FAQs: Assessment Support Measures *UPDATED*


Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students who study on our main and Leahurst campuses have been emailed with information about the package of support measures we have put in place regarding assessments this year.

Please find enclosed below FAQs which relate to that communication.

You can find further information about exams and assessments and how Extenuating Circumstances will be applied on our exams information webpage.

Please read all the information available to you thoroughly before contacting your school office with further queries.

Q: Do I use the Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Policy if I can’t submit or complete any of my online assessments?

A: Depending on the type of online assessments you are completing this year either EC or Exemption from Late Penalties (ELP) policies will apply. These are:

  • Time controlled (seen/unseen) exam – EC Policy applies
  • Open Book Exam (Standard) – EC Policy applies
  • Open Book Exam (Extended) – EC Policy applies
  • Coursework – ELPPolicy applies

If you are studying on a clinical programme you should clarify the process that applies to you with your School.

Information on how to apply for these can be found here:



Q: Do I need to submit evidence of illness if I am applying for extenuating circumstances to be considered?

A: For the whole of the 2020/21 academic year, we have removed the requirement for evidence of personal illness if you need to make an application under the Extenuating Circumstances Policy.

Please note that you do not need to apply for extenuating circumstances to ask for consideration of the general impact of the pandemic, as this is addressed by other measures including those set out here.  You should only submit an application if you experience a specific issue which you feel has prevented you completing your work to your best ability.

Examples of this might include your own illness which causes you to miss teaching, to be late in submitting coursework, or to miss a scheduled exam. If you are claiming extenuating circumstances because of the illness of someone who is a close relative, or for whom you have caring responsibilities, you will still need to provide evidence.

Please remember that you should inform your department if you are unwell in line with the student sickness absence policy

Q:  Do I need to apply for Extenuating Circumstances for the general impact of the pandemic?

A:  No, for this academic year, this is addressed by other measures including the changes to the Extenuating Circumstances and Exemption from Late Penalties (see Extenuating Circumstances page for list).  In addition, given the exceptional circumstances this year: –

  • Boards of Examiners will review the performance of current student cohorts against a variety of data, including achievement in other modules, achievement in previous years of study, and achievement of previous cohorts, to ensure that any detrimental impact of the pandemic is identified and mitigated. Where appropriate, module marks will be adjusted so that students are awarded marks which are valid indicators of their attainment.
  • Boards of Examiners will have more discretion to progress or classify students based on a holistic assessment of achievement over the whole programme, although for some programmes this discretion may be limited by the requirements of professional body accreditation and regulatory bodies. Where this is the case, your academic department will make it clear to you. Where individual students have additional accepted Extenuating Circumstances then they may be offered resit as a first sit (for an uncapped mark) or individual marks or modules may be discounted from the final award calculation.
  • For non-final year students, wherever possible we will implement a more permissive approach to carrying failed marks forward in order to support student progression, although for some programmes this may not be possible due to the requirements of regulatory bodies. We are continuing to work with regulatory bodies through Universities UK and departments will provide more information about this as soon as they are able; however, this may take some time as it depends on national discussions so please be patient.
  • For final year undergraduate students on modular, non-clinical programmes we will double the borderline range for profiling at classification from 1% to 2%. This means that if your average is 48/49 percent, 58/59 percent or 68/69 percent the Board of Examiners will specifically consider whether you meet the requirements for the award of a degree in the higher classification.

Q: Will I be penalised for handing in coursework after the submission deadline?

A: As detailed in section 6 of the Code of Practice on Assessment, 5% of the total marks available for assessments are normally deducted for each working day after the submission date. Work submitted after the 5th day normally receives a mark of 0%. As we have previously communicated, we are exceptionally waiving the first 5 days of late penalties for work due in January or February 2021 only. On the 6th day, unless you have submitted an application for Exemption from Late Penalties, and this application has been accepted, you will receive a mark of 0%. If an issue arises which for good reason, you were unable to disclose to your department before two weeks after the submission deadline, or feedback was released to students for the work, whichever is sooner, you should follow the process for Extenuating Circumstances.

Q: My assignment deadline was before the announcement about the exemption from late penalties was made. I submitted on time; can I withdraw my original submission?

A: Assignments submitted before the announcement cannot be removed. Staff start the marking and moderation process once the deadline has lapsed. You can make an application for extenuating circumstances if you feel the quality of your work has suffered.

Q: Will I be able to submit an EC for any IT problems experienced?

A: IT problems have not previously been considered as valid ECs. However, throughout the academic year 2020-21, if exceptional circumstances occur which are outside of your control , and which prevent you from completing or submitting a piece of coursework or a scheduled exam, you can for this period, apply for ECs.

Evidence you submit should include screenshots showing the details of what went wrong (for example of inability to connect to your wireless, or very slow connection speed) and when, a precise timeline of events showing what happened and when, and a service log number from CSD if you have contacted the University IT helpdesk for assistance. You should as far as possible try to provide evidence from your internet provider. You should explain the software you were trying to use and the steps you took to fix the problem in time to complete the assessment.

Your department may have provided you with specific instructions about who to contact immediately should you have any IT issues during an exam. Please make sure that you follow their instructions. You should find this information posted on your academic department student intranet. If you’re at all unclear about what to do, please contact your Student Support Office BEFORE your exam.

Q: I am a disabled student with a Support Plan, will I be given any additional time?

A: For exams, if you are undertaking an open-book assessment (standard or extended), this will be available over a much longer period than the normal examination(s) e.g. 24+ hours. The assessment task will have been designed to require a limited amount of time and your tutors will be able to explain the time they would expect the assessment to be completed in. There will be sufficient time for you to take additional time on the task if you need to do so. This is deemed an inclusive approach and should give the opportunity for you to complete assessments at a time and pace that is appropriate to your individual circumstances, therefore removing the need for any further adjustments such as extra time.

For timed-controlled online examinations (i.e. assessment which lasts up to 4 hours), you will be allocated your recommended extra time/adjustments. Your School Support Office will  contact you about this. If you are entitled to request extensions for coursework you will not need to apply for an extension for Semester 1 coursework assessments due in January and February 2021. You will be able to submit work up to 15 working days (three calendar weeks) after the original deadline, provided that your submission is made before the release of feedback for the relevant assessment.

You will not be able to apply for Exemption from Late Penalties in addition to this extension. This is because disabled students who are entitled to an extension are usually granted an extension of up to 10 working days so the total 15 days includes the additional time which is available to all students as part of the Exemption from Late Penalties protocol announced this week.

If you are considering making use of this automatic extension, you are encouraged to discuss your requirements with your lecturers so that you can be properly supported in your studies and they can confirm when feedback will be released. Students on clinical programmes should discuss the implications of late submission with their department.

By submitting work up to 15 working days after the deadline, academic staff may need longer to mark and return your work. This may mean that if you have multiple pieces of coursework which build on one another that you may not receive feedback on one piece of assessment before starting or submitting the next. You should think carefully about whether and when to use the extension you have been offered; you will not be able to claim ECs for subsequent pieces of related coursework based on a lack of feedback.

Q: Does the Academic Integrity Policy cover all these assessments?

A: The Academic Integrity Policy applies to standard and extended open book exams and coursework.


For seen or unseen time-controlled exams, the Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations apply:


Q: What happens if I am travelling during the assessment period and miss all or part of a time-limited assessment?

A: Travel problems are not normally considered as valid ECs for missed assessments, and you should plan your travel around the assessment schedule.  If this is not possible (for example if travel is already booked, and cannot be changed) contact your School in advance to let them know. If your travel plans change because of factors out of your control (for example flight delays or train cancellations) you can apply for ECs using the normal process. You should keep evidence of any of these changes, e.g. emails/messages from travel companies.

Q: I am an undergraduate student. How will my degree class be calculated if my average mark is in a borderline range?

A: The existing borderline definition for profiling will be increased from 1 percent to 2 percent below the grade boundary. This means that for students on modular, non-clinical programmes if your average is 48/49 percent, 58/59 percent or 68/69 percent the Board of Examiners will specifically consider whether you meet the requirements for the award of a degree in the higher classification. They will look at your profile of marks obtained in your second and third years (and fourth year if you are on a four year programme).

Profiling will only be used at the point of final classification. The higher classification will be awarded in line with the criteria set out in the Code of Practice on Assessment, but with a wider threshold.

CoPA appendix I 2010-11 to 2020-21: System for the Classification of Three-year Non-Clinical Undergraduate Degrees – applicable to the 2010-11 to 2020-2021 cohorts

CoPA appendix J 2010-11 to 2020-21: Classification of Four-Year and Five-Year Non-Clinical Undergraduate Degrees – applicable to the 2010-11 to 2020-21 cohorts

Q: When will I receive my marks for semester 1?

A: Allowing students to submit work later will impact on the time available to academic staff to mark the work and we will therefore need to move the date on which provisional marks are released by 5 working days from the 11th March to the 18th March.   

Q: I am a postgraduate taught student. How will my degree outcome be calculated?

A:  For MA/MSc/MRes students who graduate in 2020/21, we will introduce profiling zones of 58/59 for Merit and 68/69 for Distinction, where students will receive the higher award if their dissertation mark is 60+ or 70+, respectively.