Update from Sam: answering your concerns about exams

Thursday 19-03-2020 - 10:38

Yesterday the University announced that the style of assessment during the exam period is going to change. 

I know that this might have come as a shock to some of you, and as your SU we want to ensure that you understand what these announcements might mean, and tackle some of the key concerns that you might have. We consulted your welfare reps to find out some of the most common questions that were raised by the news.

In person exams will no longer take place in Durham. Instead, exams will take place as online assessments that you will have access to for 48 hours. The assessments may be similar to the ones that you would have sat in person, or they may be changed slightly to better fit the new style of assessment. We will be working with the University to make these changes clearer. 

The assessments will be available on DUO when they are released, and you will have 48 hours to complete them. The University is clear that although you will have the paper for 48 hours, you should not spend all 48 hours doing the assignment! Like it says in the email, these assessments should take around two to three hours to complete. Your completed assessment will be submitted via DUO. 

The dates of exams have now also changed, so if your exam was supposed to be on Monday 11 May, that date will now be the deadline for your assessment. This means that the assessment will go live on duo 48 hours before then. If your module was not supposed to be assessed by an exam, your department should let you know what new arrangements are being made as soon as possible. You should know by no later than 20th April. They will be getting in touch to provide information about how the module will be assessed and the deadline for you to complete it by.

The time the assessment goes live and the deadline time will both be in GMT, regardless of where you are when you sit the assessment. The assessment link will be open for 48 hours, so that no one will be advantaged or disadvantaged because they are in a different time zone. You may need to keep an eye on what time it is in the UK, so that you know when your exam will be released.

As your SU, we will be working with faculty and course reps to ensure that changes in assessment on a departmental and module level are effectively communicated and confusion minimised. We are also clear in our belief that no student should be placed at a disadvantage due to their home environment, or access to decent internet or computer resources, and will be working to ensure everyone is able to fully participate in their coming assessments. If this is something you are worried about, the University are producing guidelines on how to deal with this. They should be coming out soon via email. You can also contact your course rep, who will be able to feedback your concerns directly to your department. If you would normally have any special arrangements put in place for your exams, for example extra time or a scribe, please contact disability support who will be able to help you to work out what you need for these assessments.

If you have any concerns, or are feeling generally worried about the situation, you can contact the SU advice service, where an adviser will speak to you impartially and confidentially about your situation.


*Please note: the Advice Service helpline is not a crisis number, in an emergency please use 999 as usual.




Covid-19, Sam - UG Academic Officer

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