Update: Safety net approach for overall marks

In March, the University announced the introduction of a ‘safety net’ approach to determining students’ overall marks for the 2019/20 academic year.

We are now able to provide further information about this approach, which we hope will answer the majority of your concerns and queries.

Below, you will find some of the key highlights of the ‘safety net’ and these FAQs provide more details. We would recommend that you read this story in full and the FAQs carefully before getting in touch with any further questions:

What is the ‘safety net’ approach?

This approach has been introduced to ensure the fairness and integrity and continuing academic standards of University of Liverpool awards; to recognise the impact of COVID-19 on students’ studies this year; and to enable us to do everything we can to allow students to progress and graduate this summer.

It will ensure that you receive an award which accurately reflects your academic attainment judged holistically over your programme to date and, importantly, it operates on a ‘no detriment’ basis.

In practice, Boards of Examiners will determine whether individual assessments have been affected or unaffected.

Unless you are explicitly informed by your Department, all work submitted after 15 March 2020 will be considered to be affected by COVID-19 disruption, with the exception of some Masters dissertations.

Some of your work prior to this date may be classed as affected by industrial action, depending on the level of disruption your Department(s) experienced and where Boards of Examiners consider that satisfactory mitigations have not been possible.

Providing you attain a pass in all mandatory modules, achieve an overall average of a pass (40% if you are an undergraduate student or 50% if you are a postgraduate student) and meet the intended learning outcomes for the year, then we will calculate two overall marks for you as follows:

  1. Your overall average for all your assessments in 2019/20, and
  2. Your overall average for assessments Boards of Examiners designated as unaffected by the move to online teaching or unmitigated industrial action.

The higher of these two averages will be used for progression and degree classification purposes.

We believe that this is a fair way forward and means you will not be unduly disadvantaged by the present situation.

Students are encouraged to continue to try their best in the coming period, as if higher marks are achieved in assessments submitted and examinations undertaken after Sunday, 15 March then this will be able to raise their mark for the year. Completing remaining assessments can only help your average and not lower it.

Grade calculator

Please use this calculator designed to help you estimate your grades for the year. The information you need to populate this is freely available on VITAL and we’d ask that you please do not contact your School Office for help with this calculation as this will enable us to ensure other queries related to this policy and its application can be answered as soon as possible. Remember to only use this as a guide and note that we cannot take responsibility if you accidentally miscalculate your grades.

To whom does the ‘safety net’ apply?

The safety net approach applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students in all years of study (including those who were on a Study Abroad placement) with the exception of those students on certain programmes which are subject to professional regulation/accreditation (see the list below), students on pre-sessional English programmes and those studying with Liverpool Online (where alternative arrangements are in place).

Part time students who have completed modules in 2019/20 will have the safety net applied when they have completed the full assessment for their year (level) of study.

A large proportion of our degrees carry professional body accreditation which may be important to your future careers. We have been in touch with these bodies to ascertain whether we are able to apply the ‘safety net’ approach to those programmes and retain the necessary accreditation.

Due to professional body and accreditation requirements the following are either fully or partially exempt from the application of the safety net:

  • All Programmes in School of Health Sciences
  • All Programmes in School of Medicine
  • All Programmes in School of Veterinary Sciences
  • All Programmes in School of Dentistry
  • All Programmes in Psychology except the MSc in Research Methods in Psychology

If this applies to you, your School will be in touch with more information.

Assessment, extenuating circumstances and the safety net

All students studying in Semester 2 will have extenuating circumstances due to the changes required to respond to COVID-19. Therefore, unless you are told otherwise by your department, wherever possible assessments which replace on-campus examinations will normally have an extended submission window.

This is designed to enable you to manage your assessment workload, including where you have multiple deadlines, and to deal with a range of personal and domestic challenges you may be encountering at this time.

 This means that most students will not need to make a submission for extenuating circumstances as these will be dealt with automatically.

However, we understand that some students will sadly face additional difficulties in this period in addition to the disruption generally experienced by the COVID-19 outbreak. If this applies to you, please submit for extenuating circumstances in the usual way and this will be considered by Boards of Examiners as normal. For illness- and bereavement-related extenuating circumstances, the usual requirement for evidence will be waived during this period.

 All students should expect to receive their exam timetables by the end of this month.


As we set out, for most of you, these measures allow additional time for the submission of your work. Given this, and the exceptional set of circumstances in which we find ourselves, with your academics also affected by COVID-19 and the lockdown, unfortunately it has been necessary to take the decision to delay the publication of some exam results.

We will prioritise grades for final year students (including those of you progressing on to an integrated Masters with us), as we know this is particularly important for your onward progression and therefore, if you are in your final year, you will receive your results on Wednesday, 15 July as previously communicated.

All continuing students will now receive their results a week later, on Thursday, 23 July. We know this will be disappointing news but hope that you can understand that it is unavoidable in the circumstances.

Other queries

For information on grade and degree classification, including: how we will deal with results on a boundary; how this applies to modules with pass/fail components; and how the overall pass mark will be applied, please refer to the FAQs.

Queries on appeal processes, resits, how your marks may be reflected on your degree transcript and much more are also covered in the FAQs.