We pay huge tribute to our students for working under challenging conditions and we are aware that studying and revising has not been easy in light of Covid-19 restrictions. And we appreciate many of you will have had individually difficult circumstances, whether you have remained with us here in Bath or travelled elsewhere for the winter break. The new Government national lockdown in England has also led to understandable anxiety among students.
We also understand the strength of feeling among students about measures to ensure that your performance is not adversely affected by the impact of the Covid crisis. The SU in particular has been very helpful in advocating for students and helping find ways forward.
Therefore, we have been looking at the issue of ‘no detriment’ to give you full confidence that your assessments will not be unfairly affected by the current Covid restrictions.
Teaching and Assessment in 2020/21
We have been able to complete the vast majority of our planned ‘Bath Blend’ of teaching in Semester 1, which involved redesigning our courses to account for delivery of significantly increased levels of content online.
In addition, our assessments have been designed to be online and we have removed the requirement for you to take invigilated written exams on campus.
For many of you, the open-book exam format and 24-hour submission window will provide greater flexibility for you to attempt your assessments.
What is the University's overall approach to ‘no-detriment’ measures for assessments in 2020/21?
We want to take all reasonable steps to ensure you, our students, suffer no detriment in light of the circumstances you face.
Therefore, we are taking the following overall steps, whilst maintaining academic standards and the value of our high-quality Bath qualifications:
Boards of Examiners for Units must consider performance against previous years’ averages to ensure that your cohort is not unfairly disadvantaged by the impacts of Covid-19. They will compare this assessment period’s results against the past three ‘normal’ years e.g. pre-Covid, and may adjust marks if there are anomalies.
Boards of Examiners for Programmes (BEPs) will take action to account for individual mitigating circumstances (IMCs). IMCs allow BEPs to take account of the general impact of Covid-19 on your studies when considering your progression and award. BEPs and Boards of Studies have a responsibility to consider results in the round from Semester 1 and Semester 2 when approving outcomes.
In addition, and in recognition of potential current and future disruption, we have made changes to our assessment policies to make it easier for you to get an extension for coursework, do your exams later in the year or claim an IMC.
We have asked departments to take a more flexible approach to requests for coursework deadline extensions. We have granted many more individual coursework deadline extensions than in usual years, without requiring evidence.
We have made it easier for you to take your exam later (“defer your exam attempt”) before the end of the exam or exam submission deadline:
- If you are unable to do an exam properly, or at all, at its normally scheduled time, due to your circumstances, you can let us know that you need to defer your attempt.
- Deferring your exam means that you will later take a different but similar exam designed to test the same learning outcomes; this is known as ‘like for like’ reassessment.
- You will be able to defer your exam right up to the point of submission.
We have made it easier for you to submit an Individual Mitigating Circumstance (IMC):
- An IMC claim for an assessment can now be submitted up to seven calendar days after the affected assessment. In addition, you can now submit one report form making IMC claims for multiple exams, submitted up to seven calendar days after the end of the exam period.
- Evidence requirements have been made more flexible given the difficult pandemic circumstances. There is no requirement that you need to provide formal medical evidence if your IMC relates to illness because we understand that may not be possible this year. You should however provide as much evidence as you can to clarify the case you are making.
- We have made the IMC form simpler and easier for you to use.
- Your IMCs can include specific Covid-related reasons for disruption to your assessment or performance during assessment, including disruption of work environment.
In addition, we are also currently considering the issue of ‘no detriment’ with our Senate, the committee whose approval is required for any further measures. We will keep you informed of further developments.
What is going to happen with assessments in the summer of 2021?
It is important to note that Semester 1 assessments form part of your assessment for this whole academic year. As well as ensuring no detriment to you now, we will continue to carefully review our policy and approach ahead of the summer assessment period in light of the circumstances now and in the coming months.
As always, if you are worried about the impact of Covid-19 on your studies or assessment please seek advice from your Director of Studies or personal tutor as early as possible. The SU Bath Advice & Support Centre can provide general advice and guidance. Student Services, the Library, and the Skills Centre are also there to support you.