of the question, though. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 4:51

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .