The WUR Council has conditionally approved the new resit policy. This means that the number of examination opportunities per course will be reduced from three to two. The number of resit periods will increase from two to three, spread over the year. The policy is to come into effect as of next academic year.
Students who fail their exam will henceforth have only one resit opportunity, rather than the current two. However, there will be two new opportunities in the year after that. The original proposal suggested a first resit opportunity in January, but one of the conditions for the approval was that this resit period is pushed to February. During that resit opportunity, exams of period 1 can be retaken. The second resit is in May when exams for the courses offered in periods 2, 3 and 4 can be retaken. Resits for periods 5 and 6 take place in July. The WUR council advises the executive board (EB) to allow students to also resit period 2 courses in February. This would require extending the resit period by one day.
Students have made hard demands regarding the planning of the academic year, but they also see the need for a change in policyJelle Behagel, WUR Council chair
The proposal was initiated by the EB. At this moment, WUR has the most lenient resit policy in the Netherlands. For years, attempts have been made to change the policy, mainly due to the high work pressure it causes teaching staff. WUR Council chair Jelle Belhagel: ‘teachers are happy that the number of resit opportunities is reduced from three to two. Students are aware that the change is necessary, although there were some concerns over the way the academic year is planned. In the original proposal, the first resit opportunity was planned immediately after the Christmas break, which, according to students, would cause considerable stress. There were also concerns about delays. Eventually, there was ample support for the proposal, under the condition that these concerns would be addressed.’
Sanne Vermeij, Student Council chair: ‘We organised a consultation session and have had extensive discussions with our constituents. This revealed that a resit opportunity immediately after the Christmas break would cause a lot of stress. Instead of resting during the Christmas holidays, students would already be worried about their exams. For many students, the few study days after the holidays are insufficient to relieve the mental pressure. Thus, one of the conditions is that the first resit period must be moved to February.’ Moreover, students who need to resit more frequently were left with no periods of rest during the year in the original proposal, says Vermeij. ‘That would make the year a long marathon. Now the Christmas break is a real breather, and we want to keep it that way.’
A resit opportunity immediately after the Christmas break would cause a lot of stress. Instead of resting during the Christmas holidays, students would already be worried about their examsSanne Vermeij, Student Council chair
Furthermore, exceptions must be made for students who incur unreasonable delays due to the new system, says Vermeij. ‘If you are in the final stages of your studies, and you fail a resit in July, you have to wait almost a year for a new opportunity. That hardly seems reasonable. In such cases, the student must be protected and be offered an extra resit option. How the procedure will be unfolded is still under debate.’
A lot of work
Belagel is happy the proposal was approved. ‘Students have made hard demands regarding the planning of the academic year, but they also see the need for a change in policy. That is wonderful to see. As a teacher, I am happy because it saves us a lot of work.’ Vermeij is also satisfied. ‘We worked hard to have the best possible arrangement for students.’