To all students of the technological sector and the THEA institutions:
The world is united in experiencing an unprecedented global public health challenge. This poses a clear threat to human life and has fundamentally disrupted all social routine. The first priority of all institutions is for the safety and welfare of our students, staff, and communities. We also assure you that you will not be disadvantaged through the changes that are necessary.
The actions we are here announcing are consistent with these core priorities and with the advices from the National Public Health Emergency Team. All our THEA institutions are working cohesively, and in conjunction with the national agency, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), to maintain support for our learners and we here declare that we are committed to assessing our students in a manner that upholds the academic integrity of our awards.
The current circumstances necessitate the adoption of amended assessment approaches and we confirm here that these will be fashioned in a manner that will facilitate your institution to form a judgement from this summative assessment that the programme outcomes have been satisfied. Learners can be assured that you will be advised shortly by your institution of the revised assessment approach and you will be supplied with the necessary rubrics and supports to enable you to prepare.
For many programmes, the current circumstances preclude final examination in the normal manner. You can be assured that your institution is committed to support you through flexible application of its policies, procedures, and academic regulations. The commitment of your institution is that the cohort of 2020 is not delayed or disadvantaged through the current crisis. We will work to support you through these coming months and more detailed information will issue from your home institution presently.
Our approach is being guided by key principles which are set out here below:
- The primary concern for all THEA Institutions is the health and welfare of our students and ensuring they are supported in completing their studies in a timely and appropriate manner.
- Institutions are committed to the academic integrity of our awards and to the maintenance of our standards.
- Institutions will communicate with students on a regular basis to ensure they are informed of assessment expectations and the requirements for completing their year of study.
- In the face of the current global public health pandemic, and conscious of your safety, we anticipate employing alternative modes of assessment and your lecturers are working assiduously on that and with the support of the national quality assurance agency QQI.
- Assessment will proceed but will not contravene health advice on personal distancing and thus will not involve the use of invigilated examination hall settings.
- Institutions will act within the autonomous frameworks developed by their academic council to oversee and implement changes necessary as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and will work across higher education and professional bodies to support a unified approach to graduate recognition in these circumstances
Our practical approach to assessment will ensure
- Assessment will be designed in support of the national health guidelines and ensure that personal distancing rules are respected in all cases
- Institutional emphasis will be on establishing that the programme learning outcomes have been satisfied and will be calibrated against the standards as set out in the programme documentation by the relevant programme teams.
- Changes to assessment schedules will be pedagogically and academically sound and will be approved by the institution’s academic council.
- You will be advised and supported through this over the coming period.
This statement is issued following discussion with QQI.