Over 300 students deferred exams under Covid-19 “safety net” measures

Students were permitted to defer exams due to be sat in the summer assessment period until August

Over 300 students availed of measures implemented for this year’s summer assessment period which allowed them to defer sitting their exams until the end of August.

According to figures released to Trinity News under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, 361 students opted to defer their exams under the new measures implemented for the assessment period.

During the period of March to July of 2020, there were 361 deferral requests approved permitting students to defer from the Semester 2 assessment session to the reassessment session in August.

The option to defer exams was among a number of measures approved by Trinity’s University Council designed to “ease pressure” on students completing assessments during the coronavirus pandemic.

The approved measures also included discretionary powers granted to the board of examiners to consider final year students’ overall profile of marks throughout their time at Trinity when marking their work from the term.

For final year students who achieve significantly lower grades on their final modules, examiners were asked to adjust a student’s overall mark “in a manner they deem justified”.

Students who attempted assessments but found that they were not able to perform as expected were also able to apply for a deferral until the end of summer.

Students were also allowed to progress into the next year having failed some modules, provided they meet the overall pass mark for the year.

Trinity also said they would mark on students’ transcripts any modules taken in the time of the Covid-19 crisis which they say “will flag exceptional circumstances to any prospective employers”. 

These measures, while significant, fell short of the “no detriment” policy called for by many students which would have meant that as long as students receive a passing mark, their overall average grade would not be brought down by upcoming assessments.

An emailing campaign lobbying for a no detriment policy to be implemented was launched by students, with the provost confirming that he must have received “200 emails” relating to the policy. Two petitions calling for the implementation of the policy also circulated among students, gaining 4,200 and 1,100 signatures respectively.

A no detriment policy was also supported by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU).

The press statement from Trinity announcing the measures, stated that Trinity was “aware” of the calls for a no detriment policy but “believes that the measures outlined offer the best way to offset the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a manner compatible with its progression and award regulations and assessment practices”.

Speaking at the time, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell said that Trinity “recognise the unprecedented levels of stress that many students are under and the challenges they will face in completing these assessments to the best of their abilities”, claiming that these measures would  “provide a safety net for students affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.