In our e-mail of 7 January, we outlined our existing no-detriment measures for this assessment period, including changes to policy which we had already made in November 2020. These measures were designed to help ensure that your assessments will not be unfairly affected by the current Covid restrictions. We have improved our processes for Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMC) and coursework extensions, and enabled the deferral of examinations where needed, in order to support you during Semester 1 assessment.
The principle that we seek to follow is that your assessment marks should mitigate any detriment due to Covid. In practice, ‘no detriment measures’ can only be fully enacted at the end of the academic year, and given the continuing uncertainty due to the pandemic, it is right to take a final decision on what measures should be enacted near the final assessments. Therefore, this year we are making some changes now, recognising the impact of Covid on the January assessments and will be keeping a close watch on unfolding events to make sure we are providing the academic and wellbeing support that you need. As the academic year progresses, we will continue to assess if further actions are needed to support you.
In the short term, however, in addition to existing no-detriment measures, we have added to these to make sure there is a further safeguard in place for our eventual academic decision-making about your outcomes. We have paid close attention to the messages we have received and listened to student representatives and we have now been able to address at least three of the requests outlined by The SU. Our no-detriment measures achieve this support without compromising our academic standards or the value of your degree in comparison to degrees we have awarded in the past or will award in the future.
Significant no-detriment measure now agreed as additional safeguard
This week, following consultation with our Senate, the University has agreed an additional no-detriment measure to act as a safeguard for your outcomes where your performance has been affected. Boards of Examiners for Programmes will be allowed to use the additional discretion available in the Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMC) regulations, if that is appropriate in your academic circumstances, regardless of whether you have a valid IMC claim or not. This measure was an important part of our 2019/20 no-detriment measures. It will work in tandem with our other arrangements as mitigation for any Covid disruption to your progression or award outcomes.
This measure lets our Boards of Examiners take decisions within our assessment regulations beyond what would normally be allowed for your academic situation. They will consider this for you where relevant even if you do not have a valid IMC.
We should be clear that these additional measures do not allow Boards of Examiners to change marks for an attempt or allow you to take an assessment again for a better mark if you’ve already passed. Importantly, these measures will make sure we have important additional safeguards available when we consider the effect of those marks on your final outcomes.
More information about “no detriment” measures
If you are experiencing difficulties with assessment at the moment, please do read more about your no-detriment options on our exams and assessments webpage. These options include deferring your exam until you are able to take it without disruption, or claiming an IMC if you want to let us know that your performance was significantly disrupted on a single assessment or on all assessments for a reason not already covered by the general effects of the pandemic.
Updated guidance for no-detriment IMCs is being prepared and will be available online shortly, so you will be able to clearly understand the support that is in place and what your options are. In the meantime, you can refer to the existing online guidance available if you are experiencing any difficulty and/or speak to your Director of Studies or personal tutor. The Exams Emergency Helpline (+44 (0)1225 387500, or at email@example.com) is also open throughout the exam period for Inspera support.
As stated above, we will continue to review all no detriment measures as the academic year progresses, including looking at evolving best practice from the rest of the sector and we will continue to work with The SU on this important matter.