ENGSCI 311 - In Person Test Communications
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From: Mr. Patel
Dear University of Auckland,
Please can this request be attended to in a timely matter, as the results of any finding may directly impact students currently enrolled.
I refer to the announcement and publication from the vice-chancellor stating all tests and assignments before November 5th are to be conducted online, and only after then will in-person examinations/tests resume.
What factors were considered for the granting of special permissions for ENGSCI 311 to have an in-person test on the 14th of October?
Please provide all communications regarding this granting of special permissions and official communications to the ENGSCI 311 coordinators permitting them, before the 14th of October to go ahead with the test in the conditions it did.
From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland
Dear Mr Patel,
I refer to your request of 9 November 2020. The University’s response
“What factors were considered for the granting of special permissions for
ENGSCI 311 to have an in-person test on the 14th of October?”
Mr Peter Bier, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), of the Faculty of
Engineering, approved the exemption for the ENGSCI 311 test. Mr Bier has
1. Neither the Vice-Chancellor’s announcements nor updated policy
document (released October 8^th – attached) prohibited in-person
2. The test was designed to be done in person;
3. The script printing was already underway, so no additional work was
needed to organise scripts for an in-person test;
4. Planning had been done to allow for spacing within test rooms that was
designed to meet ministry guidelines for level 2 (and we were in fact
only at level 1);
5. Announcements regarding the in-person nature of the ENGSCI 311 test
(assuming level 1) had already been made on Canvas so staying with an
in-person test was consistent with what students had been told
6. An in-person test is desirable from an academic integrity perspective.
I note the statement in your request that there was an announcement and
publication from the University’s Vice-Chancellor stating all tests and
assignments before November 5th are to be conducted online, and only after
then will in-person examinations/tests resume. This is not correct; the
Vice-Chancellor did not state that all tests and assignments before
November 5th were to be conducted online. You may have arrived at this
misunderstanding after reading announcements where the Vice-Chancellor
provided clarity around what would happen with regards to the examinations
period which was scheduled to begin on November 5th. These announcements
explicitly mentioned which tests and exams scheduled from November 5th
would happen in person (but no claim was made that tests prior to that
date would be conducted online).
The Vice-Chancellor’s email to students dated 25 September 2020 stated:
Examinations and tests
I am aware from the many messages I have received over the past week that
some students have a preference for online examinations, as in Semester
One. However, we have to balance this against the need to ensure the
University's academic integrity standards are maintained. We have decided
that all examinations and tests from 5 November scheduled to be held
on-campus will be held on-campus under either Alert Level 1 or Alert Level
The Vice-Chancellor’s email to students dated 5 October 2020 stated:
This afternoon the Prime Minister confirmed that Auckland will move to
Alert Level 1 from 11:59pm on Wednesday 7^ October. This removes most of
the restrictions of recent weeks, including physical distancing and
limited group sizes. It means that all teaching and learning activities
will resume on campus according to the standard timetable from this
Thursday 8 October. In addition, as communicated previously, all
examinations and tests from 5 November scheduled to be held on-campus will
be held on-campus if we are at Alert Level 1 or Alert Level 2.
“Please provide all communications regarding this granting of special
permissions and official communications to the ENGSCI 311 coordinators
permitting them, before the 14th of October to go ahead with the test in
the conditions it did.”
The requested communications have been collated and are provided in the
attached. Email addresses for internal University mailing lists have been
withheld under section 9(2)(g)(ii) of the Official Information Act, to
maintain the effective conduct of public affairs by protecting University
staff from harassment. You have the right to make a complaint to an
Ombudsman if you are dissatisfied with this response.
University of Auckland