Reducing Exam stress for staff and increasing the student experience.

September 20, 2018, By Liz Priestley

Many students learning in class at university

Background

The Scientia Suite of Exams products looks to accommodate the diverse and conflicting interests of academic assessment. Exam scheduling presents complex challenges for university timetablers to solve. Challenges can include; the potential for students from different courses to sit exams in the same room, or the same course group spread over many rooms, or the additional complexity of using the same locations with different layout configurations, such as double-desks.  Ensuring the right number of correctly-skilled invigilators are present and allocating students to their personal seat enhances student experience. Throwing further complexity to the challenge is the management of exam papers, invigilator rostering and reporting in session.

Luckily the Scientia Suite of Exams solutions simplifies the challenges and offers a balanced timetable whilst removing barriers to access, participation and achievement. Our solution balances a student’s exam load across the exam period, giving them their best chance of performing well. It also supports students who need extra provision by providing tailored exam experiences to meet the particular needs of the student.

Product release

This month, Scientia announced the release of Exam Scheduler 3.5.10 and Exam Management System 1.2 at the Exams Network Conference. The releases focus on improving the communications between Exam Scheduler and Publish, supports the exam activities to be scheduled across multiple locations and enables a series of exam timetables to be displayed, whilst the invigilator rostering module improves the communication between the Exam Management administrator and the invigilators and their availability.

Rose Kirkpatrick, Product Manager said “I had the pleasure of presenting to the ATEM Exams Network Conference in Adelaide recently to announce the releases of Exam Scheduler 3.5.10 for use with Publish along with Exam Management Solutions 1.2 for Invigilator Rostering. The response from institutions represented was extremely positive with many institutions commenting on how they like the functionality of being able to Publish an up to date Exam timetable for either staff or student direct to their mobile device and the ease that they are now able to administrate the availability of invigilators”.

Student Experience

Scientia’s Exams Solutions have also been busy helping The University of Edinburgh and Kingston University to enhance their student experience by reducing time spent by students entering course codes to access their exam timetable, allowing students days off in-between exams and linking the data up to Office 365, giving them access to their personalised timetable.

The solution is so powerful it has reduced scheduling of the exams timetable from two weeks to two days and identified the need to decrease the numbers of rooms used to host the exams.

Mark Bonetzky, Head of Timetabling at Kingston University said “Straight away we noticed immediate improvements, for instance, we were able to provide students with a guaranteed day off in between exams which offer a better student experience. An additional bonus was to find out we needed less rooms to host the exams leading to unexpected savings”.

The Future

Next month Rose, will be visiting the EMEA region and hosting the Exam SRUG, being held at the University of Leicester on 25 October. This one day FREE to attend meet up offers Exam timetabling teams a chance to network and share their experiences. The SRUG looks set to explore how the exam solution can aid universities to deliver invigilator training. There will also be guest presenters from Kingston University and University of Leicester.

After the SRUGS, our focus will be in on developing the Exams Solutions on our new cloud-based platform Syllabus Plus Anywhere – an exciting announcement regarding this development is expected in 2019.

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