Alternative academic regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students

Introduction

Updated 14 April 2021

We want to make sure during a continuing period of uncertainty that the regulations are able to support students in achieving their awards. This page sets out the ‘safety net’ measures we have in place for students who will be completing their awards this academic year and for those who will be continuing beyond this year. The safety net includes actions which will be taken by our examination boards when considering student marks and individual student profiles.

Support

If you need further advice and guidance we have the following staff and resources which can help:

Students due to complete awards during the 2020/2021 academic year

Exam boards will award one classification higher than that determined by the normal method of calculation if you are on a borderline between two classifications.

The circumstances in which this may be applied are:

  • your final overall mark is less than or equal to 0.5% below the higher classification (for example, a final overall mark between 69.5% – 69.9% would become a First).
  • your final overall mark is greater than 0.5% and less than or equal to 1% below the higher classification (for example 59% - 59.4%), but only if 50% or more of the credits at the highest level required by the programme have marks in the higher banding (for example, if 90 Level 3 credits have Upper Second marks and 30 Level 3 credits have Lower Second marks, you would receive an Upper Second.

Pre-pandemic calculator

This calculator (Excel) can be used to calculate the weighted average for your assessments which had deadlines on or after the start date for your programme in the 2019/2020 academic year and before Wednesday 18 March 2020.

Your pre-pandemic average will use the assessment marks which count towards your module mark ie. only those marks which appear on your myUWE on the ‘Module Assessment Opportunities’ page and not any formative assessment marks.

If you are a final year honours degree student you can also use the degree classification calculator to calculate an estimate of your final outcome.

Students who had level 2 exams cancelled in 2019/2020

For reasons of health and safety some level 2 exams were unavoidably cancelled in 2019/2020. Where they were cancelled, the best mark achieved for another assessment in the module was used in place of the cancelled assessment. This was done to enable students to pass the module rather than be given a ‘non-submission’.

The honours degree calculation uses the best 100 credits achieved at level 2 so if one module mark does vary from the others this should help to reduce any impact.

If your final mark takes you to a borderline between two classifications the exam board will give you the higher level if you meet specified criteria (see above).

Measures available to all students in 2020/2021 where appropriate

Comparison of module marks in 2020/21 with previous years

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020/21 academic year, the average mark for all modules which commenced on or after 01 September 2020 will be compared with a historic benchmark.

The benchmark will be determined for each module based upon the average marks for the past four years.

  • Where modules have run for four years, the benchmark will be calculated from the overall average from the 2019/20, 2018/19, 2017/18 and 2016/17 academic years.
  • Where modules have run for less than four years, the benchmark will be calculated from the average mark for fields of study (groups of related modules) at the same level as the module in question from the 2019/20, 2018/19, 2017/18 and 2016/17 academic years.
  • This average will be used as the benchmark for first sit and resit marks.

Where the module average for 2020/21 has fallen below its benchmark, the exam board will moderate student marks upwards by the difference between the two averages, up to a maximum of 10 marks.

For example:

The benchmark is 65% and the module average for 2020/21 is 60%. There is a difference of five marks.

For each student who has passed the module, their mark will be increased by five marks.

Please note: the maximum mark cannot exceed 100%

If the module average for 2020/21 is equal to, or higher than its benchmark, no further action will be taken.

Important: You must achieve the module pass mark (40% for levels 0-3, 50% for level M) for the ‘safety net’ uplift to be applied. Where this has happened, your new mark will be reflected in MyUWE and on your mark transcript. Please note: the outcome for a module that has been referred or failed cannot be changed to a pass through this process because the module learning outcomes have not been met. 

Module marks

Module marks are no longer capped at the pass mark if you need a resit or a retake and have not been previously capped. However, if you had component or module marks capped at an exam Board which took place prior to 01 August 2019 these will remain capped.

Please note: work submitted during the 24 hour window will still receive a marks penalty. 

Excused credit

If you fail a module due to personal difficulties an Award Board may offer you the option to accept ‘excused credit’ if you are in your final year (subject to professional body requirements). This means you would not need to resit or retake the module and can still complete your award. Normally, a maximum of 30 credits can be excused and you do not need to achieve a minimum mark to be considered. However, the module mark will not count towards your final classification and you are not awarded the credit for the module.

Condoning a mark which is a marginal failure

If you attempt a module but marginally fail it, an Award Board can award you the credit without the need to do a resit or retake. The module mark will not count towards your final classification.

An Award Board can condone a marginal fail when:

  • the overall module mark is at least 37% at levels 0-3 or at least 47% at level M
  • you have also passed a minimum of 90 credits at the same level or above 
  • the learning outcomes of the module have been met
  • a professional body (where applicable) allows it.

Further retakes

You can be given an extra retake at a module if after two attempts you fail. One attempt includes one sit and one resit. This is subject to the requirements of professional bodies, professional practice module regulation D1 and withdrawal from a programme regulation C7.

Exceptional removal of a mark process

You may apply to have your mark for an assessment removed after attempting an assessment if you were affected by personal difficulties. The mark will be removed and replaced by a non-submission (NS).

If a mark removal results in you not passing a module the Examination Board could:

  • allow you to resit/retake a failed module (see note on uncapping) (if a retake is permitted, you will need to complete all assessments for the module again and a module fee may apply)
  • excuse credit (see note on excused credit), but still grant you an award.

If you have an accepted application for a module you have passed despite having the mark removed, the Board is also able to review your profile to consider whether an uplift would be appropriate because your overall module mark is lower than it could have been. Find out more about the exceptional removal of a mark process.

Adverse circumstances affecting a group of students

An exam board has the authority to moderate the assessment or module marks for all students in a group if a circumstance relating to the delivery or assessment of a module has adversely affected them. For example, an irregularity affecting an exam. Please note: online delivery or blended learning in themselves are not reasons to apply adverse group circumstances.

Comparison of the 2019/2020 alternative academic regulations with the 2020/2021 standard and transitional regulations

24 March 2020 – 20 September 2020

Alternative regulations in place

21 September 2020 onwards.

Standard regulations reinstated with additional transitional arrangements

Removal of the limitation to the pass mark for resits and retakes (mark capping) where the first sit was on or after 1 August 2019 – unless already capped.

Resits and retakes are not limited to the pass mark (no mark capping) – unless already capped.

No 24 hour window for late coursework. Work cannot be submitted after the deadline.

24 hour window reinstated. Work can be submitted up to 24 hours after the deadline but as it is late there is a mark penalty.

No evidence required for five working day extensions for coursework

Due to the national lockdown, you do not need to provide evidence to accompany an application for a five working day extension. However, please do still refer to this to check whether you are eligible to apply.

Missed assessments process is suspended due to the removal of mark capping.

Missed assessment process is removed due to the removal of mark capping. Advice and support is available from the Student Support Advisers.

No evidence required for the exceptional removal of a mark process

No evidence required for the exceptional removal of a mark process.

Excused credit: Examination Boards can accept failure to pass up to 20% of the total credit requirement for an award in the final year. For example, for an honours degree which has 360 credits in total and 120 credits in the final year, 72 final year credits could be excused.

Excused credit: Examination Boards can accept failure to pass up to 30 credits of the total credit requirement for an award in the final year (but can still use the 20% maximum for modules affected in 2019/2020).

Where applicable, the pre-pandemic average (see introductory note) for undergraduate awards is compared with the average for the 100 best credits at that level.

Where applicable, the pre-pandemic average (see introductory note) for undergraduate awards is compared with the average for all modules at that level. This is because not all undergraduate awards have more than 100 credits at the level to choose from.

As a response to the coronavirus pandemic the exam board may, in exceptional circumstances, consider failed modules for condonation with a lower overall module mark than 37% (levels 0-3) and 47% (level M).

Normal threshold for condoning failed credit is reinstated. This is 37% (levels 0-3) and 47% (level M).

University took action to carry across best coursework/exam marks within the first sit of a module if assessments were cancelled.

Normal process is reinstated and missed assessments are recorded as a ‘non-submission’.

Where possible, students resit only the individual pieces of work they failed.

Students resit the assessment for the whole component. It is not currently possible to offer all students the ability to resit only the individual pieces of work they failed.

Compulsory requirement for modules to include a controlled conditions assessment (eg an invigilated exam) is suspended. However, they can still be used if appropriate for the module.

Compulsory requirement for modules to include a controlled conditions assessment (eg an invigilated exam) is removed. However, they can still be used if appropriate for the module.