Current Affairs

Infographic: Teaching and Assessment Student Consultation breakdown

Despite 80% of students being against a 3 hour long open book examination, Oxford has sidestepped these survey results from its student body and made this the examination scheme for Trinity term 2020. 

At the end of last month, the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) conducted a university wide survey following the announcement that Trinity term would be held online. 5462 students across years and subjects, responded, totalling over 2 million words. Respondents included nearly a third of the entire finalist cohort. While the results indicated overall positive responses towards questions about remote teaching plans, it garnered severely negative responses regarding exam results. Specifically, finalists were collectively against all proposed remote exam schemes except for changing it to tutorial style essay or problem sheet questions. Nonetheless, the University has ignored this as it plans for a 4 hour online open book examination, which 80% of students were  against.

This survey result serves as a testament to the growing concern that the university perhaps does not have the students’, and more specifically the finalists’, best interests at hand. Despite collecting responses, they sought to implement the very policy that finalists were most opposed to. A summary of results and student information is given below: 

Infographic: Paulina Maziarska
Infographic: Paulina Maziarska
Infographic: Paulina Maziarska

Each question gave students the option to rank their opinion from 1 through 5 where 1 indicated the most negative response and 5 indicated the most positive response. Question-by-question results are as follows:

If the University were to implement storing recorded lectures on Canvas/Weblearn, how would that affect you? 

94% of students surveyed responded positively. This was backed further by 95% of finalists.

If the University were to implement storing live lectures via ‘Canvas Conferencing’ (videoconferencing), how would that affect you? 

76% of students surveyed responded positively. This was backed further by 79% of finalists.

If the University were to implement formative assessment via online ‘quizzes’ and essays, how would that affect you?

Student responses were spread out fairly evenly over all 5 options. There was no particularly conclusive result indicated.

If the University were to implement tutorials via Microsoft Teams Meeting, how would that affect you? 

83% of students surveyed responded positively. 

If the University were to implement reading lists via ‘ORLO’, how would that affect you?

48% of students surveyed responded neutrally, showing no conclusive result. This indifference was backed further by 47% of finalists.

If the University were to make available online ‘open book’ examinations (using conventional exam papers) with time limits in the region of 3 hours, how would that affect you? 

80% of students surveyed responded negatively. 

If the University were to make available online ‘open book’ examinations (using conventional exam papers) with time limits in the region of 5 hours, how would that affect you?

67% of students surveyed responded negatively. This was backed further by 68% of finalists.

If the University were to make available assessment via vivas (videoconferencing with Teams/Zoom/equivalent), how would that affect you?

81% of students surveyed responded negatively.

If the University were to make available tutorial-style essay/problem sheet portfolios written over several days/weeks submitted online, how would that affect you? 

76% of students surveyed responded positively.

If the University were to make available coursework assignments to replace traditional exams, how would that affect you?

Student responses were spread out fairly evenly over all 5 options. There was no particularly conclusive result indicated. Nonetheless, Medical Sciences students indicated slightly more positive responses than the rest of the other groups.

If the University were to postpone remote exams until the end of Summer, how would that affect you?

66% of students surveyed responded negatively. This was backed further by 73% of finalists.

If the University were to support students with suspension to take exams in Trinity 2021 at their discretion, how would that affect you? (Negative/Positive from 1 to 5)

Student responses were spread out fairly evenly over all 5 options. There was no particularly conclusive result indicated. Nonetheless, Humanities students indicated slightly more positive responses than the rest of the groups. However, overall, this question had the most polarity in opinions with “1” “3” and “5” being the most frequently selected options.

If the University were to allow students to be graded based on on-course performance (e.g. tutorials), how would that affect you? (Negative/Positive from 1 to 5)

Student responses were spread out fairly evenly over all 5 options. There was no particularly conclusive result indicated.

If the University were to allow students to be graded based on grades already achieved (e.g. coursework/dissertations), how would that affect you? (Negative/Positive from 1 to 5)

Student responses were spread out fairly evenly over all 5 options. There was no particularly conclusive result indicated. Nonetheless, Medical Sciences and MPLS students indicated slightly more positive responses than the rest of the other groups.

If the University were to allow students to choose to graduate with a special unclassified degree – e.g. DDH (“declared to have deserved honours”), how would that affect you? (Negative/Positive from 1 to 5)

77% of students surveyed responded negatively.

Anvee Bhutani

Anvee Bhutani is Senior Media Editor of The Oxford Blue and was formerly both News Editor and Events Director. She is a penultimate year student at Magdalen College reading Human Sciences and is originally from San Francisco, California.