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Update from Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer to undergraduate students

7 January 2021

Dear students,

We hope you are all well and would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Regrettably, it is starting under extremely challenging conditions. We will shortly be communicating about the plans for teaching and learning in this coming semester. We are writing here to inform you of some measures we are putting in place for the upcoming exam period.

We recognise that this is an extremely difficult and stressful situation in which to try and prepare for exams. In recognition of that and of the escalating public health situation, we are reinstating some of the mitigation measures previously approved by Council for exams in 2020:

Automatic right to deferral: We know that you will have been studying hard in preparation for the exams and strongly encourage all students to sit the exams in this session. However, if you are or have been ill or have otherwise been adversely affected by the pandemic you may choose to defer any or all of the upcoming semester one exams or assignments. You do not have to give a reason for this decision and deferral will be granted to all those who request it. The deferred assessments will be examined as a first attempt at the end of the semester two assessment period (in April/May). A second attempt will be available, if needed, in the reassessment session in August.

Students who wish to avail of this option should contact their Tutors by email or the Senior Tutor’s Office (ST.Office@tcd.ie) as soon as possible to discuss it and to lodge a formal application to defer. This is not to get permission but so that we have a full record of these applications and can process them properly. Any students who have already gotten approval to defer exams from the first semester will have the same opportunity to take them as a first attempt, immediately following the second semester exams.

Right to apply for re-sits: Students in the sophister years, in exams that count towards the final degree award only, may apply to re-sit assessments from either the first or second semester, even if they have achieved a passing mark in the module. Such applications can only be made following the semester two exams and the release of module and overall degree grades to students, following consultation with your Tutor and the head of your discipline or course coordinator. Re-sits will be scheduled in the reassessment session in August and students will be awarded the higher grade achieved.

More generally, please be assured that your lecturers are aware of the difficulties imposed by the pandemic and also of how unusual this year has been in the modes of teaching and learning. These issues will be taken into consideration in marking and by courts of examiners, who collate and examine each student’s overall marks.

In preparation for the exams next week, if any of you are struggling with issues that may affect your ability to sit them, please do make contact with your tutor, with the course or module coordinators, with Student Counselling (student-counselling@tcd.ie), College Health, or Disability Services (askds@tcd.ie). These facilities are all in place to help you. Important advice on how to prepare for real-time exams and carry them out online can be found on the IT Services website here.

We wish you all the very best for the assessments and the upcoming semester. Please take care and stay safe.

Yours truly,

Kevin Mitchell
Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Jürgen Barkhoff,
Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer