Professor reported for grading son’s exam twice

A professor at Lund University has been reported to the Disciplinary Board after she graded her son’s exam paper and gave him a pass, one month after she was caught doing it the first time.

Professor reported for grading son's exam twice

The woman had already been reported to the National Disciplinary Offences Board (Statens Ansvarsnämnd) in September for grading her son’s paper and registering the results, and she was given an official warning.

However, in October the woman did the same again, and was duly caught by the authorities.

In the report, it is explained that the professor claimed to understand that she should not be marking her son’s paper and giving it a grade, yet did so anyway.

However, it was brought to the authority’s attention the second time around when the mother gave a set of exam papers to a colleague to “double check”. Included in the nine papers was the professor’s son’s paper, already marked.

“I’ve never heard of this kind of double check,” said Kristine Widlund, a lawyer of the university’s human resources department, to the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

“When the colleague was given the exam paper to check, the professor had already gone through it.”

The professor now risks a pay cut, which Widlund stresses is “more serious than a warning”.

Regardless of how the Board assesses the situation, the university spokesmen are making it clear that such behavior is unacceptable at Lund University.

“Now it’s a repeat. It’s very difficult to understand. You could understand that the first time may have been just carelessness or a mistake but it’s hard to imagine when it is repeated,” said university vice-chancellor Per Eriksson to Sydsvenskan.

“I don’t want to believe that it was a conscious decision, but this is not acceptable.”

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Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year

It is looking increasingly unlikely that 'högskoleprovet' – an exam used by thousands of students every year as a way to enter Swedish university will go ahead – despite a government U-turn.

Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year
In a normal year, 100,000 students sit what is known as the SweSAT or 'högskoleprovet'. Photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/SCANPIX

The Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT, or högskoleprovet) is normally held twice a year, but was cancelled in spring and then later in autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic. But after pressure from opposition parties, the government last week said it would pave the way for the test to take place on its usual date in October in a limited format, open only to people who had not previously sat it.

Usually around 100,000 people sit the exam each year, around 40 percent of them doing so for the first time. The exam is not compulsory, but many people use its results to get into university, and it is seen as a crucial second chance for those who are not able to get accepted based on grades alone.

But any hope lit by the government's announcement last week was quickly extinguished this week, when university principals said it would still not be possible to organise a coronavirus-safe sitting. In the end it is up to the exam organisers to decide whether or not to hold it, so the government holds limited sway.

“They [the university principals] do not want to take responsibility for conducting the exam during the autumn, but would rather spend time and resources on conducting two tests as safely as possible in spring,” Karin Röding, director-general of the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), told the TT news agency on Tuesday.

“I have no reason to have another opinion,” she added.

“It appears to be the case that you are going to have to wait another few months before an exam can be carried out in an infection-safe way,” confirmed Sweden's Minister of Higher Education, Matilda Ernkrans.

Meanwhile the political pressure eased on the Social Democrat-Green coalition government to ensure the test could be held before the deadline for applying to the spring semester of university, when the Liberal party joined the centre-left in voting no to pushing for an autumn sitting. Last week there was a majority for a yes vote on the Swedish parliament's education committee, consisting of right-wing parties Moderates, Christian Democrats, Sweden Democrats and the Liberals, but after the latter switched sides the committee voted no.

The Mdoerates blamed the government for not acting sooner to help the exam go ahead, by for example allocating more money and investigating the possibility of using more venues.

“There is one person who is to blame. That's Matilda Ernkrans,” said the party's education spokesperson Kristina Axén Olin. “The government has handled it really poorly and now it is thought to be too late and impossible.”

Ernkrans argued that she and the government had done everything they could, including making sure that test results from previous years will be valid for eight years rather than the usual five, as well as allocating extra funding to make it possible to hold more than one exam next spring.

Swedish vocabulary

cancel – ställa in

test/exam – (ett) prov

second chance – (en) andra chans

government – (en) regering

semester – (en) termin (note the false friend – the Swedish word semester means holiday)