SECTION 8: Exceptional Variations to the Regulations

Managing assessments in a period of major disruption: Emergency Regulations for Course Assessment Boards (CABs)

 

8.1 Introduction and principles

8.1.1. The University of Huddersfield is committed to upholding the highest academic standards in all circumstances. However, during a period of major disruption like a pandemic or industrial action, it is recognised that it may be necessary to vary the normal protocols on an exceptional basis.


8.1.2. In all cases, the objective is to ensure students are not disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control or that of the University, whilst ensuring quality assurance and consistency in progression and awards decisions.
Course Assessment Boards (CABs) are expected to operate in adherence to these underlying principles:

  • Wherever possible normal assessment regulations, deadlines and timescales should be followed.
  • Adjustments to assessment protocols will be carefully considered; they will enable the University to uphold rigorous academic standards whilst taking into account any serious, unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances having a wide impact across a cohort, course, school or at University level.
  • Wherever possible, students should be able to graduate or progress from one stage of their degree programme to the next.
  • Where there is no doubt about a student’s level of attainment (all or sufficient marks exist for sound academic judgment to be made about the student’s overall level of attainment), the normal regulations should be applied, and results determined accordingly.
  • Where marks are missing, and adjustments are considered essential, the regulations will be applied consistently and fairly to all students affected.

8.1.3. These alternative regulations will not be implemented without the permission of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs), where applicable.


8.1.4. The emergency regulations will only be introduced where it is likely that not to do so would cause protracted delay and/or severe disadvantage.


8.1.5. These regulations will only come into force following consultation with students through their elected representatives. The decision to implement will be approved by UTLC and Senate (by virtual meeting or by Chair’s action as necessary) and will be lifted under the same authority. Schools will be informed as soon as the emergency regulations are invoked.

 

8.2 Extenuating Circumstances and CAB discretion

8.2.1. Where the performance of a group of students’ is affected by adverse circumstances which are not personal to them but as a result of a wider issue (for example technical, social, political or public health problems), the University, through its Registry, will issue guidance to Schools on how to consider students’ performance under these circumstances.


8.2.2. CAB decisions must be taken in the context of: available information; the programme intended learning outcomes; the discipline and level; the time of year; University regulations; any professional requirements. Decisions may depend on whether the student is/is not at the final stage of the programme. The External Examiner should be consulted in all cases, although it may not be possible for them to be present (physically or virtually) at the board. All decisions reached should be clearly documented within the minutes.


8.2.3. The Extenuating Circumstances process should be followed in all cases before the CAB can exercise discretion. A student or staff member (with the student’s permission) should submit an EC claim noting that the adverse impact was directly related to the major disruption. If other factors contributed as well, these should also be noted. The CAB will keep a record of all cases where the major disruption is accepted as an extenuating circumstance.


8.2.4. Where the impact of the major disruption causes postponement of the usual CAB schedule, additional assessment opportunities and extra CABs for students may be introduced in order to minimise the delay to progression and award decisions.


8.2.5. An interruption of study may be preferable to some students. If this is agreed, there will be an expectation that the student returns at the same point in the following academic year to recommence studies. The fees for both the year of the disruption and the following year will be charged pro rata.


8.2.6 For non-standard cases Schools are required to consult with Registry in advance of the CAB.

 

8.3 Progression

8.3.1. If the student’s profile of marks is incomplete due to disruption-related extenuating circumstances, progression will be permitted under one of the following mechanisms:


8.3.2. Where assessments have been taken but marks are not available, students will normally be permitted to progress, with post-emergency recovery action required as soon as marks are available.


8.3.3. Where missing results relate to core, pre-requisite or PSRB requirements, the CAB may exceptionally delay a progression decision, with post-emergency recovery action required as soon as marks are available.


8.3.4. Where the regulations allow alternative assessment or incomplete assessment as detailed in sections 9.4 and 9.5.

 

8.4 Award

8.4.1. If the student’s profile of marks is incomplete due to disruption-related extenuating circumstances, the CAB may consider an award as follows:
8.4.2. By determining an overall module mark based on partial completion of the module assessment if the learning outcomes have been met.


8.4.3. Exceptionally, where there is no reasonable expectation that an assessment opportunity can be made available, the CAB may record a pass mark for the module, if it is otherwise assured that the student has completed the module to a satisfactory standard. This will be noted on the transcript.


8.4.4. Confirm the award, subject to later confirmation of the classification.

 

8.5 Alternative assessment

8.5.1. Where necessary, alternative assessments will be provided and marks will be made available to the CAB. However, some components of assessment may be disregarded as detailed below.


8.5.2. In the Foundation year (year 1) or Pre-foundation year (year 0) of the course:

  • Where 50% or more of the module mark is already accounted for through previous assessed components, other components of assessment may be discounted and the overall module mark based on the mark(s) already achieved.
  • Where less than 50% of the module mark is accounted for, an alternative assessment will be put in place wherever possible.

8.5.3. In the Foundation year (year 1) or Pre-foundation year (year 0) of the course, where alternative assessments cannot reasonably be set, progression may be determined on a pass/fail basis for each of the module(s) affected. The transcript will record the reason for this.

8.5.4 In the Intermediate year (year 2) of the course:

  • Where 60% or more of the module mark is already accounted for through previous assessed components, other components of assessment may be discounted and the overall module mark based on the mark(s) already achieved.
  • Where less than 60% of the module mark is accounted for, an alternative assessment will be put in place wherever possible.

8.5.5. In the Intermediate year (year 2) of the course, where alternative assessments cannot reasonably be set by the second point of consideration, progression may be permitted with outstanding assessments trailed into the following year. Where the trailing of credit is considered, the following must apply unless the PRSB regulations differ;

  • A student may only progress if they have a minimum of 90 credits in their current year of study, or 80 credits with the outstanding 40 credits in one single module
  • Where a candidate has been awarded at least 50 credits for the current stage of assessment but do not fall into the category above, they may not progress but will be permitted to return in the subsequent session to retrieve the outstanding modules
  • Candidates who have been awarded 40 or fewer credits for the current stage of assessment shall be deemed to have failed the course.

8.5.6. In the Honours year (year 3 or 4) and Final year of Integrated Masters:

  • An alternative assessment will be put in place for all missing components of assessment.
  • Where an alternative assessment is not readily available, the CAB will defer its decision until such time as an appropriate assessment can be set and a module mark provided.

8.5.7. In all cases where these regulations are brought into force, students will be informed how the CAB will proceed and on what basis it will make its decisions.

 

8.6 Complaints and Appeals

8.6.1. The University’s accelerated procedure in the event of a major disruption will be followed. For all other complaints unrelated to the disruption, the standard regulations and procedures will apply.

 

8.7 Post-emergency recovery actions

8.7.1. When the Vice-Chancellor or Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning determines the emergency over, and this has been approved by UTLC and Senate (by Chair’s action if necessary), action will be taken to:

  • Recover any missing marks, if extant, and enter into ASIS
  • To put in place any additional assessment required to allow students to demonstrate that the learning outcomes have been met
  • Progress or award as normal, where a candidate has been awarded a pass for the module
  • For taught provision, once any outstanding marks are recorded on ASIS, CABs will re-consider the entire marks profile by means of Chair’s Action.

8.7.2. The University reserves the right to correct errors made during an emergency, particularly if these affect licence to practice. Ordinarily however:

  • Where the marks generate a lower module mark/class, the student may be permitted as an exception to retain the higher mark/class previously awarded.
  • Where the incorporation of missing marks generates a fail in a module which has been previously entered as a pass under this guidance, the student will be offered the opportunity to resit but will not be required to do so unless required by a PSRB.
  • Where the incorporation of missing marks identifies a student who has been recommended for progression under these procedures where they would otherwise have failed, the progression decision will stand and the student will be offered the following options:
  1. Repeating the previous year;
  2. Trail the failed module(s) as outlined in the progression regulations (section 7) whilst continuing at the current level of study;
  3. Substitute the module at the lower level and trail it;
  4. Transfer course.

8.7.3. Exceptionally, where no alternative assessment is possible and/or as stipulated by the PSRB, the student may be required to withdraw from the course.

 

8.8 Impact of Covid-19 in 2021/22: Addendum to Regulations for Assessments in Periods of Emergency

8.8.1. Principles

  • The global pandemic in the academic year 2019/20 was unprecedented; its disruption significant and wide-ranging.
  • The University put in place a safety net to ensure no student was disadvantaged by these circumstances at the CABs in the summer 2020.
  • This safety net remains in place and will be applied at the point of award to students who have attained academic credit contributing to their award in 2019/20.
  • Alternative assessments will be required in some subjects in 2021/22
  • The University has taken all reasonable steps to ensure an excellent and equivalent teaching and learning experience for 2021/22, therefore no further adjustments are anticipated by CABs in 2021/22.
  • Academic quality and standards will be maintained in line with Office for Students (OfS) expectations and PSRB requirements.

8.8.2 Expectations

  • All students will attempt all assessments set.
  • A second assessment opportunity will be available to all candidates using the same method as the original assessment.
  • All confirmed module marks for summative assessment will appear on transcripts.
  • Where a graduating student passes/is condoned in all assessments, they will receive a final award classification which is at least equal to their overall performance excluding marks achieved in 2019/20
  • Unless PSRB requirements are otherwise, CABs are required to note and apply the following adjustments to the degree algorithms when making relevant decisions during the following academic years:2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.

8.8.3. Sandwich courses

Where sandwich students were on placement in 2019/20, variations to the regulations were approved to support the completion of placements.
Where designated sandwich course students attained I level (level 5) credit in 2019/20, their profiles will be considered using two algorithms:

  • Classification using the normal algorithm.
  • Classification by a reweighted average of S level and H level (level 6) excluding I level (level 5) credits.
    The better outcome will apply.

8.8.4 Integrated Masters Programmes

In 2021/22, candidates who have achieved credit at I level (level 5) in 2019/20 shall have their profiles considered using two algorithms:

  • Classification using the normal course algorithm
  • Classification by a reweighted average that excludes credit achieved in 2019/20.
    The better outcome will apply.

8.8.5 Postgraduate Taught Programmes

In 2021/22, final year candidates for an award over a three-year programme shall have their profiles considered using two algorithms:

  • Classification using the normal course algorithm
  • Classification by a reweighted average that excludes credit achieved in 2019/20
    The better outcome will apply.

8.8.6 Non-standard Programmes


For any other courses with a delivery pattern which differs from the above, the same principles will apply. At the point of determining the award, candidates’ profiles will be considered using both the standard algorithm and by excluding credit achieved in 2019/20 and reweighting as appropriate. The better outcome will apply.