An update on the safety net commitment - 31 March
On Friday 27 March, we announced our commitment to ensuring that end of year average marks in 2019/20 for undergraduate students in their intermediate and final year would not be detrimentally affected by the changes we are making to teaching, learning and assessment as a consequence of Covid-19. This forms a central part of our efforts to support students who have worked hard this year and we are committed to getting the details of how this will work out over the coming weeks.
You will naturally have questions about how this will work for your course and your own situation. We are actively working to finalise these details and will communicate these to you directly in the coming weeks. We will respond to individual questions once this is published but cannot answer them before then.
In the meantime, it is essential that you continue to approach your studies and assessments to the best of your ability. This will ensure that you meet the other requirements for progressing to the next year or being awarded your degree, including that all Core modules are passed and that you achieve the minimum number of credits required. Where you are directly impacted by difficult circumstances related to Covid-19, you should let us know and seek support through the Mitigating Circumstances Portal or MyWBS.
Specifically, we are today adding to the guidance published on Friday to confirm that:
- You must submit and take all outstanding assessments currently set and in Term 3 to qualify for the safety net;
- If you miss an assessment due to illness or other mitigating circumstances then the Exam Board will take this into account;
- You should not seek details of the safety net commitment from your department at this stage but should instead wait for a University-wide communication so that we can focus on issuing this guidance as soon as possible.
A safety net for intermediate and final year students
Some of you are understandably concerned about the impact that moving to alternative and online assessment arrangements (including for lab work and dissertations) may have on your final classifications or your end of year averages.
We moved assessments online to ensure that, despite challenges presented by the global pandemic, you could remain engaged with our learning community, supported by our staff, and still progress towards a quality-assured Warwick degree.
Our assessment data already provides us with information to enable robust decision-making about your trajectory towards progression (intermediate students) and degree outcomes (final year students) at the end of term two. This helps us to ensure you are progressing to achievement of the learning outcomes of your programme.
We now ensure that for this academic year (2019/2020) you will not be adversely affected by the revised online arrangements and we will ensure that your final academic year average is the same as or higher than the average you have attained so far. Average marks for the year can still be raised by taking the summer assessments.
Therefore you do need to ensure that you take (or submit) your assessments as specified.
This safety net recognises the hard work you have put in already this year. We hope this gives you some more of the reassurances you have been looking for at this difficult time.
Students on courses with professional accreditation may be subject to different arrangements of which you will be notified as soon as possible.
Further details about how averages will be calculated will also be provided as soon as we can make these available. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.
If you do not feel you are well enough to take your assessments, then please refer to the mitigating circumstances arrangements.
Teaching in Term 3
Further to our update in the previous newsletter, we can confirm that no new teaching will take place for students in Term 3, with the exception of a small number of degree apprenticeships that will continue.
In Term 3 all scheduled teaching has been cancelled unless it is essential for the learning outcomes of your degree. This means that revision sessions, dissertation supervision, academic support and personal tutoring will all go ahead but there will be no new delivery of content.
April and Summer Exams - timetable release
In line with the decision to move all exams to online alternative assessments, the provisional timetable for April assessments has been redrafted and it will be available on Monday.
When you access the timetable, you will see that the method of assessment is indicated in the overview of assessments. On the Exams website you will be able to find an explanation of what each of these types of assessment look like. If your module is not listed in the timetable, your department is intending to schedule an online assignment instead. In that case, your department will provide you with information about the intended assignment as soon as possible.
Please note that we are still approving the proposed assessments, and the timetable is therefore still provisional. We aim to confirm the final timetable as soon as possible. It is very unlikely that there will be changes in the timing of the online assessments, but the method or duration may be adjusted to ensure the best quality of assessment possible, in some cases.
The timetable for the assessment period starting in May will follow as soon as we can make it available. Thank you for your patience whilst we are making the necessary arrangements in a fast-changing situation.
Preparing for alternative assessments
The University is aware of the challenges that may come with taking assessments online. However, we are working on making sure that you are are given the necessary resources and support to go through this type of assessment, for example, see our new guidance on open book assessments.
We are focusing considerable effort on this task across the large number of modules effected in Term 3, as we know that clarity here is a priority. To give you an idea of the scale of this work we are:
- working with departments to agree suitable alternatives to exams
- ensuring each decision is reviewed and checked for clarity and quality
- ensuring that the timetable works for the revised exam types and timings
- ensuring comprehensive support and guidance on taking assessments online is developed and in place