A significant number of students have indicated that the recent change in college term/assessment structure has caused a negative effect on their society engagement, according to the results of a newly published survey.
Before the onset of Covid-19, the Trinity Central Societies Committee (CSC) surveyed student members of Trinity’s over 120 societies in order to determine the perspectives of student societies on the Trinity Education Project (TEP).
Introduced in 2013, TEP aims to “renew Trinity’s undergraduate education”. One feature of this restructuring included the move away from “summative assessment” to “formative assessment”, or the change from one, end-of-year assessment to multiple smaller assignments throughout the term.
In response to the question “What effect, if any, has the change in College’s term/assessment structure had on your ability to engage at a Committee level with your society?”, 23% of respondents reported a “significant negative effect” and 53% reported a “moderate negative effect”.
In response to the question “What effect, if any, has the change in College’s term/assessment structure had on general engagement in your society by the student body?”, 33% of students reported a “significant negative effect”, 43% reported a “moderate negative effect”, and 23% reported “no discernible effect”.
No respondents to the survey reported a “moderate” or “significant positive effect”.
The CSC have concluded from that results that the shift to “formative assessment” was a distinctive factor in this change, as “students reported finding it more difficult and stressful to organise events through the year, with some students reporting that they had to drop out of their own events, in order to make room for additional assessment”.
In particular, student respondents noted a significant decrease in attendees to events following Reading Week of each term. As the CSC reports, “This effect was particularly noticeable in the weeks prior to the examination periods of both terms–as they are now preceded by only one week of dedicated study.”
For students attempting to organise events, they often found that the Examinations Office had block-booked event spaces such as the Exam Hall and the Graduates’ Memorial Building for “excessive periods” of time.
When prompted to make suggestions for future improvement, students proposed that Schools “ought to be conscientious in the staggering of deadlines and a longer period of time be afforded to students to study, prior to exams.”
In general, responses to the survey revealed overwhelmingly that students feel as though “TEP had substantially harmed the capacity of societies to positively contribute to the Trinity Experience”.
As TEP completed its implementation period in 2019, it is now referred to as Trinity Education.