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Alternative Assessments – Guidance for Students: Welcome

Alternative assessments-introduction

The COVID 19 emergency is having a significant impact on education in Ireland and internationally.  In colleges and universities, this has necessitated managing all learning and teaching remotely.   As a result, colleges and universities, including DkIT, will not be running invigilated exams as usual in May. 

What will happen instead?

Program teams are designing alternative assessments to replace the exams.  These will be completed in May.

In a small number of cases this will not be possible.  For example, some professional bodies will still require an exam.  Sometimes it will not be possible to provide a suitable alternative, for example, some practical skill may need to be examined in a face-to-face setting.  In these cases, the exam will be postponed.

What is an alternative assessment?

All degrees are awarded on the basis that the learning outcomes have been met.  The assessments you undertake, exams and CAs, provide the evidence to demonstrate this.  An alternative assessment is simply replacing one method, in this case an exam, with an alternative method that allows students to show that they have met the learning outcomes.

I have a disability and am entitled to Reasonable Accommodations, what impact does this have on my learning agreement?

Your learning agreement continues to apply.  If you are entitled to extra time in an exam you are still entitled to extra time for an open-book exam.  This should be proportionate.  For example, if you are entitled to 15 mins per hours extra time, this is 25% extra for an open-book exam. 

What will I have to do?

The specifics will depend on your program and stage/year.  Your lecturers will be in touch to tell you exactly what you will need to do for each module.  Your Head of Department may also provide guidance and can be contacted if you have any general queries/issues. In some cases, an exam will be replaced by another assessment task, for example, a short essay, case study, presentation, report, as appropriate for the module. The specifics will depend on your program and stage within the program.  In some cases, an exam will be replaced by another task, for example, a short essay, case study, presentation, report, as appropriate for the subject. 

In some modules, the exam will be adapted as an open-book exam.  In this case, the questions will be released via Moodle and you will have a certain amount of time to answer them.  This will be longer than for a standard exam to allow for:

  • additional caring responsibilities at this time,
  • access to laptops etc.,
  • internet access.

As these will be open-book, the questions may focus more on applying and interpreting your knowledge, however, this does depend on the discipline.  Your lecturers will advise you on the nature of the questions, what is expected in the answers and how long you will have to complete this.

Will I be disadvantaged?

No.  The alternative assessments are designed to be fair while ensuring the integrity of your degree. Your lecturers understand that these are not normal circumstances and that you are facing significant challenges. The guidance given to lecturers highlights the importance of taking this into account when designing alternative assessments. It is also important that your degree is valid and maintains its value. This means that we need to ensure that learning outcomes are being properly assessed. This is particularly important at award stages.

How much time will I have to spend on this?

The alternative assessments should not involve more work than preparing for regular exams.  If you have a window of 2 days to complete an open-book exam, this does not mean that you should be spending the full 2 days on it.  For a regular exam you would probably spend a lot of time studying before the exam and then spend 2 hours doing the exam.  For an open-book exam you may find that you spend less time studying in advance and instead, use the time to complete the questions.  So, although you may use the time differently, you should not need to spend more time on them.

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