UCL to implement a 'no detriment' policy to 2020 assessments in light of COVID-19

UCL to implement a 'no detriment' policy to 2020 assessments in light of COVID-19

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Sarah Colbourn started this petition to University College London and

It is undisputedly clear that in some shape or form, all UCL students have been significantly affected, personally, financially, academically, physically, and/or mentally as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We therefore feel strongly compelled to ask that the university implement a ‘no detriment’ policy in light of this current global crisis.

The proposed policy would ensure that every student’s average mark for this academic year, or – in the case of finalists – for their degree, is the same as, or higher than, the average they had attained up until Friday 20th March (the date that UCL face-to-face teaching was officially suspended and when libraries shut). In other words – as long as the student submits all assessment required for them to complete the year and passes (with a grade of 40+), then the average they had attained prior to 20th March will be maintained and will be their mark for the academic year. If the results of the student’s assessments raise this average, only then would they be taken into account.

Although we fully recognise the need to have stopped face-to-face teaching and for all libraries to have been shut by UCL, it is clear that such measures have had, and will continue to have, a damaging impact on many students and the work that they are submitting. We have lost access to valuable sources and the space to focus and study – which many do not have at home or elsewhere. Clearly, on a personal level, the lives of students are massively affected by the pandemic, and consequently, the mental health of many students is suffering as a result of the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. Therefore, a major concern for many is how these circumstances will be impacting their ability to produce the quality of work that they expect of themselves and know that they are capable of producing. Adopting the ‘no detriment’ policy is, in our eyes, the fairest way for UCL to proceed in light of the conditions we are in.

We understand and endorse that to maintain the intellectual and academic integrity of a UCL degree, it is necessary to consider the legal implications of any change in the university's academic policy with regards to assessments in the COVID-19 crisis. However, various versions of this mitigation system have been implemented by other Russell Group universities across the country already – such as the University of Exeter, the University of Manchester, the University of Southampton, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Warwick. We therefore believe our request to be reasonable and in line with the petitions of other university students across the country. This policy appears to be the most universal way to proceed forward with assessments in an objective manner. It relies less on the subjective compassionate marking of individuals and more on a university-wide stance of consideration for the reality of the present pandemic.  

We believe that the introduction of a ‘no detriment’ policy would safeguard the hard work we have put into our degrees over the last few years and is the fairest and most empathetic manner in which to go forward.

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