Alternative Assessment - Guidance for Students

The COVID 19 emergency is having a significant impact on education. In Ireland, and internationally, colleges and universities, this has necessitated managing all learning and teaching remotely. The need to ensure social distancing is a particular problem in the case of traditional examinations. As a result, colleges and universities, including DkIT, will not be running invigilated exams as usual in May.

  • What will happen instead?

    Programme teams are designing alternative assessments to replace the exams.  These will be completed in May.

    In a small number of cases this will not be possible.  For example, some professional bodies will still require an exam.  Sometimes it will not be possible to provide a suitable alternative, for example, some practical skill may need to be examined in a face-to-face setting.  In these cases, the exams will be postponed.

  • What is an alternative assessment?

    All degrees are awarded on the basis that the learning outcomes have been met.  The assessments you undertake, exams and CAs, provide the evidence to demonstrate this.  An alternative assessment is simply replacing one method, in this case an exam, with an alternative method that allows students to show that they have met the learning outcomes.

  • What will I have to do?

    The specifics will depend on your programme and stage/year.  Your lecturers will be in touch to tell you exactly what you will need to do for each module.  Your Head of Department may also provide guidance and can be contacted if you have any general queries/issues. In some cases, an exam will be replaced by another assessment task, for example, a short essay, case study, presentation, report, as appropriate for the module. The specifics will depend on your programme and stage  In some cases, an exam will be replaced by another task, for example, a short essay, case study, presentation, report, as appropriate for the subject. 

    In some modules, the exam will be adapted as an open-book exam.  In this case, the questions will be released via Moodle and you will have a certain amount of time to answer them.  This will be longer than for a standard exam to allow for:

    • additional caring responsibilities at this time,
    • access to laptops etc.,
    • internet access.

    As these will be open-book, the questions may focus more on applying and interpreting your knowledge, however, this does depend on the discipline.  Your lecturers will advise you on the nature of the questions, what is expected in the answers and how long you will have to complete this.

  • How much time will I have to spend on this?

    The alternative assessments should not involve more work than preparing for regular exams.  If you have a window of 2 days to complete an open-book exam, this does not mean that you should be spending the full 2 days on it.  For a regular exam you would probably spend a lot of time studying before the exam and then spend 2 hours doing the exam.  For an open-book exam you may find that you spend less time studying in advance and instead, use the time to complete the questions.  So, although you may use the time differently, you should not need to spend more time on these.

  • Will I be disadvantaged?

    No.  The alternative assessments are designed to be fair while ensuring the integrity of your degree.   Your lecturers understand that these are not normal circumstances and that you are facing significant challenges.  The guidance given to lecturers highlights the importance of taking this into account when designing alternative assessments.  It is also important that your degree is valid and maintains its value.  This means that we need to ensure that learning outcomes are being properly assessed.  This is particularly important at award stages.

  • I have a disability and am entitled to Reasonable Accommodations, what impact does this have on my learning agreement?

    Your learning agreement continues to apply.  If you are entitled to extra time in an exam you are still entitled to extra time for an open-book exam.  This should be proportionate.  For example, if you are entitled to 15 mins per hours extra time, this is 25% extra for an open-book exam. 

  • What support is available to me?

    Your module lecturers are the key point of contact for information and support around the module content and what is required in the assessments.

    The Students’ Union can provide advice and support.  If you are experiencing difficulties, please get in touch.  Contact

    The Library: The online Library is operating as normal. That means that you can search and get access to e books and e articles.  The best way to do that is to use the Covid 19 Guide here and in particular we ask that you use a tab called E Books.  This section will be updated as we add more services and resources.

    You can also email us with any queries or questions at We also have a Chat service (hours will be extended soon) where we will be happy to help. It is available on the Library Moodle page which is called ONLINELIB (online library) at We hope to host webinars on referencing and Harvard soon so please check our twitter site and emails.

    The Student Learning and Development Centre can provide support with study skills, preparation, any aspect of academic writing and use of Microsoft Office applications.  Email or visit the Moodle page.  We will be running a number of webinars for students on preparing for these assessment and will circulate details by email.

    The Maths Learning Centre: remains available to students at this time. For more information, please contact

    Disability Service: For students who are registered with the Disability Service, the student Disability Service may be contacted on or

    A helpful Disability Service FAQ page is available at:

    Frequently Asked Questions during Covid19 Closure

    The Counselling Service: continues to offer a full service remotely. So, if you need help with

    • time management,
    • dealing with stress,
    • anxiety
    • just adapting to the new reality,
    • Any other issue that is causing you distress

    we are here for you. You can contact us by email at or you can self-refer in the normal way

    Remember while you might be isolated, you are not alone.

    Health Unit: The Health Unit Nurse can be contacted on the following numbers +353 (0)89 2512274 and +353 (0)89 4749683 or by emailing All students are welcome to make contact. If students have any health concerns or just want to have a chat e.g. Covid-19 symptoms, sexual health issues, general health or anxiety issues, please feel free to contact us.

    Careers & Employability Centre: Career development supports and guidance on employability skills and activities are available to all students. A range of Online Resources are available on the Moodle Careers section. You can make an appointment to speak directly with a Careers Advisor or submit a query via DkIT Careers Connect

PLEASE NOTE: DkIT provides regular updates to students relating to new developments arising as a result of the COVID-19 Outbreak. For the latest  development, please see here: