Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances

We have made the following amendments to the University's Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances (EEC) regulations:

  1. EEC claims relating to Covid-19 should all be judged to be covered by I1.17 (In clear-cut cases where an urgent response is required, EECs can be approved by Chair’s action and noted at the next formal panel meeting). This should enable Colleges to act swiftly to allay students’ concerns and avoid a backlog of cases at panel meetings. 
  2. There may be cases in which the impact of Covid-19 has affected an entire cohort of students. In such cases the EECs claim should be submitted by the relevant Programme team on the students’ behalf.
  3. In some cases, the requirements of a PSRB will mean that the range of outcomes available to a student who has an EECs claim upheld will be limited. 

Supporting evidence

  1. Regulation I1.9 (All evidence must be provided by either a professional who has specialist knowledge of the circumstances or by an independent source that is able to verify matters of a personal nature) is relaxed until further notice for any EECs claim made as a result of Covid-19.
  2. Panels are asked to assess claims on the basis of evidence available to them and to consider a student’s own account of impact. The University recognises that:
    -Unless hospitalised, a student is unlikely to be able to obtain medical evidence of illness as NHS and other medical advice is to stay home and not engage with medical services.
    -A student is unlikely to be able to provide evidence of IT short-comings due to remote access.
    -Students may not have access to the IT equipment necessary to complete a program of online learning.
  3. Panels may request evidence of travel, parental responsibility or underlying health conditions if relevant to the case.
  4. Panels should approve EECs and suspend the need for the usual standards of evidence where the case presented amounts to a compelling account of impact on the student’s ability to study or take assessments.
  5. Where it is available, Panels should consider evidence of communication between the student and university (be that student services, programme staff or their PAT), which takes place before an assessment deadline, and which describes that the student’s ability to undertake or prepare for an assessment is affected because of ill-health of them or a family member, or as a result of their learning environment, as valid evidence to support an EEC claim.

Possible resolutions to successful EECs claims

  1. Where possible the amended regulation allowing a module mark to be awarded if 50% of component marks are in place should be applied.
  2. Where this is not possible Regulation I1.4 (Under no circumstances will a successful EEC claimant be allowed to submit the same assessment component as previously submitted by other students) should normally be relaxed (where the Panel judge this to be in the student’s best interests and the student would be neither overly advantaged or disadvantaged by doing so) and an extended submission date be agreed to facilitate opportunity for completion and progression.
  3. In a small number of cases e.g. due to the student’s inability to complete work within a specified timescale or PSRB requirements, Regulation I1.3 (iii) may need to be applied: An opportunity to undertake a fresh assessment at the next assessment point. In such circumstances, the assessment undertaken will be different to the original assessment.

Completing students and degree classification

  1. Where appropriate Regulation I1.3(iv): In exceptional cases, for students completing their studies in that academic year it may be appropriate to discount the affected assessment in the student’s overall profile should be applied.
  2. When classifying students, Panels may discount up to 40 credits of Covid incomplete modules in the final year (this may include non-compensatable modules).
  3. Classification can then be carried out on the basis of a weighted average of the remaining marks from the final year and the relevant weighted averages. All students classified carrying Covid-incomplete modules should be given the option of a first-sit at the first available opportunity.
  4. Borderline algorithms should be applied on a pro-rata basis, such that a student should be given the higher class if either of the following criteria are met:
    -Once modules have been discounted, half or more of the remaining final stage credits are in the higher class;
    -Once modules have been discounted, half or more of the remaining final and penultimate stage credits are in the higher class.
  5. Where a student has more than 40 credits of Covid-incomplete modules and 40 credits of Covid-incomplete modules have already been taken account of by point 2 above, they should be offered an Unclassified Honours degree with the option of a first sit in the Covid incomplete modules at the first available opportunity.
  6. In cases where the actions outlined above still leave a student at risk of detriment, the Assessment Board may take further steps to address this e.g. discounting marks from assessments taken during the summer assessment period if they are lower than existing component marks from the same module.
  7. It is recognised that those courses with PSRB requirements may need to make more stringent arrangements, first receiving guidance from the relevant Board. PSRB requirements will, in all cases, be in addition to the regulations laid out here.

The University believes that the combined effect of the actions taken above ensures that there should be “no detriment” to any individual student as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.