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Trinity gives discretion to adjust marks of final-year students

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Exam chiefs at Trinity College Dublin have been given discretion to adjust the marks of final-year students who feel they did not perform as well as expected because of the Covid-19 crisis.

It is part of a "safety net" of measures announced by Trinity in response to difficulties facing students.

Trinity's Academic Council approved a series of changes to normal arrangements, including deferral options for students unable to complete final assessments, re-sits for some students and discretionary powers to boards of examiners for final-year students.

Arising from the enforced shut-down of colleges and social distancing requirements, Trinity, in common with the rest of the higher and further education sectors, has made comprehensive changes to its assessment regime.

Trinity's Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Prof Kevin Mitchell, said they also recognised the unprecedented levels of stress many students were under and devised measures to provide a safety net.

Meanwhile, at UCD a working group, which includes representatives from the UCD Students' Union, is developing guidance on how it will deal with the impact of Covid-19 on assessments.

Other colleges are also engaged in the same work.

Under the arrangements at Trinity, students who feel unable to attempt their assessments may apply for a deferral until a "reassessment session" at the end of the summer.

Such assessments will be treated as a first attempt and accommodations will be made to offer a second attempt, if necessary, prior to the start of the next academic year.

Students who attempt assessments but find they did not perform as expected may also apply for a deferral to the reassessment session.

Students in fourth and fifth year of integrated programmes, who pass a module, may also apply to re-sit to try to improve their results.

Another measure will allow progression for students who meet the overall pass mark for the year, but fail a module in a second semester assessment.

Boards of examiners are being given discretionary powers in cases where final-year students pass, but felt unable to achieve the kind of result they would have hoped for under normal conditions.

"Trinity will instruct boards of examiners to consider a student's overall profile of marks. Where significantly lower grades are attained on modules in the final assessments, they are asked to adjust a student's overall mark in a manner they deem justified," the college stated.

Prof Mitchell said boards already had certain powers in this area, but they could apply "more discretion than normal".

Trinity will identify on students' transcripts any modules taken during the Covid-19 crisis, which will flag exceptional circumstances to prospective employers.

Irish Independent