World-renowned Oxford University added 15 minutes to math and computer science exam times last summer to give women a chance at higher grades, the Telegraph reported.
Oxford officials ruled that “female candidates might be more likely to be adversely affected by time pressure,” the paper reported, adding that the number of questions and difficulty of questions were unchanged.
The Telegraph said the move was a first.
Historically, the percentage of male students awarded first-class degrees was double the percentage of women, the paper reported, and the board of examiners last year suggested the department make changes to improve women’s grades.
But the Telegraph said male students continue to receive more first-class degrees than female students in math and computer science despite the exam time increase.
What did the college have to say?
A university spokesman told the paper the changes are “academically demanding and fair” and that even though 39 percent of female math students got first-class degrees compared to 47 percent of male students, the women’s scores had improved.
What did a female computer science student have to say?
“I am uneasy about schemes to favor one gender over another,” Antonia Siu, undergraduate representative of Oxford Women in Computer Science, told the Telegraph. “But I am happy when people see gaps between groups of people who should not reasonably have such gaps — such as between genders, races or class[es] — and take that as a starting point to think about the kinds of people they unintentionally are leaving behind.”