4.16 Appendix 1 Covid-19 Window of Opportunity: Undergraduate Degrees (2019/20)

Appendix 1 Covid-19 Window of Opportunity: Undergraduate Degrees (2019/20)

All Special Circumstances for final year undergraduate students who fall within the 2% borderline in June or September 2020

1. Preponderance

It is recommended that the preponderance rule usually applied to the 1% window is applied to the 2% window to recognise the circumstances facing all of our students in this exceptional year as a result of Covid-19, and/or as a result of other special circumstances affecting individual students during semester two of the 2019-20 academic year, therefore:

Students whose cascade average falls within 2% of any borderline SHALL be raised to the higher class provided they meet one of the following criteria:

a) EITHER at least 50% of credits over Part Two as a whole, excluding Sandwich Year or Year Abroad, and also excluding any modules with Q indicators, in the upper class or above;

OR

b) at least two thirds of the final 120 Part Two credits excluding modules with Q indicators in the upper class or above.

This has the benefit of dealing with many WOO cases fairly, consistently and efficiently.

2. Special Circumstances Panel

Students whose cascade average falls within 2% of any borderline who have not been raised on preponderance MAY be raised, on the recommendation of the University Special Circumstances Panel, to the higher class if their performance in semester two of 2020 has been affected.

Departments will be provided with a form to complete for all students falling within the 2% window in June or September 2020 but who do not meet the preponderance criteria.  Departments must give clear information on the reasons they support or do not support the award of the higher class of degree, having considered whether or not it is likely that the student would have achieved the higher class of degree had Covid-19 not affected semester two of 2019-20.

Departments should include the following factors* in their deliberations before arriving at a recommendation to the Panel:  *See https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/guidance/no-detriment-policies-an-overview.pdf

(a) Whether or not the student has been negatively impacted by the replacement of traditional examinations and/or certain other forms of assessment (e.g. practical exercises) with alternative assessments, or whether similar impact has arisen because marks have been derived from component assessments in certain modules, or whether the student would likely have achieved higher marks in modules with Q indicators than their overall average

(b) The timing of submission of the dissertation (later submission dates mean it is more likely that Covid-19 would have impacted upon achievement in the dissertation/major project module, whether through changes to the methodology, scope or even the topic of the project or through limitations on the research and writing)

(c) The student’s overall profile of marks across Part Two and whether there has been a dip in performance in semester two of 2019-20; if there is a dip, would the student have achieved the higher class had they performed at their previous level or indeed shown exit velocity, and would that likely have been the case without the impact of Covid-19?

The University Special Circumstances panel will discuss all cases falling into this category to ensure consistency and fairness across the Faculties. The panel will consider the above, alongside the recommendation from the department during their deliberations.

If the Special Circumstances Panel considers that not enough information has been provided by the department, the Panel must seek further information from the department ahead of the Senate Examination Board.

NB. As agreed at Senate, students will be given the opportunity to accept or decline an indicative class of degree as soon as results are available. Students also retain the right of appeal.

3. Non-Covid-19 special circumstances arising in semester two of 2019-20 or in previous semesters

We have confirmed that students do not need to complete special circumstances forms in semester two, either for non-submission or because they believe special circumstances have adversely impacted their performance.

Where departments have received special circumstances forms earlier in semester two (or even during the lockdown) these should be recorded at examination boards but will not have a bearing on module and window of opportunity decisions in semester two.  Special circumstances evidence noted by departmental exam boards from previous semesters should be considered in the normal manner, but semester two 2019-20 will be considered on the basis of the marks alone, to ensure consistent treatment of all students, whether affected by Covid-19 or other circumstances.