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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

FAQs for Students - Semester Two Assessment Period 2020-21

These FAQs apply to the formal assessment period commencing Monday 17th May - Friday 4th June 2021.

Please note that for some courses there are exceptions to the application of Additional Exam Recommendations.  This is usually because the regulatory body for the assessment is external to the University.  For example, exceptions apply to many courses run through the Faculty of Medicine.  If this applies to your course, it will be brought to your attention by the specialist practitioner at your Student Support Appointment.

I have a fixed duration 2-hour online assessment to be completed within 24 hours, will I get the extra time recommended by Enabling Services?

Additional Exam Recommendations are applied to short duration assessments (online or in person) that are completed in exam-style conditions within a period of up to 24 hours. Therefore, any online assessment that is of fixed duration (for example an assessment that lasts 2 hours and can be completed at a time of your choosing on a specified day) will be adjusted for extra time.

I have a 2.5-hour online assessment that begins at a fixed time, will I get the extra time recommended by Enabling Services?

Additional Exam Recommendations are applied to short duration assessments (online or in person) that are completed in exam-style conditions within a period of up to 24 hours. Therefore, any online assessment that has a fixed start time (for example, where everyone has to start the online assessment at 9.30am on a specified day) will be adjusted for extra time.

I have a fixed duration 2-hour assessment to be completed within 24 hours, will I get rest breaks?

Additional Exam Recommendations are applied to short duration assessments (online or in person) that are completed in exam-style conditions within a period of up to 24 hours.  Therefore, if you have a recommendation for rest breaks, your online assessment should be adjusted to accommodate this.  Usually this is done by adding in extra time to the total duration of your online assessment, giving you the flexibility to take rest breaks at your convenience.  For example, if you have been recommended a 10 minute rest break per hour as an AER, you would be permitted 2hrs 20 mins in total to complete your assessment and you can take rest breaks as required during this time.

I have a 2-hour online assessment and AERs for rest breaks and extra time. How will this be applied?

You should receive the equivalent time for both AERs.  This means that for a 2 hour assessment you would receive 20 minutes additional time for the rest breaks and 30 minutes additional time for extra time.  This would bring the total time to 2 hours and 50 minutes.

I have an assessment that begins at 10am on a Tuesday that has to be submitted by 4pm on the Thursday of the same week. I have an Enabling Services recommendation for extra time, but this has not been applied – why is that?

Assessments of 24 hours or more are ‘inclusive by design’.  This means that Additional Exam Recommendations (AERs), such as extra time or rest breaks, are pre-built into the assessment time, so you will have the same time allocation as your peers without AERs.   Most assessments will have an expected study time (and sometimes an expected word limit) and you should use this to guide you.  For example, the expected study time for an assessment to be completed within a 48-hour period might be one day, or 7 hours.  The 48-hour period allows for this time, but there is also an additional whole working day (or 7 hours) extra, available to you as extra time and/or for rest breaks. When you have a longer period of time during which to complete an assessment, there is no expectation that you work all of the hours. For example, if you have 48 hours to do an assignment, you are not expected to work for 48 hours. 

I have an open book assessment that lasts 5 days. As I have a diagnosis of dyslexia, am I permitted to seek support from one of the specialist study skills practitioners during this time for help with my assessment?

Prior to seeking support from a Specialist Study Skills practitioner in relation to an assessment, you are encouraged to speak to your faculty about any guidelines in place relating to your assessment which set out what resources and support you are able to access during your assessment.

Should you choose to seek support from a Specialist Study Skills practitioner you can expect them to work with you to help you develop the skills needed for effective study.  This includes considering your strengths and current study methods as well as helping you to overcome the areas you may find more challenging. 

Please note however that specialist study skills practitioners will not:

  • Proof-read your work – instead they will demonstrate techniques for proof reading that you can then use to proof-read your assessment.
  • Edit your assessment – instead they will demonstrate techniques for organising, ordering and structuring your ideas and arguments that you can then apply to your assessment.
  • Check your spelling, grammar or punctuation – instead they will show you how to do this for yourself, for example through assistive software.
  • Read the whole assessment – instead they may read a short section and discuss the study skills techniques that can be used for improvement that can be applied to the whole assessment.

My AERs include a recommendation that there should be no more than one exam per day. My assessment timetable shows lots of overlap so I have more than one assessment per day – what should I do?

The Exam and Graduation teams take care to adjust assessment timetables to accommodate AERs.  Where there are a number of assessments which are of 24 hours or more it can be sometimes difficult to spread out all of the assessments so that there is no overlap at all.  However, where there is an overlap, there is no expectation that you work on more than one assessment at a time and sufficient time should be built into each assessment to allow flexibility.

Nonetheless, it is recognised that organising your time to manage multiple assessment can be a challenge.  If you have this recommendation and are concerned about your assessment timetable, you are encouraged to speak to the Exam and Graduation team in the first instance. 

My assessment comprises two parts: 1 hour upload/download time and 2 hours for the assessment itself. Extra time has not been applied to the upload/download time: why is that?

Extra time is usually applied to the assessment ONLY.  Hence in this example, the written paper would be 2 hours and 30 mins PLUS download time.

This assumes that the upload/download process is similar to what students are used to doing for coursework or other assignments and hence it is not an unusual request that students have not done before. 

Faculties are nonetheless encouraged to:

  • Ask students in advance if they have previously experienced difficulties with download or upload so that if necessary other options can be considered.
  • Advise students ahead of time which system/method is to be used for the download/upload so they can become familiar with it (if not already known) and if possible, opportunities are provided for students to do a test run of the download/upload to identify problems, so that any issues can be identified in advance.

These steps will help those students who, for reasons related to their disability may take longer to access the system used for their online assessment.  It will also help those students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, or students with visual impairment, allowing them time ahead of the exam period to find out how to adjust settings as required.

I am usually assigned a scribe or reader for my exams. How will this work for my online assessment – will somebody come to my home?

If you have been recommended support through a scribe or reader for your assessments, the Enabling Services team will work with you to put that support in place remotely.  Your faculty team is encouraged to offer you the opportunity to carry out a mock assessment so that any support needs can be tried and tested in advance of the assessment itself.  Microsoft Teams can be used to help with most types of support and where this is not possible, the Enabling Services team will work closely with you and your school office to find the best solution.

I have extra time approved for my short duration assessment but I don’t know how I will actually access that extra time on the day?

Many short duration online assessments have been modified so that a separate module with in-built extra time can be accessed.  Sometimes you will be provided with a separate password.  However, the arrangements will vary by course and you are encouraged to talk to your module lead or school office to learn more.

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