Fallout between regulator and students rumbles on
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has doubled-down on its decision not to offer waivers to students who encountered technical difficulties during their online exams, telling them it’s “not an option now or in the future”.
In a letter to bar students, the BSB’s director general Mark Neale apologised once again to students who were adversely affected but stressed it was unable to offer waivers without “compromising standards and our public duties”.
Neale said: “We must retain the academic rigour of these examinations — even in these difficult and extraordinary times and even when that means extra work for students, for course providers, and for the BSB.”
The decision comes after bar student body, Students Against the BSB Exam Regulations (SABER), urged the regulator to waive the centralised assessments following reports of students being locked out of the remote proctoring system and urinating in buckets over fears their online assessments would be terminated if they went to the toilet.
The BSB clings on to ‘rigour’ again. We have shown these exams are not rigorous, the practitioner alternative would have been, and that arguments from rigour are a thin veil over discrimination. pic.twitter.com/C1OgEfmaDj
— Students Against The BSB Exam Regulations (@blwstndrdsbrd) September 22, 2020
The BSB has also come under fire in recent days over its decision to offer students the opportunity to undertake ‘pen and paper’ resists from 5 until 12 October, despite the results of the August assessments not being released until mid-October/November.
Neale added: “I am afraid it is simply not logistically possible to complete the grading process and release the marks, even provisionally, in advance of the requirement to register for the examinations if appropriate quality assurance processes are to be followed.”