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How does the assessment safety net policy work for 2019-20?

Please see below information on our assessments policy this year. Please scroll down for FAQs on marking.

All students should now have had details of this directly from your tutors. Please see below three statements released about this.

Statement from Professor Ian Luke, Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic, and Stephen Plant, University Secretary and Registrar

Focused on Student Success: Assessment ‘Safety-Net’ Policy

Important message (issued Tuesday 31 March 2020)

In the present exceptional circumstances, and in addition to the assessment initiatives implemented by programme teams already, the university is introducing an Assessment ‘Safety-Net’ Policy. This means that as long as your remaining assessments are completed appropriately, your final mark for the academic year can only go up, not down.

The University is committed to the following:

For undergraduate students

Your overall mark for the year will be averaged from modules already completed, and:

  • If marks received from assessments in Semester B/Term 2 onwards increase this average, then this will be taken into account and the overall mark for the year increased.
  • If marks received from assessments in Semester B/Term 2 onwards decrease this average, then these marks will not be counted, and your overall mark for the year would be maintained at the same level as for Semester A or Term 1 assessments.
  • Assessments already completed are unaffected, although resit and deferred assessments will align with the bullet point below.
  • For assessments in Semester B or Term 2 onwards, the modules will be ‘condonable’ in terms of academic credit, which means that as long as you achieve a mark of 30-39% for each of these modules then these will be deemed to have been passed.
  • For those programmes recognised by professional bodies, there will still be a need to align with assessment guidance that they provide; this will be evident in the details that your programme teams will have already communicated with you regarding assessments.

Taught postgraduate students

Your overall mark for the year will be averaged from modules already completed, aligned to the full-time or part-time pathway you are following.

  • If marks received for assessments following 30th March, within this academic year, enhance this average then this will be taken into account and the overall mark for the year enhanced.
  • If marks received for assessments following 30th March, within this academic year, decrease this average then these will not be counted and your overall mark for the year would be maintained at the level pre 30th
  • Assessments already completed are unaffected, although resit and deferred assessments will align with the bullet point below.
  • For assessments in Semester B or Term 2 onwards, the modules will be ‘condonable’ in terms of academic credit, which means that as long as you achieve a mark of 40-49% for each of these modules then these will be deemed to have been passed.
  • For those programmes recognised by professional bodies, there will still be a need to align with assessment guidance that they provide; this will be evident in the details that your programme teams will have already communicated with you regarding assessments.

Note: The ‘safety-net’ is in addition to the other the individual- and programme-specific assessment initiatives already implemented by programme teams to support your success. This programme-specific detail is important because each programme has different requirements, some including alignment with guidance from professional and regulatory bodies. As such, it is important that the information from your programme teams is followed.

Marjon is proud of its values and the focus on its students. We fully understand that you are facing numerous pressures at this time and we will ensure that our approach and regulations enable you to achieve the marks you deserve.

Stephen Plant: University Secretary and Registrar

Prof. Ian Luke: Pro Vice Chancellor, Academic

Statement from Stephen Plant, University Secretary and Registrar

Update at 9am, Wednesday 19th March 2020

Our values are at the heart of how we operate and acting in the best interest of our students is central to what we do. This is reflected in our regulatory framework which enables us to deal with unexpected eventualities. Please be assured that the University is taking all available steps to mitigate any disruption to your study and deliver the outcomes that you deserve, and we can adapt our regulations and programme delivery to support the completion of your degree. For example, we can change the way we assess you, if the planned method of assessment will not be possible.

Our academic teams and professional services staff are working closely together to make sure that you are given every opportunity available to successfully complete your programme and graduate, or to move into the next year. You will hear directly from academic staff on how this will happen.

Statement from Professor Ian Luke Pro-Vice Chancellor, Academic

Update at 6pm, Wednesday 19th March 2020

In the current circumstances, we know you will have concerns regarding teaching sessions, assessments and completing the academic year.

This message is to explain how we are managing this.

Firstly, please be assured that we will ensure that you have the opportunity to complete the academic year and, for those in their final undergraduate and postgraduate year, achieve your academic award.

We can be confident of this because you have already completed so much of the year. We have already held one exam board that confirms your academic credit achieved to this point. Our regulations allow us to concentrate on your best performance so far and to consider the exceptional circumstances in which we are assessing you. For those on professionally accredited courses, we are working very closely with the professional bodies, and we have gained confirmation that there needs to be a pragmatic approach to accreditation requirements this year, and we are aligning with their guidance.

We know that you need to know precise details of how this will work. We can’t do this in a message to everyone, because it will vary so much by course. So, if you have not heard already, you will hear from your Programme Leader by midday on Monday, 23rd March, how this will work. They will clarify to you the plans for teaching, and they will explain how you will be assessed.

We recognise that adapting to distance learning is not easy. We have moved to this because it enables those who are isolating to continue studying, and enables us to respect the government advice around social distancing. It’s hard, but it’s the only option in these circumstances. You are being asked not only to learn about your subject matter, but also to learn a new way of working. We will take this into account in how we assess you.

Some have asked why we are continuing teaching. We believe that even in these exceptional times, you can continue to progress and learn, and we can maintain our community, though we recognise this will take effort. For those who may have children at home, this is even more difficult. Please do talk to your tutors about your exceptional circumstances.

We do appreciate that all of you have been put into circumstances which weren’t expected and you can’t have planned for. We’re working hard to bring you clarity.

 

FAQs Assessment Safety Policy

These responses also apply to all collaborative partner courses.

The University is expecting all students to offer their best attempt and hopefully improve in Semester B/Terms 2 and 3. However, we recognise that some students will have been differentially impacted by the current crisis. These FAQs aim to reassure those students who find themselves in such circumstances.

What happens if I fail Semester A/Term 1 modules because of deadlines/work affected by COVID 19?

For Semester A/Term 1 resit/deferred assessments submitted after 30th March, with marks within 30-39 range, the module will be condoned (ie where the module is deemed to have broadly met the criteria for a pass, subject to certain conditions and has been updated to condonable status). NB Condonement will not be possible where there is a professional accreditation requirement for the module to be passed and students are advised to talk to their module leader.

What happens if I fail modules in Semester B/Terms 2/3?

Any failed Semester B/Terms 2 and 3 modules (or up to five X modules), with marks within 30-39 range, will be condoned (where the module has been updated to condonable status). Condonement will not be possible where there is a professional accreditation requirement for the module to be passed and students are advised to talk to their module leader.

If I fail a module can I opt to re-take it?

No re-sits will be authorised for Semester B/Terms 2 and 3 assessments which have been condoned. However, if you have re-sit work or deferred work from Semester A/Term 1 you will still be able to submit for assessment in July (w/c 27th July is resit week).

Will there still be exams?

There will not be any physical exams but some courses may run on-line exams

Can predicted grades be used to determine my end of year results?

No, we won’t in general – and this is because, unlike schools, we don’t have a consistent or formal way to measure predicted grades (such as mock exams), and all assessment has to be moderated by external examiners, so it would be hard to do this fairly across all students.

I’m a final year student and worried about my final degree outcome – how will my degree mark/classification be worked out?

The University has put in place a ‘Safety Net Policy’ - briefly, this means the usual weighted calculation for degrees will be applied (this already works proportionately where necessary and places emphasis upon the best modules at level 6).

For final year students, those module marks in Semester B/Terms 2 and 3 that are above the Average Mark for Semester A/Term 1 (a straight average of performance across module marks) will count as usual; if the module mark is below the average, that module will not influence the classification (the module does still need to be passed). The calculation will not include condoned modules either. This guarantees the student the best outcome.

For those doing a Foundation degree the calculation already looks beyond simply an average across all credits and acknowledges better performance.

How will my final transcript reflect my degree marks/outcome?

Transcripts will be updated to display two versions on separate pages with the same, best calculated, classification:

  • one which includes Semester B/Terms 2 and 3 marks which were below the Average Mark and were updated to Pass (no mark) and awarded credits
  • the second version which includes Semester B/Terms 2 and 3 marks which were below the Average Mark and were updated to Pass and awarded credits but will also show the marks achieved
  • neither version will show marks for condoned modules.

I am a second year honours student – how will my marks/degree be affected?

For Year 2 students, the normal weighted calculation will be applied to Year 3 marks next year along with the Average Mark for Year 2 (Years 2 and 1 for FdA).

I’m on a professional programme – what if I can’t complete the required placement/practical aspects?

For those programmes recognised by professional bodies, there will still be a need to align with assessment guidance that they provide; this will be evident in the details that your programme teams will have already communicated with you regarding assessments. Students are advised to talk to their module leader or PDT if they are unsure how they will be affected.

I’m a taught postgraduate student – how will my overall mark be calculated?

Your overall mark for the year will be averaged from modules already completed, aligned to the full-time or part-time pathway you are following. See the Safety Net Policy for more details.

  • All but one of the total number of X modules, with marks within 40-49 range, will be condoned, where the module has been updated to condonable status. Condonement will not be possible where there is a professional accreditation requirement for the module to be passed.
  • Where all X modules, have marks within 40-49 range, the PAB will investigate individual submitted assessment marks before making a decision.
  • All assessment work completed before the 30th March will be used to calculate an Average Mark against which passed marks will be compared before making a decision.
  • Where resits and deferred assessments have been authorised for Semester A/Term 1, those modules and marks will not be included.
  • When calculating the classification, the lowest 60 credits will be excluded from the algorithm.

Students should also note that precise classification predictions are not possible and in any case will have to be verified and approved by the Board as always.

When will the results be published?

Our aim is to make sure that no student is disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances.  This means that we will be taking great care to make sure that you get the results you deserve.   So, after the Progression and Award Board, there will be a lot of work to be done on the students' records to accurately reflect the outcomes. This may mean a small delay publishing some results until after the advertised date of 20th July.  We will be working extremely hard to keep any delays as short as possible.

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