Mar 25, 2020

Students to Get Details of Exam Arrangements by End of Next Week

College Board today approved changes to this year's assessments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cormac Watson and Donal MacNamee

Students should get confirmation on what shape this year’s exams will take by the end of next week, Trinity said today.

Trinity’s College Board today approved proposed changes to the structure of this year’s exams – previously revealed by The University Times – that could see students sitting final assessments instead of exams or real-time online exams.

In an email sent to all students, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell said that College would be implementing a number of different mechanisms to replace in-person exams, including replacing exams with final assignments, open-book exams to be completed “over a defined period of time” and “real-time online exams”.


Mitchell added that “deviation of assessment from that described in your handbooks will therefore not constitute or be entertained as grounds for appeal”.

“This is a complicated planning exercise”, he said, “involving over 950 modules and 11,000 students and will take a little time to finalise”.

“Note that Council has approved two additional contingency weeks (from the 2nd May to the 16th of May) beyond the current exam period (from the 27th April to the 1st of May) that may be used if we need them to accommodate the proposed online assessments.”

Earlier this month, The University Times reported that College was considering staging exams in August.

Internal documents presented to University Council, obtained by The University Times revealed proposals that could see the redesignation of some modules as pass/fail.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended the closure of Ireland’s colleges until April 19th at the earliest, extending a shutdown that’s been in place since March 12th.

Trinity caused uproar last week after it instructed students living in its accommodation to vacate, with less than 48 hours’ notice.

The Union of Students in Ireland today demanded that all students – including those living in privately owned student accommodation – be refunded if they opt to leave early as a result of the coronavirus.

In a press statement, USI Vice-President for Welfare Roisin O’Donovan said the body is “calling on these companies to show some compassion to students that are in very difficult circumstances”.

“Students are out of college, they’ve lost jobs, had to move home and are trying to keep up their study online and keep themselves healthy while supporting family and friends who are more vulnerable.”

Trinity has guaranteed students who have moved out of its accommodation that they will be compensated on a pro rata basis, and said it will “offer full support” to Trinity students pursuing refunds from Kavanagh Court and Binary Hub – privately owned accommodation complexes linked to the College.

It’s unclear if Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court will offer refunds to students who vacate early as a result of the pandemic.

Trinity’s decision to instruct students to leave their accommodation with days’ notice drew the ire of both Lorna Fitzpatrick, the president of the Union of Students of Ireland, and Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union President Laura Beston.

Sign Up to Our Weekly Newsletters

Get The University Times into your inbox twice a week.