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Victoria University’s Academic Board are proposing to introduce a two week exam period, to ditch three hour exams in favour of shorter two hour exams, and to have three exams taking place per day.
This has been proposed as the most practical way to extend trimester three to twelve weeks, after a previous proposal to change one of the two midterm breaks to one week was rejected by staff.
University Provost Professor Wendy Larner stated, during the Academic Board meeting, that these changes would aid in the growth of the university and help students who are completing 180 point masters programmes—a major focus for the university.
Larner said that 12 of the 18 universities in Australia have three exams per day and stressed that the proposed changes will not be implemented at the expense of student wellbeing, nor would staff be forced to teach 12 months of the year or students be expected to study for a third trimester.
Victoria University staff at the Academic Board meeting were generally supportive of the proposal. However those from the NZ School of Music, as well as the Science and Maths departments, were cautious of the effect this workload could have for them and students.
Representatives from the Maths and Computer Science faculties stated the importance of three hour exams for their subjects. While lecturers from the NZ School of Music explained that solo performance exams were time consuming, and the change from a three week to a two week examination period would affect their students.
VUWSA President Jonathan Gee, who attended the board meeting, was concerned as he believes there’s no “one size fits all” approach to the length of exams.
“Reducing exams from three to two hours could result in more internal assessment, which could mean stress levels are high throughout the trimester instead of peak periods like during exams or the six-week dip.”
He added that “student wellbeing and success need to be at the forefront of any decision around the changing the exam period.”
“VUWSA will be following any changes to the exam period closely to ensure students aren’t disadvantaged as a result,” and Salient will keep you up to date.