In 2016/17 we started talking with students and staff about the shape of our academic year. Kent is relatively unusual in having only one main assessment period in the Summer. Most universities have two assessment periods, in Winter and Summer. This doesn’t mean more exams, just that they are split out across the year. This has a number of benefits:
- Students are assessed on their Autumn term modules after they are taught them rather than at the end of the year - many find this less stressful than having all exams in the Summer
- They receive marks and feedback in February, so they know how they’re progressing and where they need to focus
- Assessments are spaced more evenly across the year rather than bunched at the end, which can help with time management.
The proposals to change the academic year at Kent
There are different ways we could structure the academic year at Kent:
Option 1: Introduction of a Winter exam period, with the rest of the academic year remaining the same
With Option 1, an assessment period would be added between the two main teaching blocks. There would be little disruption to the rest of the academic year. There would be a shorter revision period before the May / June exams and the Spring Term would still be disrupted with Easter.
Option 2: Introduction of a Winter exam period along with an Easter break to coincide with the Easter public holiday
Option 2 would include an assessment period between the two main teaching blocks. With this structure, the Easter vacation would coincide with Easter breaks elsewhere making it easier to spend time with friends and family. There would be a slightly shorter revision period between the end of the Spring Term and start of exams.
Option 3: Introduction of a Winter exam period along with an Easter break, and shorter teaching terms to spread teaching and assessment evenly across the year
With Option 3, the new assessment period would be included along with the Easter vacation to coincide with holidays elsewhere. The structure would also include spaced out revision time between the end of the two main teaching blocks.
Give your feedback
We want your help to shape these proposals and determine which is best for Kent.
We’ve included a few FAQs below. If you have a question that isn’t
answered here, please contact us via the feedback form.
Students would receive feedback on their marks after the Interim Board in February. These marks would be provisional and ratified at the Summer Exam Board.
The proposed changes will not increase the volume of assessment, rather change how it is spaced across the year. Students will be assessed on teaching after they have completed it rather than at the end of the year. Evidence from Kent Union and our Student Support and Wellbeing service suggests that this will help to alleviate the stress many students feel in the Summer.
No, the proposed changes allow for revision to be built into term time. Many Schools currently provide revision support during vacation times. This can disadvantage some students who may not be available, for example international students or those who have caring responsibilities.
Many PGT courses already have assessments at the end of the autumn term and the proposals will formalise this. PGR students will broadly be unaffected.
Any changes to the shape of our academic calendar will need to be carefully considered and planned for. We also need to understand the full impact on our staff and student community. We will not bring in any changes until this work has fully completed.
Not necessarily. Schools will be asked to consider what is most appropriate for their discipline and will structure their study programmes accordingly. This means that some may continue with year-long modules where students are assessed at the end of the academic year.
This will depend on the option chosen. You can see the term dates for all options in The Proposals section.