Undergraduate Education Safeguard Details

Our Education Safeguard Principles 

Our Undergraduate Education Safeguard for 2021 provides a set of actions which the University may take to:  

  1. Ensure that the overall degree classification profile for this year’s graduating class will be as strong as the outcomes from previous academic years. 
  2. Ensure that assessment is fair and equitable, with mitigation for the challenges students have faced because of the pandemic throughout the 2020/21 academic year. 
  3. Provide a level of individual support for students coupled with protection for the outcomes of the whole cohort. 
  4. Balance protection of outcomes with the requirement that our awards remain consistent with national standards and hold their value. 

Education Safeguard Measures 

We have built our Education Safeguard for 2020/21 to include a wide range of mechanisms that will support students in different ways, reflecting the different and complex ways the conditions caused by the pandemic have impacted on students’ studies. Every student faces a different set of circumstances and challenges and we have developed a package of support to cover a broad set of needs.  

The 2020/21 Education Safeguard will consist of the following measures: 

  1. Reducing the Evidence Requirements for Mitigating Circumstances. “Self-certification” (a reduction of evidence requirements for health-related mitigating claims) will be extended for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year.  Self-certification can provide access to a deadline extension or to deferral of an assessment, to help support students experiencing significant challenges engaging with their studies during a particular period of time. This applies to undergraduate programmes, unless your academic school indicates that PSRB requirements prevent this. You can apply for Mitigating Circumstances via MystudentRecord and full details of the mitigating circumstances policy are available online.
  2. An Option to Defer Assessments. For students who may be facing very significant challenges and feel unable to engage with their studies effectively, we have provided more options to defer your assessments to later in 2021.  If you choose to defer your May assessments you can take them in early August 2021 (the additional assessment period commences on 2 August), along with any other re-assessments you may be due to take from the first semester.  If you choose to defer your assessments, you should be aware that this will mean that the award of your degree or the decision regarding your progression to the next year of your studies will be delayed until at least September 2021. You should discuss your options with your School to ensure that you are aware of the impact of deferral on your studies before making your decision. The option to defer assessment attempts will apply automatically to all students, unless there is a professional accreditation requirement that prevents this.  Your School will advise you of any limitations.
  3. Uncapping of Reassessment. Wherever possible and permitted by PSRB requirements, students will be granted an uncapped reassessment of any failed module. This uncapped reassessment attempt is in addition to any further uncapped reassessment attempts (“sits”) granted through the mitigating circumstances process.  A very small minority of modules, e.g. where there may be non-repeatable assessments, could be exempt from this policy and your academic school will provide advice on this.  

Additional measures to support fair degree classifications 

To support students who pass all modules, but whose overall performance may have been impacted by the pandemic, we are committed to ensuring that the overall degree classification of the 2021 graduating class is as strong as in previous academic years.  

To ensure the University can deliver on this commitment, the Education Safeguard includes additional measures that are available to the University in the event that there is evidence that overall student outcomes at cohort level have been negatively impacted this year when compared with previous academic years.  

4. For finalists, the University may apply either or both of the following measures:

i. Removal of up to 30 credits of modules studied and assessed in 2020/21 when calculating the Credit Weighted Average (CWA) for the 2020/21 academic year. The CWA is the “year mark” that is included in the degree classification calculation, please see section 5 for more details.  The module removed from the calculation would be the 30 credits in a student’s profile with the lowest marks on an individual basis.

To be eligible for this element of the Education Safeguard, a student would have to pass all modules studied and assessed in 2020/21. This element would be applied at the point of award, which would be July for students who have successfully attempted and passed all modules at the first attempt or August for those students who have deferred their assessment or are required to undertake re-assessment. 

Please note that mandatory final year project or dissertation modules cannot be discounted from the CWA for the year due to their centrality to the learning outcomes of the programme. This restriction is required to ensure that our degree outcomes remain consistent with national standards and retain their value. Any students who are experiencing difficulties with their dissertation or project should seek guidance from their School and consider the application of other elements of the Education Safeguard.  

All modules and marks will appear on students’ transcripts, regardless of whether they are used as part of the CWA calculation. No individual student assessment or module marks will be adjusted on the basis of the above credit discount. 

ii. Adjusting the degree classification boundaries by a maximum of 1%. This would apply to the credit weighted average thresholds set out for degree awarding via the University’s preponderance scheme and/or to qualify for consideration as a borderline student. The current Senate Regulations for classifying degrees to which this would apply are online. 

5. For non-finalist students where the 2020/21 CWA contributes to the degree mark (e.g. current second years), the option to discount up to 30 credits of modules studied and assessed in 2020/21 can be retained to the point of degree awarding where there is evidence that outcomes from 2020/21 may have had a negative impact on students’ overall classification rates. If implemented, the discount would relate to the lowest 30 credits from 2020/21 being discounted from the calculation of the CWA for that level of study.