By Tom Molloy
One of the biggest points of contention regarding college life during this pandemic is the question of exams. How are we, as students, expected to be assessed fairly and correctly when it is impossible to receive our education in a traditional fashion?
It’ll be no surprise to anybody then that exam stress is more severe this year as students attempt to navigate their way through online learning. SIN conducted a number of polls on Twitter to attempt to grasp the situation out there.
SIN conducted three polls and began by asking, “Did you find exams more stressful this year than previous years?” Of the 153 respondents, almost 80% responded with “Yes” while only 20% responded with “No”.
The question of optional exam resits for students this year is a topic which has come up for debate recently. Optional exam resits is the idea that each and every student should have the opportunity to resit exams in the summer regardless of their grade, i.e. resits would be available to those who have passed but feel like they could get a better grade. This seems like an appropriate measure considering how difficult some students are finding adapting to online learning.
SIN’s second poll on Twitter asked the question, “Are you in favour of optional exam re-sits?”. Of the 190 respondents, a whopping 91% voted “Yes”. This is a clear indicator of how students are coping with exams.
Students are clearly worried that the way in which the University is handling this pandemic may have an effect on their future careers. After all, it is the University’s responsibility to ensure that all students are given the means to reach their full potential. It could be argued that the University’s stance on repeat fees and optional resits does not facilitate this. This is where SIN’s third and final question comes in.
SIN asked, “In what way do you think online learning will affect your overall final grade for this year?”. 77% of the 148 respondents believe that online learning will “worsen [their] final grade”. Interestingly, 15% believe online learning will “improve” their final grade with the remaining 8% believing that it will have no effect either way.
It is clear that a lot of students out there are struggling with online learning and that is no surprise. However, it is imperative that the University does whatever it can to ensure that any difficulties that students are enduring are not any worse than they should be.