Virgo expressed his hope that “these measures will help to ease concerns about assessments this academic year"Louis Ashworth

A package of mitigation measures for this year’s examinations have been announced by Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, in an email sent to students today.

The measures include automatic progression for first and second year Tripos students, assuming they have taken all relevant assessments and passed professional qualifications, and extensions of up to 14 days for essays or dissertations.

Alongside this, a system of ‘cohort equity’ will also be enforced, whereby “the distribution of classes for this year is no less favourable than the average class distribution in the three years before the pandemic.” This will be based on examination results from Easter Term of 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In the email, Virgo expressed his hope that “these measures will help to ease concerns about assessments this academic year, and provide reassurance that you will be assessed fairly, taking into account disruption brought about by the pandemic.”

This comes after it was announced last month that final-year students studying Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES), Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) or History and Modern Languages (HML) would be given an examination safety net, as their IB examinations in 2019 were taken prior to the pandemic.


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The mitigation package also allows students writing dissertations or coursework to supply an impact statement, detailing any consequences of the lockdown on access to materials or facilities for their research. Students may also additionally apply for individual mitigation measures if their circumstances are expected to have additional adverse impacts on their performance in examinations or coursework.

Virgo also assured students that adaptations to examination and coursework requirements will be considered by Faculties and Departments.

Last month, Cambridge Student Union (SU) presidents Ben Margolis and Aastha Dahal, signed an open letter from Russell Group universities’ student unions, which called for a ‘no-detriment’ policy to be implemented this year.

The University previously stated that they would not adopt a ‘no-detriment’ policy for this year’s examinations, and told Varsity that because “last year’s results relied on summative assessments from the previous year and, since these are not available for 2020, it would be inappropriate to replace this system.”