Louis Ashworth

All final year undergraduate students set to take their exams next term will not receive a class mark lower than what they achieved last year, according to new guidelines issued today by the University.

The University announced via its Coronavirus FAQ page that it will be adopting a “safety-net policy” for final year undergraduate students, and as long as they pass their assessments, their result will “only confirm the class awarded in their second year or improve it”. This will not apply for students taking a fourth year integrated Master’s.

The move follows other universities, such as Warwick, Exeter and Edinburgh, who have also implemented similar safety net policies. Oxford students are reportedly set to receive further information about their assessments tonight.

First and second year students will not receive a class for their exam results, but will receive feedback instead. The University explained that much of the assessment proposed by Faculties and Departments are “formative”, hence not warranting any scores. Scores will be given for departments which deem their exams to be “summative”, but no class will be awarded in either case.

No ranking will take place for any exams to be taken in Easter term.

The news comes after the Vice Chancellor pledged at the end of last term that all students would be informed about any changes to their assessments by today at the latest. It also follows the University announced there would be a second round of exams for those unable to take the first due to coronavirus-related circumstances.

A number of petitions had been sent to the University calling for them to adopt a “safety net” policy.

CUSU welcomed the news in a statement on Facebook, saying they were “really pleased that the university has adopted a safety-net policy” and that “the university has committed itself to making sure no student is disadvantaged and that it is taking concrete steps to ensure this, including instituting a second assessment period when the University is operational again.”

Students who did not receive a class mark last year will be classed only on the basis of their achievement in the 2020 assessments.

The Department of Politics and International Studies have sent an email to Finalists taking the single track option announcing the safety net option and the cancellation of the exams of paper POL9. All Part IIB examinations will be open-book and extensions for coursework and dissertations are “likely”.

The Faculty of Economics have replaced exams with projects for first and second year students, while finalists will be taking two online open-book exams.

Prior to the University’s announcement, multiple departments and colleges have sent emails asking for information regarding students’ current circumstances. The Department of Social Anthropology sent an email both Part IIA and Part IIB students asking for students’ current location, time difference with the UK, as well as access to wifi.

No information pertaining to arrangements for postgraduate research students have been released in the email.

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