Nottingham Trent University: Implement a 'No Detriment' Policy For All Assessments.
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The (COVID-19) coronavirus outbreak announced by the World Health Organisation as of the 12th of March 2020, has affected every single student at Nottingham Trent University. Even well before the university ceased all face to face teaching as of the 18th of March 2020, students were having to make extremely difficult decisions no student should ever have to face.
Decisions such as; whether to prioritise their university work, their health and the health of others, whether to enter university buildings for lectures, library books and for other educational reasons, whether to isolate if they were showing symptoms of a virus; only to name a few.... All these decisions significantly affecting education.
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, vital seminars, essential lectures, practical sessions, WiFi and computer facilities. All major factors to learn that students pay + £9,000 a year to access.
Some students' decisions regarding what to do in this difficult time, such as whether to live alone in Nottingham instead of with family, will be heavily influenced by the university work they still need to prioritise. Especially with online exams to consider, many students do not have a suitable setup or access to necessary resources to be able to achieve their deserved grade. 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, with factors such as buying necessities and taking care of vulnerable loved ones painting a larger picture.
We, the students of NTU, are asking Nottingham Trent University to consider using a mitigation system similar to that being used by the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh and Exeter, in order to bring about fairer results for 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."
We, the students of NTU believe that the implication of this type of mitigating system will aid in the goal of awarding fair end of academic year results 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 and health at this scary time.
Nottingham Trent University must accept this global pandemic effects all students, barring them from achieving the final year grade they rightfully deserve.
This action aligns with other leading Universities across the UK; Edinburgh, Exeter and Southampton have already announced no detriment policies. This clearly displays 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; Cardiff University, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Northumbria University, Loughborough University, Newcastle University, University of York, Queen's University Belfast, University College London, and Warwick University.
[See evidence below for current university action in this manner through articles from the Tab, with excerpts from official university communications listed below.]
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