No More 3-Hour Exams?

Posted in Teaching on June 25th, 2021 by steve

“Traditional three-hour university exams may soon be a thing of the past as leading British institutions eye a switch to online and more ‘authentic’ forms of assessment post-pandemic. The University of Cambridge said that over the next academic year it would ‘draw on the lessons learned’ from the COVID-19 pandemic and respond ‘to the desire of many faculties and departments to move away from the traditional three-hour written examination format as the primary means of assessment for such programs’ …” (more)

[Anna McKie, Inside Higher Ed, 25 June]

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Covid-19 Assessment Guidelines Pulled, No Prospects for Renewal

Posted in Teaching on November 6th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“UCDSU President Conor Anderson took to the ‘UCD No Detriment Policy’ Facebook group on October 30th to update the students that the Covid-19 Assessment Guidelines were no longer in place. Anderson explained the reasoning: ‘UCD believes you all have been prepared for an online semester, and so do not need any special accommodations’ …” (more)

[Rosie Kuntz, College Tribune, 5 November]

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Universities should learn from assessment methods used during the pandemic – and cut down on exams for good

Posted in Teaching on August 12th, 2020 by steve

International“Timed written examinations continue to dominate university assessment. In most professions, the need to recall and write down specific information from memory under timed conditions is rare. Yet every year across the world students are crammed into exam halls to do just that …” (more)

[Naomi Winstone and David Boud, The Conversation, 11 August]

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Marking Time

Posted in Teaching on June 12th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“In among all the other things I have to do I’ve just finished marking my portion of examinations and other assessments in time for next week’s Examination Boards. I have to attend two (virtually), one for Theoretical Physics and one for Engineering Mathematics. You may recall that, this year, along with many other universities, we switched from the usual examination format to online timed assessments …” (more)

[In the Dark, 12 June]

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Stricter plagiarism standards for online exams circulated to staff after end of assessment period

Posted in Teaching on June 9th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A College memo advising staff on standards for plagiarism in open-book examinations, when compared to traditional live examinations, was circulated to academic staff only after the end of the assessment period, Trinity News has learned. The memo, which offers guidelines on marking exams that took place remotely due to College’s closure amid the Covid-19 pandemic, was not circulated to students …” (more)

[Lauren Boland, Trinity News, 9 June]

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Brain dumps and assessment

Posted in Teaching on June 1st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I wrote two posts yesterday and they amounted to about 2200 words. They took me about 80-90 minutes to write but it was an intense time. I checked my blood pressure afterwards because I felt a bit off and sure enough my blood pressure was in the red zone. Writing is an intense process, at least for me it is …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 1 June]


On Grading, Appeals and the Class of 2020 (again)

Posted in Teaching on May 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“If there’s one thing that Irish Higher Education might be good for right now, it’s sharing ideas with our colleagues at second level on how best to take care of the rising Class of 2020. I have already written four posts aimed at that class and their families …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 22 May]

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Nearly Time for Timed Assessments

Posted in Teaching on May 15th, 2020 by steve

“Friday 15th May is the first day of the summer examination period at Maynooth University. I’ve written posts at the start of every examination period I’ve been involved with over the 11 years or so I’ve been blogging but this is definitely the strangest …” (more)

[In the Dark, 14 May]

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Assignments replacing exams

Posted in Teaching on April 29th, 2020 by steve

“So far, I’m not a big fan of the situation that Covid-19 has forced us all into replacing end of semester exams with assignments/projects. Exams designed to assess learning outcomes are not being used, and it has not been easy coming up with replacements in the form of an assignment to to the same thing …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 29 April]

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College Moves Four Exams Beyond Designated Exam Period Amid Technical Fears

Posted in Teaching on April 24th, 2020 by steve

“Trinity has made last-minute changes to the scheduling of four real-time exams, meaning students in some modules will sit their exams outside of the designated exam period and in a contingency week previously set aside for the return of assignments …” (more)

[Donal MacNamee and Cormac Watson, University Times, 23 April]

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Students Will Be Asked to Sign ‘Honour Declaration’ Ahead of Summer Exams

Posted in Teaching on April 21st, 2020 by steve

“Trinity students will be asked to sign an ‘honour declaration’ promising to submit their own original work in this year’s summer assessments, which start next Monday. In an email to students today, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell wrote that …” (more)

[Orla Murnaghan, University Times, 21 April]

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‘My entire degree is going down the drain’, Students Speak Out On Virtual College

Posted in Life, Teaching on April 21st, 2020 by steve

“‘I am an agricultural student in final year, most of my final year grades are attributed to large projects and assignments, so resitting exams wouldn’t cut it. I’ve had to shoulder the lambing and calving on the farm alone, as my father has lung issues and is cocooning, and the single employee to help him is a transplant recipient, so is on immunosuppressants and is too high risk to continue working here … ‘” (more)

[Savannah Murray, College Tribune, 20 April]

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Ceist na scrúduithe ar líne fós míshocair i measc mic léinn

Posted in Teaching on April 21st, 2020 by steve

“Is tréimhse iontach dúshlánach é do mhic léinn agus léachtóirí araon san Ollscoil, toisc gur fadhb í seo nach raibh aon choinne againn léi. Ba chor gurb í an tseachtain seo caite an tseachtain múineadh deireanaí do chuid mhór na mac léinn Ollscoile in Éirinn ach mar gheall ar an ngalar cuireadh na modúil ar fad ar líne …” (more)

[Conor Brummell, Irish Times, 20 April]

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Predicting exam grades for Northern Ireland students is like playing God, says teacher

Posted in Teaching on April 20th, 2020 by steve

“Teachers have said being asked to predict their students’ grades is ‘fundamentally unfair’. Two local teachers were among those expressing concern after Stormont Education Minister Peter Weir announced that Covid-19 restrictions mean GCSE, AS and A-level tests will be replaced by a ‘calculated grade’ that takes into account homework and mock exams …” (more)

[Jessica Black and Allan Preston, Belfast Telegraph, 20 April]

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Trinity Has Made Exam Blunders Before, But This Year’s Are Especially Damning

Posted in Teaching on April 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Students are currently preparing for an unprecedented exam period, with the traditional RDS setup upended and online and take-home assessments ushered in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But in Trinity, it seems that the more things change, the more things stay dispiritingly the same …” (more)

[University Times, 19 April]

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UCD Announces Sweeping Academic Supports

Posted in Teaching on April 18th, 2020 by steve

“University College Dublin (UCD) has announced today a range of new academic supports designed to take into account students’ precarious situations amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. The new academic regulations will affect assessments since March 23rd and remain in place until the end of the trimester …” (more)

[Conor Capplis, College Tribune, 17 April]

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Students Slam College Over Exam Timetabling Errors, Assessment Pile-Ups

Posted in Teaching on April 18th, 2020 by steve

“Students have blasted the College amid widespread timetabling issues for this year’s summer exams, with many fretting due to assessment pile-ups and others reporting scheduling mistakes ahead of an unprecedented exam period …” (more)

[Donal MacNamee and Emer Moreau, University Times, 17 April]

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Survey: Students Seek Academic Relief as Struggle With Virtual College Continues

Posted in Research on April 17th, 2020 by steve

“We surveyed a group of UCD students pursuing mainly undergraduate degrees at the university. In recent weeks, there has been growing demand from students for the implementation of a No-Detriment policy in universities. Online petitions have gained well over 10,000 signatures nationwide …” (more)

[Conor Capplis, College Tribune, 16 April]

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USI says one size does not fit all when it comes to assessment during lockdown

Posted in Teaching on April 15th, 2020 by steve

“The USI (Union of Students in Ireland) have called for cooperation between universities and students’ unions to ensure no students are negatively impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic, many students are working from home. According to the USI, this has left students in difficult situations, with students not being able to access the internet or devices like laptops to do coursework …” (more)

[Tadgh McNally, The College View, 15 April]

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DCU’s lack of clarity over how final year exams will take place is worrying

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“With a nationwide lock-down resulting in the closure of schools, libraries and co-working spaces, where do DCU expect students to prepare for examinations? There has been a lot of uncertainty among students and lecturers alike regarding how DCU will hold this year’s summer examinations. For final year students especially, this has been a most stressful time in our entire university experience …” (more)

[Joy Nwagiriga, The College View, 14 April]

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