Make KCL 2021/22 exams 24-hour online assessments

Make KCL 2021/22 exams 24-hour online assessments

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Monica Richards started this petition to King's College London

Covid-19 has seen unprecedented changes to students' university lives, with assessment arrangements being no exception. 

In 2019/20, KCL implemented a 'No Detriment' policy in line with other universities, providing a “safety net” to ensure students obtain at least their average grade so far in the year, or with a better grade depending on results in summer exams or assignments. After 1 year of implementation, it was scrapped. Next to go is the 24-hour exam format, which is of huge detriment to students undertaking their assessments this year. 

There are a multitude of reasons why this will be detrimental to students: 

1) The purpose of the final year percentage is that the final c-score is in part based on the assumption that students have become used to the system of exams by that point. If students have to deal with a new form of exam every year, that doesn’t work and increases the difficulty of assessments.

2) 24-hour exams were originally introduced due to students taking exams in different time zones. KCL is proud to be an international community – with many students sitting these exams across the world, this will create a disadvantage for those who either have to take the exam late in the evening or in the morning.

3) Mental health: 24-hour assessments significantly reduce the stress of exams. This format supports those with sleeping issues, anxiety, ADHD, and other conditions, ensuring that students can take sufficient breaks in during their exams. These students otherwise only have access to 15 minutes per hour for assessments, which is barely a supportive increase.

4) We made our module choices based on the syllabus content under the assumption that exam durations would be like last year. As we can't change module choices now and the syllabus states that the exam is going to be online and 24-hours, going back on this is highly unfair. 

5) Some students aren't on-campus this semester, for example due to financial reasons. They are thus already disadvantaged in accessibility of resources (e.g. it is easier to speak with tutors in-person during lessons when you don't understand a concept). Shorter examinations will highlight and further increase this gap. 

6) Previous horror stories demonstrate that this method has proven to be temperamental at best, exclusionary at worst:

- "My exam from the maths department last year was timed, I submitted it 5 mins late due to technical scanning issue, they refused to mark it I had to send in an appeal." – Year 2, PPE student

- "My brother is at UCL and he had a one hour submission period, even that messed up because of UCL tech issues and he ended up getting capped for that module." – Year 2, PPE student

What about our working-class students who might not have solid access to internet and who couldn't afford to live in London this year? This reifies KCL's position as an institution serving the richest – a position they've been working hard to rectify. 

Other universities such as Bristol, Manchester, and Sussex offer students between 48hours and a week to complete their exams due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic. Yet, KCL falls short on this – where is the prioritisation of our mental wellbeing?

For these reasons, I urge you to sign this petition. Our mental health comes first, accessibility to resources must be considered, and ultimately our exam grades are likely to suffer as a result.

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