Less than half of the architecture students at the University of Central England (UCE) have managed to pass their Part 1 examinations, despite receiving extra support with their resits.
An astonishing 93 per cent failed their exams back in July (AJ 15.7.04), but only a handful have been able to do any better second time round. Of the 35 remaining students from the 2001 intake, there are now 14 who have succeeded in securing their honours degree. At least one received a first.
However, staff at the university believe this small reversal indicates things are slowly beginning to change within the troubled department.
Phil Walkling, the UCE's pro-vice-chancellor, said: 'The summer results were a bloody disaster and we have absolutely done our best to put things right. Our view is that the resits were successful, although we do have a group of 21 that have still got work to do to catch up.
'But 40 per cent is a much healthier pass rate. One thing I am sure of is that these marks are all merited and that we have maintained our standards. We had a full set of external examiners and the board took seven hours checking the results were correct.
'The staff really worked hard with the students and a lot didn't have any summer holidays.
'We already have five applications to go directly into the second year. That's a fair bit more than usual - perhaps it is because they know we insist on high standards.' The reasons for this year's appalling results still remain a mystery but it is hoped the situation will become clearer after a report into the causes is published in the next few weeks.
'There's possibly still work to do and there are lessons to be learned for both the faculty and the university, ' Walkling added.
'I'm not sure the communications between students and tutors were always there. But once the spotlight is on these things, they will improve.'