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Update from Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies to students

6 April 2021

Dear students, 

We hope you are safe and well and managing to keep up your studies in these challenging times. This year has been more difficult for all of us than we could have imagined but Trinity’s students have shown incredible resilience and adaptability throughout this crisis. 

We are writing now with some information on the upcoming assessments and a number of measures we have put in place to try and support students through this process. We recognise that conditions are still chronically challenging, even if the emergency crisis that arose in early January has dissipated substantially. To help students cope with these conditions, Council (31st March) has approved the following measures: 

Deferral: students will have the automatic right to defer assessments (examinations or assignments) for second semester modules. As for the first semester, you can choose to defer some assessments and not others. Any deferred modules will be assessed in the reassessment session in August, and recorded as a first attempt. However, in this instance, no second attempt will be possible before the next academic year (i.e., there will be no “special supplemental” assessments in 2021). 

a. Capstone Projects: Students may defer submission of their capstone project thesis until the reassessment session. 

b. Exceptions: certain modules, including clinical skills assessments, for example, may not be deferrable and must be undertaken at the designated time. 

Deferred semester one assessments: these assessments are due to take place in a supplementary session starting the 24th of May. Students may defer some or all of these assessments again if they wish to the session in August, still as a first attempt. However, as for second semester modules, no second attempt will be possible before the next academic year. 

Please note: Requests for deferrals should be discussed with your Tutor and submitted by them to Student Cases before the scheduled assessment. You will not be asked to submit supporting documentation justifying the request. But you MUST submit a formal request to defer to register the decision prior to the scheduled assessment. 

Extensions: Students may request extensions for submission of specific pieces of work, as they might normally. Such requests should be made directly or through your Tutor to the respective Module or Course Coordinator. Our general advice is that Schools should be quite generous in granting such extensions, in a way that maintains fairness and academic integrity. Generally, extensions for work that was due during term time should be given only until the end of the assignment week of the new assessment period (28th May). Otherwise, students’ marks will not be complete in time for the courts of examiners. 

Courts of Examiners: As approved last year, Courts of Examiners (the bodies that consider overall profiles of students’ grades in each course and make decisions on progression) will exercise their discretion with greater latitude than normal in determining students’ overall grades, taking account of the generally challenging conditions. 

Compensation: Normal compensation rules for progression will apply, but it will not be possible to pass modules by aggregation. That is, if students have an overall passing grade, they may pass by compensation up to 10 ECTS of modules, if they have achieved a mark of at least 35% in those modules. Note that some courses have specific modules or components that cannot be passed in this way by compensation. 

Re-sits: As for first semester assessments, students in years that contribute to their final degree grade may apply to re-sit passed modules, following the same procedures. Re-sits will be scheduled in the reassessment session in August and students will be awarded the higher grade achieved, with their yearly or degree grade adjusted accordingly. 

Such applications can only be made following the semester two exams and the release of module and overall degree grades to students. Applications should be made within two weeks of publication of results to the relevant School following consultation with your Tutor and the Head of your discipline or course coordinator. School/Course offices will send recommendations to the Senior Lecturer via Student Cases. 

a. Capstone Projects: Students will NOT have the right to re-submit capstone project theses, where a first submission has already been graded and feedback made available. 

b. Exceptions: there may be other modules involving experiential components such as group or project work, for which re-sits cannot be provided. 

It is our hope that these measures will offer you considerable flexibility in preparing for and completing your assessments and enable you to maximise the consolidation of your learning from the year. 

As always, if you have any questions or difficulties please do make contact with your Tutor, with your course or module coordinators, or 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 would like to wish you all the very best with the rest of the academic year and the upcoming assessments. 

Kevin Mitchell 

Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies