King’s College London law students to sit ‘take home’ exams amid coronavirus fears

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By Aishah Hussain on

Alternative arrangement sees undergrads take their assessments off-campus within a specified timeframe

King’s College London law students will sit “take home” exams this spring in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the university’s Dickson Poon School of Law announced yesterday.

The move follows a university-wide email informing King’s students it “will not hold conventional unseen exams” for the main examination period between April and May 2020.

In the email, published by The Tab, King’s senior vice president described the coronavirus pandemic as an “extraordinary situation” and one “we need to provide additional flexibility”. The email stated that “alternative assessment formats and modes will be utilised”, and that students should await confirmation from their department regarding alternative arrangements.

Shortly afterwards King’s law students were reportedly informed by email that they will be sitting “take home” exams.

Professor Gillian Douglas, executive dean of the Dickson Poon School of Law, explained:

“[T]he School has decided that our adjustment will be that modules that would have had exams taken on campus will instead be assessed via take home examinations. The format of the take-home papers will be based on those that have already been set for the May period.”

The email continued: “Where there are any accommodations to be made to the existing format, to reflect the fact that the examination is not being taken in the planned examination-hall conditions, these will be agreed and communicated to you before the end of term.”

“All other assessment formats and deadlines (e.g. coursework) will remain unchanged,” the email adds.

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A King’s spokesperson told Legal Cheek a “take home” exam is “a recognised alternative form of assessment where students take their assessment off-campus within a specified timeframe. It does not require students to take the test in their own home”.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, King’s third year law student and academic representative for final years, Sera Singh, said the move has for the most part been received “positively” by her fellow students. She said:

“We are happy to see the college concerned about us and taking measures to protect our health. While we are uncertain at the moment about the details of how the assessment will take place, all students generally accept that this is in our best interests.”

She continued: “In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that we all cooperate to ensure our safety and the university’s attempts at the same are greatly appreciated.”

News of the alternative arrangement came on the day that exam timetables were due to be released.

A King’s spokesperson told us:

“We are continuing to follow government and Public Heath England (PHE) advice so we can monitor and plan accordingly and as the situation evolves we are making appropriate changes to support our students and staff. We have informed students of current plans regarding adjustments to exams and assessments to ensure minimal disruption to their studies. This includes alternative assessment arrangements for the main examination period scheduled between 27 April and 29 May 2020.”

They continued: “For the vast majority of programmes and modules, we will not hold conventional unseen exams requiring students to be physically present over this period, but instead will provide assessment in alternative formats. These arrangements are being actively considered at a faculty and departmental level, and students will be kept fully updated. We are ready to make further changes as the situation develops.”

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