8th December 2010 1:38 pm
Monday night I wrote a letter to Steve Olivier, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development) expressing our concerns regarding examinations after the University's statement was released. We've had numerous meetings since Monday morning, and Professor Olivier has now finalised his response to our requests. I am attaching his reply below - unchanged. All students and lecturers will receive an edited (shorter) version of this message from the University today.
Let me just say that we were pushing Heads of School af far as possible regarding your concerns, even though they were having none of certain points of our requests, but we've made a significant step towards a fairer treatment for all of you. Now just keep your heads down and study as hard as you can to perform well next week!
With regard to the mail below, and our meetings with Heads of School and the ADUCU President, please note the following:
The University understands the concerns that students have about preparation time, revision, missed work, and the potential impact on exams. As you know, we have put several measures in place to ensure that students are not disadvantaged, and that minimal disruption takes place. With your support, we decided that exams should go ahead as scheduled, not least because to do otherwise would cause significant disruption to both local and international students in a variety of ways. I have:
As a result of your concerns, I would like to clarify the advice re: mitigating circumstances to read as follows: If the poor weather conditions and/or travel disruption have adversely affected students' preparation or exam attendance, they should contact their school office for advice on the process of applying for mitigating circumstances. Further information on mitigating circumstances is available at https://portal.abertay.ac.uk/portal/page/portal/abertayknowledge/teachinglearningandassessment/assessment/Mitigating-Circumstances-Policy-and-Procedures-V1-2.pdf
You mentioned that there have been suggestions that some lecturers are scheduling extra classes to help students with exam preparation to catch up the material missed. I think that is is quite reasonable if it doesn't clash with other activities, as to meet learning outcomes we need to cover the material - unfortunately the weather meant that things don't always go according to plan, and we have to do our best to adjust and ensure that students receive the education that they expected, including proper coverage of the material. I will however copy this e-mail to Heads and ask them to check that the additional time doesn't unnecessarily impact on students.
When we met you mentioned that this week should be given over to revision, not the teaching of new material. As you know, this is explicitly designated as a teaching week, so while in some instances revision might take place, it is entirely legitimate to present some teaching material that might be new. This of course relates to the query about only including material in exams that was taught before week 10. It is also, I think, covered by point 1 above
Exceptional circumstances are bound to affect some people more than others. I believe that in deciding on the course of action that we have, we have worked to ensure that we maintain the standards and integrity of the education that we provide, and that we do so in a manner that is as fair as possible.
I'm happy for the substance or text of this to be posted on your website. We will similarly communicate the content to staff and students by various appropriate modes.
Professor Steve Olivier
Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic Development)
University of Abertay Dundee
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