Email to students from PVC (Learning & Teaching) - 15.01.21
I hope this message finds you well.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
I hope you find this helpful.
Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching)
Email to students from PVC (Learning & Teaching) - 25.11.20
I hope you are well. I am writing to update you on some of the ways we will be supporting you as part of our 2020/21 “no detriment” policy. This year we are focusing our measures on flexibility in response to any disruption to your assessment you may experience.
Further guidance about the measures described will be available online by 9 December 2020.
“No detriment” in 2020/21: Measures to reduce Covid-19 impact
Last year, the sudden disruption of semester 2 2020 meant we needed to put in place broad, emergency measures, which included treating your semester 2 outcomes as though they had IMCs, and classification safety-nets.
This year, our “no-detriment” policy has been developed in a different context. Your learning and assessments have been designed to respond to the impact of Covid-19 and its challenges through the Bath Blend, digital examinations (using Inspera software), and flexibility in your learning and our teaching. Our Covid-19 measures this year therefore focus on helping you manage any individual difficulties you may still experience, particularly when it comes to your assessments. Other universities are taking a similar approach for no-detriment policy in 2020/21.
The aim of our 2020/21 “no-detriment” measures is to reduce the impact of any disruption you may experience when you are preparing for and attempting your assessments. They are designed to give you the extra time you may need if you aren’t able to engage properly at your normal assessment time. While these measures will be familiar to you, we have revised them so they are more flexible to what you may need in light of the ongoing pandemic.
Exam deferrals: We will keep the self-certified (no evidence or approval required) examination deferrals we introduced as part of no-detriment last year, allowing you to attempt your exam in the supplementary period in the summer instead of at the end of semester 1 or 2 if necessary. This year you will need to notify us in advance of your submission deadline. Detailed guidance for 2020/21 about exam deferrals will be available by 9 December 2020.
Extensions: We will not require evidence for the significant majority of coursework extensions, and where we do it will be primarily to allow the right length of extension to be agreed for you. Where an extension isn’t the right option for a particular type of coursework, potential alternatives can be discussed. Your department/Faculty/the School will let you know more details about extensions.
IMCs: We are applying greater flexibility to the timing of IMCs this year. While you will again need to claim regarding any assessment you feel has been impacted, we have increased the submission time (up to 7 calendar days, instead of the previous 3 days). Detailed guidance for 2020/21 about IMCs, evidence requirements, and a revised form will be available by 9 December 2020.
We will keep a careful watch as the year progresses to make sure that our approach remains responsive to what is needed. We continue to work closely with the Students’ Union to better understand your experiences.
Further guidance about extensions, deferrals, IMCs, and available support is currently being developed for the website. I know this will be important to you, so please bear with us while we work on getting it as clear as we can—we want it to be as helpful to you as possible so that you understand all your options and their implications for your academic progress.
Please rest assured that the University seeks to support students as best as it can during assessments and we believe the approach we are taking is appropriate, fair and supportive.
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.
With best wishes, Peter