Safeguard FAQs

How is the University going to protect me against the risk that my degree result may be lower this year?

We have built our Safeguard to include a range of mechanisms that will support students in different ways. These include opening up the option to defer, reducing the evidence requirements for mitigating circumstances and offering students uncapped re-sit assessments for failed modules.

The Safeguard also commits the University to carefully analyse student outcomes this year and gives us the means to adjust the scheme of classification for degrees in the summer of 2021, if there is evidence that overall student outcomes have been negatively impacted when compared with previous academic years.

Will the Safeguard be applied automatically?

The options to defer and the uncapping of re-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 limitation on this.

The other aspects of the Safeguard such as the potential to exclude modules from your Credit Weighted Average Calculation for the year, or to reduce the borderline requirements, will not be automatically applied. The University will review the outcomes from assessment in January and May 2021 and will apply these further measures if there is evidence that outcomes at a cohort level have been negatively affected in comparison with previous academic years.

Do I have to pass all modules to access the safeguard?

Some aspects of the Safeguard will apply automatically, such as the opportunity to defer your assessments or granting uncapped re-assessment where you have failed an assessment unless there are specific professional accreditation requirements which prevent this.

In order to access any reclassification of degrees that may occur at cohort level you will be required to have passed all your modules in this academic year (2020/21).

You should continue to study and attempt all your assessments for the rest of the year or request mitigating circumstances if you cannot.

If I have not met the requirements for the whole Safeguard due to failed modules, could I still get my degree this summer?

Some elements of the Safeguard such as extending self-certification and uncapped re-sits apply to all students regardless of whether you have passed everything, except where there are specific professional requirements for your course.

You may still be eligible to be awarded a degree without being able to access all the elements of the Safeguard if you meet the requirements set out in Senate Regulation 5, but there is a chance that the classification may be lower as a result. The Board of Examiners will review your results and confirm whether you may be eligible to obtain a higher degree classification as a result of taking your re-assessments. You will then be able to choose whether you wish to graduate in the summer or take re-sits and graduate later.

You should be aware that although re-sitting may give you the opportunity to improve your classification this is not automatic and will depend on your results in the re-sits.

I have failed some of my modules but I have accepted mitigating circumstances, will I be eligible for the Safeguard?

Some aspects of the Safeguard will apply automatically, such as the opportunity to defer your assessments or granting uncapped re-assessment where you have failed an assessment, except where there are specific professional requirements for your course.

If you have failed a module due to mitigating circumstances then you would be able to access the other measures set out in the Safeguard, such as the potential discounting of credits from your credit weighted average, once you have undertaken your re-assessments and achieved a pass mark for all modules studied and assessed in 2020/21.

You may still be eligible to be awarded a degree without the Safeguard and you may wish to take this option rather than wait to undertake re-assessment.  You will be advised of your options following the Board of Examiners meeting and you will be able to decide whether you wish to graduate at that time or take re-assessment with the opportunity of graduating later.

I am re-sitting without residence in the 2020/21 academic year, does the Safeguard apply to me?

No, the Safeguard applies to students who are studying and undertaking assessment in 2020/21.  Students who are re-sitting without residence may request to defer their assessments but are not eligible for the other aspects of the Education Safeguard, such as uncapped re-assessment or the removal of credits.  This is on the basis that students already undertook the assessments in question in 2019/20 and have already had their uncapped attempts. Students who were studying in 2019/20 are also eligible to access the “Safety Net” that was in place for that academic year at the point that they receive their award.

I am undertaking first sits without residence in 2020/21, can I access the Safeguard?

No, students who undertook their active studies in 2019/20 will be eligible to be considered under the Safety Net Policy from that academic year and will not be eligible for the Safeguard.

I am undertaking a repeat year in 2020/21, will the Safeguard apply to me?

Yes.  Undertaking a repeat year means that you are studying your modules as if for the first time, and no module marks are carried over from the previous year.  On this basis you will be eligible for all aspects of the Safeguard.

If the 2020/21 cohort is found to have achieved lower outcomes across the University, how will the modules that would be discounted be identified?

This change (the removal of 30 credits from the credit weighted average) will only be implemented if, following analysis, there is evidence that student outcomes across the whole University graduating cohort in 2021 have been negatively impacted compared to previous years. In the event that it is applied, the 30 credits of complete modules with the lowest score would be removed from the CWA for the 2020/21 academic year. Project or dissertation modules cannot be discounted, with the exception of where these are optional within the programme.

If a student has equally low scores across more than 30 credits of modules (for example a 15 and a 30 credit module) then the University would discount the lowest whole modules up to a maximum value of 30 credits.

It is not possible to discount partial credits (for example half of a 30-credit module).

Will the rules for classification under the preponderance scheme be changed this year?

No, these rules will not be changed. The preponderance rules are an alternative means of deriving a classification for your degree. For example, if you do not achieve a credit weighted average of 60% you may still be able to be awarded a 2:1 if you achieve a credit weighted average of 58%, and you have enough credits with marks of 60% or higher. The rules regarding the number of credits required in this scenario are not changing for 2020/21 and can be found in Senate Regulation 5 (2018/19).

My lowest mark is in my dissertation, why can this not be discounted?

Your degree is governed by national requirements in terms of what a bachelors (or integrated masters) degree in your subject area should contain. This is essential to ensure that your degree is comparable with those from other universities and that it holds its value over time. Such requirements usually specify the importance of individual, independent substantial research and this is also a requirement of many professional bodies and accreditors. In order to ensure that your degree meets these key benchmarks, your final year project is required to be included in your credit weighted average calculation, with the exception of where the project or dissertation is an optional element of your course.

My dissertation module has a mark that is much lower than my other modules, will another module be discounted instead?

Discounting your next lowest module may not improve your credit weighted average.  A discount will only be applied if your credit weighted average for the year will be improved as a result.

My course carries specific professional requirements, will the Safeguard apply to me?

There may be some subject areas, particularly those in Medicine and Allied Health areas, where professional requirements mean that it is not possible for the Safeguard to apply. You will be contacted by your school to confirm whether this applies to your course.

I am not graduating this year, will the progression requirements for me to move into the next year of my course be adjusted in light of the Pandemic?

No, the progression requirements for your course will be the same as those that were set out in the regulations when you registered. For the majority of students in years 1 and 2 (or year 3 of an integrated Masters programme such as an MChem, MGeol, MBiolSci etc.) this will be the rules set out in Senate Regulation 5 (2018/19 entry).

The schemes of progression are designed to ensure that you are able to demonstrate sufficient achievement and mastery of your subject to allow you to cope with the greater demands of the next level of your programme. If you do not meet the minimum threshold set out for progression then you are not able to move into the next year of your programme as the workload associated with undertaking additional re-assessment next year would negatively impact your ability to study your new modules.

Your credit weighted average for the purposes of progression, or the award of compensated fail, will be on the basis of all of the 120 credits that you have studied this year.

I have failed a module, will I be re-assessed in the same way as the original assessment?

Wherever possible the original assessment pattern for the module will be used, but in some situations this not possible as the original assessment cannot be re-created. In such cases you may be required to undertake an alternative form of assessment and your school will advise you.

There are some modules, such as those with significant practical requirements (laboratory modules etc.) where it may not be possible to offer re-assessment, other than in the event of mitigating circumstances.

Will any of my module marks on my transcript change as a result of the Safeguard?

No, none of your individual assessment or module marks will change as a result of the Safeguard.  All the module marks that you have achieved will appear on your transcript, including those which may potentially be excluded from the credit weighted average.

I am in my second year. If my performance is lower this year as a result of the pandemic, could it affect my final degree?

On the majority of programmes the second year contributes 33% to the overall credit weighted average for the year. If you are on an integrated masters programme (MChem, MGeol etc.) then it contributes 20%. As a second-year student you have access to some elements of the Safeguard such as uncapped re-sits and deferral, but the progression requirements to move to the next year and the contribution that this year makes to your overall degree will not change.

The Board of Examiners will review the outcomes from the assessments in January and May 2021 and if the pandemic has had a negative impact in comparison with previous years, the University will consider actions that can be taken at that point.

Do I need mitigating circumstances to apply for deferral?

No, if you wish to defer your assessments you can simply email your school by the relevant deadline. This deadline will be provided for the May assessments shortly.

Can I choose which assessments to defer?

No, if you wish to defer you can only defer all the assessments that are due in the period in question.

When will I take my deferred assessments?

As standard, these will be undertaken in the August re-assessment window, commencing on 2 August 2021.

If I defer my assessments to August 2021 will this affect my progression?

If you do not pass enough of your assessments in August 2021 to meet the University progression rules you may not be able to progress, and you should take this into account in your decision.

I have marginally passed a module, can I re-sit it?

You cannot resit any of the individual assessments that you have passed. Where an undergraduate student has passed a module but failed components within this, they may request to re-sit the failed component for an uncapped mark. This applies to students who are under the Senate Regulation 5 that was in place from 2018/19. This option is not available to students on masters or integrated masters programmes.

If you are unsure which regulations apply to you, please contact your school.

There may be some components that you are not able to re-sit due to the nature of the assessment. Your school will be able to advise you of these.

I have been found guilty of academic misconduct (plagiarism) in one assessment and am required to re-sit, will that be uncapped.

No, re-sits required for academic misconduct reasons will be capped.

I failed modules in semester 1, will my re-sit for these be uncapped?

Yes, unless there are specific professional or other reasons which do not permit this.

Will the Safeguard apply to students registered on distance learning programmes?

The Education Safeguard will apply to students registered on distance learning programmes, but will vary between programmes and levels of study to reflect variations between distance learning programme structures and assessment schedules. We will work with Schools to decide how the Safeguard principles should be applied for their students.