In January 2023, allegations were rife within the University community that the grades of some students have been altered/tampered with in the student portal. In response to these alarming developments, access right to the portal was denied to the principal suspect with immediate effect and a Fact-Finding Investigative Panel was constituted on 30th January, 2023.
On 31st January, 2023, a Memorandum captioned ‘Strengthening the Student Portal’ was circulated within the UTG Community outlining the revised procedures and processes for the student portal, as mitigating actions designed to enhance data security and grade integrity as follows:
- Only Registry personnel shall enter/edit/delete grades before the Senate’s ratification of the results.
- STAFF are not allowed to edit grades that the Senate has approved under any circumstances. If a grade has to be amended, cogent reasons must be presented, before it is then subjected to the review, approval and ratification process following the above procedure, and finally edited ONLY by the Transcript Office from the Registrar’s office.
- Heads of Departments (HoDs)/Deans and other user departments will only have access to view and approve grade reports, but not edit/delete.
- Faculty Officers/lecturers can only prepare and/or make recommendations for course grades under their School/Faculty to be edited and no other School/Faculty grades. This applies to all programmes, including postgraduate programmes.
- The Deputy Registrar, School of Graduate Studies and Research, shall be responsible for ALL graduate studies’ grades.
The principal suspect was invited to appear before the Panel on 8th February, 2023, to respond to allegations levelled against him. The Panel sat several times and interviewed other staff and students as witnesses.
As a matter of procedure, the Report of the Fact-Finding Panel shall be presented to the standing Disciplinary Committee for consideration and recommendations which will be submitted to The Governing Council for action.
At the Senate Meeting held on 17th February, 2023, to consider the grades and results of over 1300 graduands, the Senate considered the names of ten (10) students – seven (7) females and three (3) males, purportedly affected by the grade altering/tampering saga and subsequently expunged the names of eight (8) of the students under consideration, from the graduation list, pending the outcome of the investigation of the case on grade tampering. The other two students affected were not eligible for graduation.
At the special Governing Council Meeting held on 23rd February, 2023, to consider and ratify the list of graduands for the 15th Convocation Ceremony, Management reported to Council the decision of the Senate to expunge the names of eight (8) out of the ten (10) students affected from the graduation list. The Governing Council, without equivocation, ratified the decision of the Senate.
The University moved away from a manual grading system to the automated portal in 2017. Significant investment has been made in the incremental improvement over the years.The university portal has already been enabled to detect any change/alteration in grades with a clear audit trail and a detailed log but it has become necessary to further strengthen the student portal. The university immediately started the process of building in an automatic alert system to notify designated staff including the lecturer concerned as soon as a grade is altered. The work is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.
To strengthen the accountability chain in the administration of students’ grades, the following measures are also being put in place to ensure greater control in the preparation, reviewing and endorsement and approval of grades/results.
- Only personnel from the Registry shall enter the grades in the portal
- The Lecturer preparing the end-of-course grades must check and sign the result sheets in hard copies.
- The Heads of Departments (HoD) or Deans shall upon being satisfied with the results sheet must sign the reviewed end-of-course grades.
- The approved end-of-course grades must then be submitted to the School/Faculty Examination Board for additional scrutiny and endorsement before submission to Senate. School Examination Boards will be chaired by a Senior Academic outside the School assisted by a Deputy Chair (also from another School) as part of a peer review mechanism to strengthen internal controls and accountability.
- After consideration of the results by the Senate, the Chairperson of the Senate or his delegate shall approve and sign the report
The integrity of university grading system is critical for the fair assessment of student performance, and in safeguarding UTG’s reputation. Therefore, it is highly imperative to review our systems from time to time to ensure stringent checks and balances are in place to guarantee fairness, transparency, and accountability in the assessment of students’ performance. Whilst the university will continue to ensure that the grading system is strengthened including the development of a ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy on Grades Alteration without following established protocols, staff and students are reminded of their obligations to abide by university regulations at all times.