At Aston, we have allowed overseas students to use a foreign
language dictionary for many years.
Dictionaries are supplied and distributed by the Examinations Office -
this would expensive to start with, but we have built up our stocks
gradually over the years so that we now have an extensive collection of
more than 400 from Albanian to Urdu.Students complete a request
form in their first year, which is retained for the duration of their studies.
At the start of the examination period, a paper label for each student is
generated listing all of their modules, with dates, venue and desk
numbers. The labelled dictionaries are then distributed by assistant
invigilators together with stationery, calculators etc.
This is a very labour intensive system, but on the whole it works well. It
saves the need to check the students own dictionaries, and as far as
possible, it means that they all have access to the same information.
(some of the volumes that students try to bring in are very specialised
and contain far too much information!)
We have a few problems with this system -
1. Chinese - It is impossible to obtain copies of Traditional script
Chinese, as used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and at the moment it is
difficult to keep up with the numbers Simplified script for students from
P.R. China. When we cannot supply an appropriate dictionary,
students are asked to submit their own to the Examinations Office. We
check them for crib notes (we ask a member of staff to translate any
notes that have been written inside), and then we label them and retain
them for the duration of the exam period.
2 We find that very often, at the start of an exam, a student will ask for
a dictionary that they have not requested. In the past we have usually
found one for them, but it is a nuisance and we have resolved to be
more firm in the future!
3 The system relies on getting all of the dictionaries back from every
room, twice or three times daily, and re-sorting them for the next
session - some students have two exams in a day. We lose a few each
> Dear All,
> We have recently amended our regulations to allow the use of
> dictionaries in undergraduate exams, for students whose first language
> is not English. I am aware that a number of Universities do allow this
> to occur and would like to know how you administrate this process. In
> particular, how do you implement a system of checking of the
> dictionaries for this group of students, to maintain the security of
> the exam?
> Many thanks
> Helen Roberts
> Administrative Officer
> University Examinations Office
> Planning Office, The Registry
> University of East Anglia
> NR4 7TJ
> Tel: (+44)(0)1603 593616
> Fax: (+44)(0)1603 593718
> E-mail: [log in to unmask]
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