CASSI student feedback

Chartered Accountants Ireland and CASSI are working together to ensure that student concerns and anxieties are addressed as best and as quickly as possible during the ongoing period of uncertainty arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end CASSI surveyed students to gain insight into the main issues being experienced. We are happy to provide details of the feedback received here and our proposals to alleviate some of the common stressors.

CAP1, CAP2 and FAE

Student communication

The early weeks of the lockdown were stressful and uncertain. As a result, we were unable to issue some communications to students as quickly or as comprehensively as we would have liked. To ensure we continued to deliver a relevant programme and assessment we had to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including regulators. The clear request from all was that communication should not be issued until all matters were agreed. Once we had finalised the new arrangements that would apply during these uncertain times, it was communicated to students immediately. We will continue to ensure that students are updated at the earliest opportunity on any changes that might be required during this period of continued uncertainty.

Study leave

Many students are availing of study leave on a phased basis. While the Institute recommends the amount of study leave apportioned to each level of examinations we do not make recommendations regarding the timing of this leave. We are encouraging students to work with their firmsto find a solution that can accommodate both parties. Splitting study leave, if properly managed, should not be a significant disadvantage. Historically many students have advised that a long study break raises challenges to maintaining momentum and consistent focus. To help alleviate any stress and to assist you to gaining maximum value from your split study leave, we have designed some revision supports which will be made available over the coming days. Part of this solution will involve increased access to webinars, something students have specifically requested.

Training guidance

We have issued guidance on training requirements and how contracts are impacted by short-term layoffs. This is available in the COVID-19 Hub of our website. We encourage students to visit the Hub regularly for ongoing updates on issues they may be experiencing. If you have specific queries on your training contract please contact studentqueries@charteredaccountants.ie or trainingsupport@charteredaccountants.ie

Refunds

In relation to a possible refund for the deferment of interim assessments, etc, the decision to invoke the shutdown was a Government decision imposed on us for public health reasons; for this reason we will not be issuing any refunds.

CAP1

Interim Assessment

We note the frustration regarding the recent interim assessment associated with CAP1 Management Accounting. This assessment was always scheduled as part of the assessment of CAP1 Management Accounting. Unfortunately, on the day, we were let down by our partner’s software update malfunctioning. We have put contingency plans in place to ensure this does not happen again. The e-assessment platform is central to the assessment of our Professional Education programme. Going forward all students will be required to engage with the platform.

CAP2

Interim Assessment

The acceleration of the pandemic meant that we were prevented from running the Audit Interim Assessment in April. Material covered in the final exam is not affected by what is examined in the interim assessments. We note the loss of opportunity to have marks carried into the final examination;however, it has not proven possible to defer this interim examination. Indeed, getting exam halls for the revised main examination dates has been difficult given the ongoing pandemic.

Examination preparation

We have recently issued directions on how to access textbooks online; however, students are strongly advised to obtain a physical copy of their texts as a virtual copy is not allowed in the examination.   

Students will be invited to participate on additional webinars that address key topics. Importantly, we will make available a session on preparing for an open-book exam and exam technique.

CA Diary

Flexible Route students who have difficulties with the verification of working days required for FAE enrolment should contact the Training Support Unit. Chartered Accountants Ireland will apply a pragmatic approach to how the regulation relating minimum required number of days is applied.

FAE 

Mocks

The logistics of managing a virtual mock process when staff are working remotely has meant that the physical marking of mock papers is not feasible. We do know that students who engage with the feedback sessions put in place for self-marking which focus on exam technique and on “getting in the mind of the examiner” find the process very useful and beneficial. Arranging a cross-marking session with another student, where possible, should also assist you in your exam preparation.

Case days/block release

A key feature of the case days is the learning which is achieved without the solution at hand. Solutions will be shared after the case day is completed. This is designed to support the learning process and is a key aspect of the FAE learning journey. The case days will be run as a suite of webinars, which will also be recorded. Question and answer sessions are planned. The case day webinar timetable has recently been issued. If you have not received the detail please contact fae@charteredaccountants.ie

A block release had been scheduled immediately after the lockdown was announced. It was not possible to have webinars arranged in good time to support this block release. Webinars/recordings are now in place to address this issue.

Interim assessments

Cancellation of the FAE Elective Interim Assessment will not impact the weightings associated with exam topics. The weightings in all exams is determined by the competency statement. The fact that something was examined in the interim assessment does not mean it would not be re-examined in the final exam. As such the weightings will not change.

Examination preparation

In terms of the new materials on data analytics there is no requirement for you to download the software at this stage. The material presented in the classes was designed to provide you with practical and real examples rather than just theory. Students are strongly advised to work through the existing case materials on these topics as they are carefully mapped to cover all possible topics that are examinable.  

We can confirm that we are committed to running examinations this year on the revised dates. If needed, we will have contingency arrangements in place.

Books

We have recently issued directions on how to access textbooks online; however, students are strongly advised to obtain a physical copy of their texts as a virtual copy is not allowed in the examination.  

CA Support

We do acknowledge that the recent changes are stressful for everyone. There are significant supports and expert guidance on coping mechanisms and mental health on the CA Support website. 

Key contacts for students

CASSI@cassinetwork.ie

Other useful contacts

Studentqueries@charteredaccountants.ie

Trainingsupport@charteredaccountants.ie

CAP1@charteredaccountants.ie

CAP2@charteredaccountants.ie

FAE@charteredaccountants.ie

 

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