Postgraduate taught assessment plans for 2020: Response and mitigation for coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic
In last week’s message, we explained that we will be replacing face-to-face, invigilated examinations with alternative assessments as the best way to support you so that you can graduate this year, or if you are a part-time student progress to your final year. In some cases this will mean adjusting our normal progression requirements, so please check with your school for this.
The approach to assessment that we are explaining to you today acknowledges the disruption that has occurred and provides a practical solution that will allow you to move forward. Our goal is that despite the events of this year, you will be able to complete your degree and graduate.
There will be three types of alternative assessments: written pieces for text-based subjects, problem-solving exercises for numerical subjects and quizzes. You will not be asked to attempt any alternative assessment in a format you have not encountered on the course already. To help you there will be opportunities to practice matters such as uploading the assessment next term. Alternative assessments will usually be completed within a 23 hour timeframe, apart from some numerical tasks which will have alternative guidelines. We have done this so that people can complete the tasks no matter what time zone they are in and if they have access to slower broadband, etc.
Our PGT programme portfolio is very broad and assessment deadlines are very varied. Each school will provide details of the submission dates of current assessments so please consult those pages. Final dissertation/project deadlines are not being changed from those already announced to you because we are aware that many of you need your qualifications to take up employment or further study and we do not want to jeopardise that. However, some of you will need to reshape your proposed projects and we advise that you discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible so that they can support you through this.
Information on assessments for schools
The links to your school pages for assessment details can be found here.
No detriment stance - Safety Net and Best Credits policy
Our commitment to you is that you will not be academically disadvantaged as a direct result of the pandemic. We will do this in two ways; a ‘Safety Net’ (sometimes called a 'no detriment' policy) and a Best Credits policy.
Both the Safety Net and Best Credits policy seek to ensure that, as far as possible, we minimise the impact on you of the disruption you have experienced. The Safety Net means that where possible we will use your academic performance to date to create a baseline for your degree calculation. It guarantees that your final degree classification will not drop below that baseline. As with our undergraduate students we will be basing the safety net on cases where you have completed at least a third of your current modules (60 credits). This will include any work submitted before Monday 2 March. For part-time students who are in their first year, the Safety Net policy will mean that you will not receive an overall average for Year 1 that is lower than your Year 2 marks, for second year students your first year work and other previous work will count as your Safety Net against this year’s marks.
Where you have missing component marks for modules that you cannot finish, due to their teaching method, then we will scale the components that you have scores for in order to reach your module score. Where entire modules, such as field work, have not been able to be completed then we will discount that module from your overall average.
The Best Credits policy means that we will calculate a mark that will be based on the best results you have received from at least 150 credits out of the 180 credits that you are taking. This means that you will be able to discount modules up to a credit value of 30; our programmes have different credit weightings so for some students this will mean discounting a module worth 20 credits, and for others a module worth 30 credits. You will not be able to split module scores to make up exactly 30 credits. The Best Credits policy means that your lowest marks will not be used to calculate your final year mark. However, we will still expect you to pass each module (pass mark 50%) and units that are mandatory for the programme or for professional body accreditation you will not be able to make available for discount.
To determine your degree result, we will compare your Safety Net mark (if applicable) with the figure we calculate under the Best Credits policy. If your classification outcome calculated under the Best Credits policy is higher than your Safety Net baseline, then you will be awarded the higher classification. If your classification outcome calculated under the Best Credits policy is lower than your Safety Net baseline, you will be awarded the classification based on that baseline i.e. your degree classification can only go up from the Safety Net baseline, not down.
If you do not pass the alternative assessment held in May/June then you will be given an uncapped attempt at a resit to compensate for the change of assessment format. For those students sitting assessments with a capped restriction that would be maintained in the event of any further resit.
Examinations and assessments 2020 information hub
The changes to examined assessments on your course, further information including additional support will be hosted on the Examinations and Assessments 2020 information hub.
The hub will continue to be updated to include helpful information about how to understand your assessment and how to undertake assessment online.
Arrangements for students with exam access arrangements
Some students registered with the Disability & Dyslexia Service (D&DS) will have been eligible for exam access arrangements for assessments conducted under ‘normal’ exam conditions.
The window of time to submit online assessments has been constructed to allow sufficient time for all students to complete their assessments. It includes any additional time previously awarded as a reasonable adjustment for D&DS students.
Disability specific guidance for the new assessment methods is being prepared by D&DS and will be distributed to registered students when individual timetables are published.
D&DS registered students who have questions about their ability to work to the new assessment formats or about arrangements other than extra time should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We have outlined the measures we are taking to mitigate against the effects of coronavirus (Covid-19) on examinations and general disruption. If you are particularly affected due to illness or support for those who are vulnerable, you can still submit extenuating circumstances.
If you would prefer not to be assessed through an alternative form to face-to-face exams you can defer this assessment to next year. You would still be liable for full fees this year but would not be charged for next year. For further details contact your School Director of PGT Education.
If you no longer feel that you want to study for your dissertation or project and wish to be awarded a qualification for your taught components of the course you are able to take a postgraduate diploma for completing all coursework (120 credits). Your classification will be calculated using the Safety Net and Best Credit policies outlined above. With regard to Best Credit you will be able to discount up to 30 credits. You are able to return to study to complete a Masters degree at a point within three years, please contact your School Director of PGT Education to discuss the feasibility of this.
Where to ask for more help
If you have a question about an individual module, please contact your module tutor or lead. If you have a broader question, please check the link to our school pages or the information hub. If you have general questions on a topic that’s not answered on the hub, please email email@example.com and we will provide additional information via the hub if required. Please note that the College is closed from Thursday 9 April until Wednesday 15 April and we wish you a restful Easter break - and please do stick to the rules for social distancing over the holiday period.
We are committed to supporting you through this difficult time; we hope you are safe and well and we look forward to working with you virtually to complete your studies.
Professor James Knowles, Senior Vice-Principal (Education)
Professor David Gilbert, Vice-Principal (Quality and Standards)