IT is not feasible to simply transfer traditional examinations into an online model, according to a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) statement, which also outlined the likelihood of students seeing greater use of online examinations into the future.
The statement was issued to the Waterford News & Star in response to Former WIT Students’ Union President and Labour Party Representative, Michael Murphy’s call for the Institute to rethink their method of assessment for the autumn repeats.
According to the WIT statement, “The decision was made to give students facing repeat exams the best opportunity to pass the module by mirroring the exam structure they originally sat in semester 1 and providing them with the same examination as they prepared for in their semester 1 study. Similarly, the semester 2 repeat examinations follow the same structure as the student prepared for in semester 2.”
The Institute advised that there is a fundamental difference between traditional written examinations and online assessment. “The two differ in the expectations of what the learner should be producing, they may require different question structures and different marking schemes. The transition of traditional examinations into online assessment may also require different preparation for the student.”
Exam sessions increased
WIT reassured that students’ repeat exams on campus will take place in an environment compliant with national health and safety guidelines.
“To achieve this, the number of exam sessions has been increased, and exams are taking an extra week to enable WIT to have small numbers in each exam hall. Each examination centre is limited to circa 40 students and there will be a number of exam centres across two of WIT’s campuses.
“We are scheduling small numbers in each exam setting with stringent 2m social distancing between candidates and reinforcing national guidelines on respiratory and hand hygiene.”
All national health protocols will be followed and WIT advised that students should check their student email for a communication on the overarching principles for the safe conduct of examinations. “Closer to the exams further instructions may be issued in line with public health guidelines.”
Additionally, the Institute would like to clarify that, “it has advised all students scheduled for repeat semester 1 examinations that where the student is unable to attend they will be accommodated through an appropriate mitigation that will ensure students are not unduly impacted.
“The Academic Council will meet to decide what actions will be implemented in that regard in September. The on-campus exams are an opportunity for those who wish to take an assessment in the format and structure for which they have been prepared. The Academic Council will apply appropriate mitigation to students who cannot avail of this opportunity and it is our intention that all students will be given the best opportunities to progress in their career without hindrance.”