Oxford University confirms exam arrangements

University News University/Local Issues

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The University has today confirmed that it will be following the Russell Group’s policy on safety nets for exams this academic year. 

An email to students from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Martin Williams, announced that all except one medical exam would be held online during Hilary term, that the University is in the process of developing a new online exams platform, and that there would be no safety net policy for finals during Trinity term. 

Although Williams acknowledged the impact on students, he emphasised that the decisions surrounding the exam arrangements were final. The basis for a lack of a safety net policy is that online arrangements are more established than they were for finals in 2020. 

“In line with our targeted approach, and the Russell Group’s position, we will not be introducing a blanket ‘safety net’ for all students as was done in Trinity term 2020. This is because teaching and assessment is being structured and delivered in a more established way this year and with more support available. Nevertheless, in consultation with Oxford SU representatives, we are giving careful thought to what additional measures may be needed to support students and achieve fair degree outcomes in this year’s assessments. A further announcement will be made by the middle of Hilary term.”

“In line with our targeted approach, and the Russell Group’s position, we will not be introducing a blanket ‘safety net’ for all students as was done in Trinity term 2020.”

Williams also highlighted that there will be other support measures in place for students taking exams. 

“We will provide as much support as possible during your exams this year, with department guidance, college briefings and support, recorded exam preparation briefings, exam-specific wellbeing resources and the usual exam adjustments in place.”

“We are also committed to supporting students impacted by COVID-19, with a focus on targeted measures for individual students.”

“The mitigating circumstances notices to examiners process also remains in place, allowing Exam Boards to take a range of actions for both individual students, and for whole cohorts. We are reviewing this system to ensure it is suitable for the current pandemic situation, and will confirm any changes as soon as possible.”

“We are also committed to supporting students impacted by COVID-19, with a focus on targeted measures for individual students.”

The Student Union expressed disappointment in response to the announcement, but were keen to emphasise that they will continue to campaign for concessions from the University.

“We have joined with other Russell Group Student Unions to respond to the recent Russell Group statement. We remain committed to actively lobbying and working closely with the colleague University to secure the best deal for Oxford students on learning and assessment. It is important to recognise it may take some time for the University to finalise any changes to course assessment but Oxford SU’s sabbatical officers will work to ensure any updates are communicated to students as soon as possible.”

The SU will be running a session on Wednesday for students where they will explain their next steps and try to answer questions from students. More information can be found here.  

 

Image Credit: Iona Shen

 

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