Ireland’s Universities go online for exams

Universities engage with students on exam supports and accessibility initiatives

The seven universities represented by the IUA plan to complete arrangements for end of semester assessments within the next week.  The primary objective of the universities is that students be able to successfully complete this semester and either graduate or progress to the next year of their studies.

The universities recognise that this is a stressful time for students. As teaching has gone online many students have faced challenges, including studying in difficult conditions, caring for others and limited internet access for some.

As a result of the public health restrictions facing the entire country, all face-to-face exams at the end of this semester in our universities are being replaced by alternative online and remote assessment procedures. The challenging and stressful circumstances that students are facing are being taken into account in the design and marking of these revised assessments.

In putting in place these revised assessment procedures, universities are applying a number of key principles and approaches including:

  • Under-pinning academic quality standards by ensuring that the assessment methods will satisfy the requirements of professional/accrediting bodies and External Examiners.
  • Replacement of traditional face-to-face exams with a variety of alternative assessment formats such as essays, reports, problem sheets, multiple choice questions and other formats.
  • Ensuring that students suffer no academic disadvantage with all universities introducing flexible arrangements in these exceptional circumstances in relation to exam formats, marking and re-sits if required.
  • A recognition that some students may have technical issues with poor connectivity with exam formats and timing adjusted appropriately by the flexible arrangements in place in each university.
  • Supports and arrangements for students with recognised disabilities. The university Disability Services are working with both academics and students to ensure these are in place.

In developing the above Universities have worked through their normal academic structures, including consultation with their Student Representatives.  These alternative assessment procedures are designed to enable as much flexibility as possible for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the required learning outcomes, without compromising the integrity of the assessment process, and to maintain confidence and transparency in the quality of the degree and programme.

All seven universities have now communicated overall arrangements to their students regarding these new procedures. Further detailed information on timetables has already been issued or will be issued to all students as soon as possible.

We would like to wish all our students every success in their forthcoming assessments, and to assure them of our support in this challenging time.


For more information contact:

Media queries:

Lia O’Sullivan, IUA Head of Communications, 085 7141414

Academic Information:

Lewis Purser, IUA Director of Learning, Teaching and Academic Affairs 087 9051113