Create a fairer mitigation system for UoM students during the coronavirus pandemic

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William Gopal
William Gopal signed this petition

The coronavirus has affected every student at The University of Manchester. Even before the university closed on March 17th 2020 students were having to take the decision 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 etc. However, since the university's closure of non-essential campus buildings, 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 Manchester instead of with family, will be heavily influenced by the university work they still need to prioritise. 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 The University of Manchester to consider using a mitigation system similar to that being used by the University of Exeter in order to bring about fairer results for second and third year undergraduate students. At 9.40AM 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 help to create more equal results for students being assessed at the University,. This is because it allows students to achieve a grade which reflects how they can work 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.