Exam Time

Posted in Teaching on January 12th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Back in Maynooth into the January examination period, I await the arrival tomorrow of the first batch of examination scripts I have to mark, I thought I’d do a quick post on the topic of examinations. First, for readers elsewhere, full-time undergraduate students at Maynooth what is called 60 ‘credits’ in a year, usually split into two semesters of thirty credits each. This is usually split into 5-credit modules with an examination in each module at the end of each semester …” (more)

[In the Dark, 12 January]

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The effects of exam scheduling on academic performance

Posted in Teaching on January 11th, 2020 by steve

International“Exam scheduling may contribute to performance gaps between subjects, between males and females, as well as between students with differing performance histories. Using lottery-generated variation in exam timing at a Greek public high school, this column identifies three distinct channels through which exam scheduling can influence test performance. The simulation experiments show that the higher the number of exams taken, the higher the potential benefit from optimising exams scheduling …” (more)

[Sofoklis Goulas and Rigissa Megalokonomou, vox, 11 January]


10% of Irish students feel physically sick at thought of exams – European report shows

Posted in Research on December 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Irish students remain among the best readers in the developed world, an assessment of almost 600,000 students has found. However, ‘a challenge remains’ in supporting students to achieve the highest scores in maths and science, with relative improvements to be made in both subjects …” (more)

[Jess Casey, Irish Examiner, 3 December]

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‘Ban all watches from exams to stop cheating’

Posted in Teaching on September 10th, 2019 by steve

“All watches should be banned from exam halls to discourage cheating, says an inquiry into the extent of malpractice in exams taken by pupils across the UK. Smart watches, connected to the internet, are already banned from use by students taking public exams …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 10 September]

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Repeat Message …

Posted in Teaching on August 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Back in Ireland and straight away it’s the repeat examination period at Maynooth University, which started yesterday. My first one was yesterday, actually, for just one student, and I’ve been virtuous and marked the script already …” (more)

[In the Dark, 9 August]

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Surge in university students wearing banned smartwatches in exams

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on August 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Universities have recorded a sharp increase in the number of students wearing banned smartwatches in exam halls. Most third-level institutions prohibit the use of Fitbits, Apple Watches and other devices which allow users to upload and access documents …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 8 August]

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Concern as students at University of Limerick get ‘wrong’ results

Posted in Teaching on June 24th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A University of Limerick student who has fallen victim to a results mix-up is at fears that he may not graduate if the issue is not rectified. University of Limerick has informed the Limerick Leader that since 75,000 grades were released on Monday, June 17, 13 grade change requests from academic departments have been made – totalling 0.02% of grades given …” (more)

[Rebecca Laffan, Limerick Leader, 23 June]

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The Leaving Cert might not be perfect but it is fairer than many other systems

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on May 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“June heralds not only the beginning of the Leaving Certificate but also the annual debate about whether the high stake exams are still fit for purpose. The typical complaints are that the Leaving Certificate causes too much stress and that it fails to develop critical thinking among students …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 31 May]

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Dundalk IT students told to resit test after exam ‘compromised’

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on May 23rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Final-year agriculture students in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) have been told they all must retake an exam, after a test sat last week was ‘compromised’ due to students gaining access to the exam questions beforehand. About 20 students taking a class on farm management sat their end-of-year exam on May 14th. On Monday the college became aware a number of students had gained sight of the exam questions prior to the test …” (more)

[Jack Power, Irish Times, 23 May]

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IT Carlow students resit exam after marking scheme mistakenly attached to original exam paper

Posted in Teaching on May 15th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Second-year students in IT Carlow had to resit an exam on Tuesday after it emerged that the marking scheme for the original exam paper had been mistakenly attached to papers distributed to exam students …” (more)

[Conor Heneghan, Joe.ie, 15 May]

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Marking the End of Term

Posted in Life on May 11th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“So here we are, then. The term is finally over. Lectures officially finished yesterday, and there’s now another week or so before examinations start (next Friday, 17th May). The examinations for my two modules take place on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd May, and after that I’ll be busy with marking for a while …” (more)

[In the Dark, 11 May]

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Universities extend closing times to early hours of morning to cope with demand

Posted in Life on May 6th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Universities are increasingly extending their main library closing times into the early hours of the morning to cope with a surge in demand for late-night study. Colleges say they are responding to demand for extra study time in the run-up to the exams, while trying to balance this with student welfare …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 6 May]

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‘Students are under so much pressure – they’re like zombies’

Posted in Life, Teaching on May 6th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“It’s midnight outside UCD’s James Joyce library and hundreds of bleary-eyed students are trailing out the main door. Some have been here since first thing in the morning in order to grab a coveted seat with a socket to plug in their laptops …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 6 May]

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College Must Learn From This Year’s Exam Chaos

Posted in Teaching on May 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“After the stressful and chaotic first-ever set of College-wide Christmas exams, Trinity students could have hoped for a smoother exam period this term. Yet even those paying little attention would have known that this exam season has sent students into a frenzy, leaving them grappling with both a new exam system and a College seemingly unable to co-ordinate it …” (more)

[University Times, 30 April]

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‘Frenzy’ Outside Library, As Reduced Opening Hours Leave Students Battling for Seats

Posted in Life on April 20th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Students have blasted the College after the library’s opening hours were cut over the Easter weekend, with a crowd of more than a hundred left waiting outside this morning ahead of the start of exam season next Tuesday …” (more)

[Eleanor O’Mahony and Donal MacNamee, University Times, 19 April]

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Maynooth apologise for tweet sent to student

Posted in Governance and administration on March 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Maynooth University’s Department of Law has apologised to a student following a reply they received on Twitter. The response a student was given when they asked about the exam timetable has received criticism online …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 31 March]

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Feedback as part of Learning

Posted in Teaching on February 21st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“I am not often asked by students to give feedback on an exam paper – just a handful over the past few years. Almost always in my experience, when a student requests a feedback session they want to know ‘where did I lose marks’. Students also may feel that they should have got a higher mark – and want to question their grade …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 21 February]

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The Pressure Is Not Worth It: Exam Stress And The Effects On The Body

Posted in Life on February 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“It is fashionable to be under pressure and to be working late and hard. This is often the status quo in the corporate world and work life. It is seen as a feat if you are doing everything until you are worn-out and exhausted and the implications of this on the individual are not taken into account …” (more)

[Cecily Nic Cionnaith, College Tribune, 9 February]

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Minister for Education to argue against right of access to higher education

Posted in Legal issues on February 6th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Joe McHugh is set to argue that no individual has a right of access to higher education in an upcoming court appeal. The appeal is being made against a ruling carried out last September …” (more)

[Sarah Moran, Trinity News, 6 February]

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Reflections on the Examination Period

Posted in Teaching on January 10th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Tomorrow (11th January) is the start of our mid-year examination period here at Maynooth University. It’s therefore a good opportunity to send a hearty ‘good luck’ message to all students about to take examinations …” (more)

[In the Dark, 10 January]

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