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BREAKING: University of Bath implements ‘safety net’ measures

In an email addressed to all students, the University of Bath announced today that it will be implementing a ‘safety net’ for all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students.

Since 28th March 2020, over 4,100 students have signed a petition asking the University to offer a ‘safety-net’ and ‘no detriment policy’ to protect student grades. Students had called for their participation in assessments to be “without the fear that this will negatively impact the grades we have worked so hard towards during our time at university“. Another petition urged the University to cancel exams for first and second year undergraduates, with students expressing concerns about their “inability to effectively study at home“.

Professor Lambert, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, shared in his email today that the University is “committed to ensuring ‘no detriment’ for our 2020 student cohort at PGT and UG level“.

This means that it will ensure that the average of the outcomes for each year of the 2020 student cohort are collectively no worse than the average of the outcomes of the previous three cohorts for the appropriate year group“.

The University “will be looking at the final degree outcomes of every student very carefully and on an individual basis. Through this process, we will ensure that individual degree outcomes are either in line with the result that could reasonably be expected based on previous achievement, including both semester examination results and coursework results, or indeed better if students show improvement in their performance in their final assessments“.

The email also set-out the following measures designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on assessments:

‘Safety net’ measures

The University has identified, and is implementing, measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your assessment, progression, and award results. We will do this as part of our academic decision-making, without any action needed from you beyond your engagement with your study and assessments.

The University will be taking the following steps as part of a ‘safety net’ for our students:

– Departments are redesigning your assessments to ensure they remain a fair and appropriate test of your learning in an online environment, and to give you the opportunity to fully demonstrate your knowledge and skills.

– Departments have been given authority to account for the COVID-19 disruption when considering your results. Exam Boards will check academic decisions using individual, unit and cohort profiles – to compare students’ results against previous years and ensure they are not disadvantaged, adjusting marks or scaling if necessary.

– We have extended the assessment period by two weeks to take into account unforeseen circumstances and extend deadlines, reducing the pressure on our staff and students. This means you will receive your grades and outcomes from summer assessments slightly later than originally planned. 

– If you are not able to complete assessments during this summer period, you will be allowed to defer your assessment to August/September 2020 or later, if necessary, due to the continued impact of the COVID-19.

– We will describe the context for results in a paper to accompany your transcript and other records of achievements, so employers understand the University’s approach.

The University confirmed that students may submit IMCs for other significant individual circumstances. Additional information can be found on the University’s Frequently Asked Questions page which will be regularly updated as the University continues to develop its plans.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for further updates from Bath Time on what this policy means for students. Share your thoughts by sending us a message at

su-bathtime-editor@bath.ac.uk

Emily Johnstone

Emily is the Publicity & Distribution Officer (2019/20) and Secretary to Media Exec (2019/20). She has been breaking news and conducting in-depth investigations of the University and SU since 2018.

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