Cardiff University: Introduce a 'safety net' system for all assessments as of March 2020.
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The coronavirus outbreak announced to be a pandemic by the World Health Organisation as of the 12th of March 2020, has affected every student at Cardiff University. Even before the university closed libraries on the 17th of March 2020, and ceased face to face teaching as of the 23rd of March 2020, students were having to make decisions on whether to prioritise their university work, or their health and the health of others by deciding whether to enter university buildings for lectures, library books and for other reasons.
However, since the Government’s stringent new measures were introduced on the 23rd of March 2020, many students are now left without library books, a suitable place to work, seminars, practical sessions, WiFi and computer facilities. Some students' decisions regarding what to do in this difficult time, such as whether to live alone in Cardiff instead of with family, will be heavily influenced by the university work they still need to prioritise. Especially with online exams to consider, many do not have a suitable setup to be able to achieve their deserved grade.
Many students will now be made to complete work in an environment that will not enable them to convey their true abilities, and many students' work will be hindered by illness of themselves or those around them. Similarly, many students' mental health is likely to be affected during this difficult time.
I am asking Cardiff University to consider using a mitigation system similar to that being used by the universities of Exeter, Edinburgh and Southampton, in order to bring about fairer results for final year undergraduate students. At 9.40AM on the 25th of March 2020 the University of Exeter announced that student assessment would be mitigated through a "safety net" policy . The Deputy Vice Chancellor wrote that:
"So long as [students] would qualify to progress/graduate based on [their] marks obtained this year ... then [the university] will ensure that [students'] final academic year average is the same as, or higher than, the average [they] have attained up to Sunday 15th March."
"If [students] achieve higher marks in assessments submitted and examinations undertaken after Sunday 15th March then [they] will be able to raise your mark for the year."
In summary, "as long as you qualify to pass the year, completing the summer assessments can only help not hinder you because we will not let the extraordinary circumstances in which you are completing these assessments leave you with a mark below your current overall mark."
I believe using this type of mitigating system will aid in the goal of awarding fair degree classes for students being assessed at the University. These measures allow students to achieve a grade which reflects their capabilities in normal circumstances, whilst still providing an incentive to do well in summer assessments and give students who did not achieve their desired grades last semester a chance to improve. It also allows those who become ill or lose a loved one to have time to prioritise their well being at this time.
This allows the University to assess students based upon the first semester of the academic year 2019/20, as well as the grades in previous years to fairly mitigate for a global crisis. The University must accept this global pandemic effects all students, at the very least through a life event, which is the most wide-reaching and disruptive event since world war two, barring them from achieving the final class of degree they rightfully deserve.
This action aligns with other leading Russell Group Universities across the UK; Edinburgh, Southampton and Exeter have already announced their no detriment policies. This is clearly a policy which is acceptable for a leading university, and for high quality degree level courses.
Many other students are calling out for changes to be implemented including; University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Northumbria University, Newcastle University, University of York, Queen's University Belfast, University College London, and Warwick University.
[Please see evidence for current university action in this manner through articles from the Tab, with excerpts from official university communications listed below.]
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