Policy on Fair Assessments

 Please see below the latest information and FAQs relating to the policy on fair assessments for students. 

What should students do right now?

Complete and submit as many assessments as possible. Remember, assessments for this Semester One assessment period were designed to be taken wholly online, so this has not changed since the lockdown. Please continue to complete assessments as planned and to the best of your ability.

How have my assessments been adapted to be taken online?

This will differ from module to module depending on the learning outcomes to be assessed and whether there are any professional body requirements to take into account. 

What if I need access to campus to complete any assessments?

Current Government guidance (as of 14 January 2021) allows for students to come to campus to access things like WiFi and study spaces if they are unable to access these in any other way. You can read the latest Government guidance here. Clearly the aim of a national lockdown is to reduce the number of people who travel or gather, but the Government has identified student access to campus as a legitimate reason to travel under specific circumstances. Please read the guidance carefully to find out whether this might apply to you and we will let you know if this guidance changes. 

What if I can’t meet my original assessment deadlines?

The more assessments you are able to submit on time, the better because this will help staff to get marks back to you in good time and will leave you in the best possible position to engage in your modules from the beginning of Semester Two (which we now know will be online initially for many students).

If you need an extension you can apply using your School’s usual processes but please do check as some Schools have already made plans for these eventualities and have set assessments/exams that can be submitted at different times or with long submission windows. If you need an extension, please ensure you are able to provide the reason. If you encounter one-off short delays (up to 24 hours) in submitting a piece of work (for example due to technical issues) please contact your School who can advise.  

Why do I have to submit Extenuating Circumstances information?

We have made the Extenuating Circumstances (EC) process as light touch as possible and we know that students can’t provide evidence for all types of disruption. Submitting the EC information is important because it helps us to take decisions in your best interests at exam boards later in the year. Please follow the guidance available locally from your School/Department because in some programmes there are specific professional body requirements to be considered. For this academic year, if students are unable to provide external evidence, they can ‘self-certify’ by providing a detailed explanation of the reasons why they are making a request and cannot provide external evidence to support the request. Under these circumstances, the explanation provided by students will be considered as ‘evidence’.  

Where can I find some additional assessment support?

You can refer back to the Assessment Support Week (before Christmas) and consider using the resources there. To date, we have had over 60,000 visits to these online resource pages and students have reported that the information is very useful. In addition, many modules have live discussion boards.

What if I have a Reasonable Adjustment Plan?

If you have an existing Reasonable Adjustment Plan, here is some information about adjustments made to assessments and support available here.  In many cases, online assessments have been designed to be inclusive.

What if I need to defer any assessments?

You will need to make a request as usual and supply as much information as you can to support your request. Note that deferred assessments will be scheduled for the Supplementary Period in August and they will take the same format as the original assessments.  

What happens after the Semester One assessment period?

The inter-semester week (25-29 January) is the time for staff to focus on marking and students to engage in the UoBe Festival which has been designed with students for students. Obviously we have had to adapt all the plans to ensure we can deliver the Festival virtually. 

Semester Two begins on the 1 February.

What will Semester Two look like?

At this stage, it remains unclear. The latest Government guidance suggests that we will be able to bring another tranche of students back to campus in March, and this is still subject to possible change. For the moment, what we do know is that Semester Two teaching will begin wholly online and, under our resilience framework, staff have prepared for that. 

What about final projects dissertations for UG finalists and PGT students?

For all final year UG and PGT students, be reassured that you will be able to undertake your final year project/dissertation because adapted pathways have already been designed (where required) to ensure that you can complete academically rigorous projects in lockdown circumstances. Further details will be provided locally from your School/Department.

How can my personal academic tutor help me?

Keep in close contact with your Personal Academic Tutor (i.e. in your weekly group meetings) who can help with general academic queries and who can set up a meeting if you need it.

How can my Student Reps and the Guild help me?

Your Student Reps and Guild Officers have the remit to represent students, and to raise the issues that you bring to them in School and College Student Reference Groups and other meetings. Ensure that you know who the student reps for your programme are, and raise any concerns or queries that you have with them. You will also find it helpful to look out for communications from the Guild. 

What will happen with assessments next academic year (2021-22)?

At this stage it is difficult to predict whether or to what extent the next academic year will be a return to ‘normal’. Whatever happens, however, we know that students will have been affected by the cumulative Covid challenges of this year. We will, therefore, be designing appropriate Covid-adapted assessment frameworks each year to ensure that assessments will remain fair and appropriate, and graduating cohorts are not disadvantaged.  








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