"No detriment" Policy for UCD
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The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent measures taken by the government have affected each student at UCD. The university closure has been disruptive to students' study habits, in particular those that are dependent on university facilities such as the library or laboratories. The university ceased all in-person operation from March 23rd, the date of reopen after a 2 week study break. Since then, a large proportion of students are now bereft of a suitable working environment, WiFi, laptops, computers and even office equipment. Some students are exposed to toxic living conditions, without proper access to a safe place to do assessment in, or exposed to and caring for sick family members.
With online examinations approaching, many students do not have access to the resources they require to achieve the grade they deserve, or to maintain their current grade. Students will now be required to complete assessment in an environment that is not conducive to achieving their true potential. In addition, many students will not have adequately prepared due to this disruption in their studies. It goes without saying that many of our students are now at a serious disadvantage, and are unlikely to achieve their grades without proper university support.
Lecturers and schools have reassured students that we will not be at a disadvantage as a result of the alternate means of assessment that are to be put in place. However, considering the variance in home environments, and the individual challenges facing students at this stressful time, we are asking the university to implement a "no detriment" system, in a similar manner to those being deployed across the universities of the United Kingdom, for example Exeter, Southhampton, and Edinburgh.
At 9.40AM on the 25th of March 2020 the University of Exeter announced that student assessment would be mitigated through a "safety net" policy. The Deputy Vice Chancellor wrote that:
"So long as students would qualify to progress/graduate based on their marks obtained this year ... then the university will ensure that students' final academic year average is the same as, or higher than, the average they have attained up to Sunday 15th March."
"If students achieve higher marks in assessments submitted and examinations undertaken after Sunday 15th March then they will be able to raise your mark for the year."
In summary, "as long as you qualify to pass the year, completing the summer assessments can only help not hinder you because we will not let the extraordinary circumstances in which you are completing these assessments leave you with a mark below your current overall mark."
We would urge UCD to consider the impact that these unprecedented measures have on students, both in terms of their academic performance but also the toll it is taking on their mental health during this difficult time. Implementing such a mitigation strategy would ensure that no student is disadvantaged, and that each student is given an opportunity to live up to their potential.
Many thanks to Conall Williamson and the students of UCC for kick-starting the "no-detriment" policy campaign in Irish third-level institutions.
Join the Facebook group to further the progress of this campaign! The more student support there is, the more likely we are to get it over the line.
To put pressure on the decision makers it would also be of huge help to copy the email template below including all the names, with subject line: 'An Appeal from Your Students' and before sending, type your name under Yours Sincerely.
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all for your support!
For further reading on how these policies are being deployed in the UK, see below:
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