CUSU has spent the past few weeks lobbying the University in relation to exams and assessment, encouraging them to adopt a greater level of flexibility and to consider all possible ways of assessing their students. All students should have received an email from Graham Virgo this afternoon with information about the University’s approach to exams and assessment.
We are pleased to announce that the University has now adopted a ‘safety net’ policy for final-year undergraduate students. Final-year undergraduates will not graduate with a class lower than the one they achieved in the previous year, so long as they pass their assessment this academic year.
In our discussions with the University, we have made clear that no student should be disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control, such as illness, caring responsibilities or lack of a suitable work environment. We are pleased to see that the University has committed to a second assessment period once the University is operational again, to allow for students in different circumstances to be assessed in the best way possible for them.
You should receive another email this week from your Faculty or Department with specific information about arrangements for assessment within your subject. If you have concerns about arrangements for assessment within your Faculty or Department, we would encourage you to get in touch with your Academic Reps, or let us know through our anonymous reporting form.
We will continue to lobby the University for greater clarity on its assessment practice for disabled students and finalists who were not awarded a class last year, as well as pushing for more information for postgraduate students, particularly when it comes to research-based components.
Yesterday’s announcement on exams and assessment was a big victory for students, but we know there are some specific issues that still need to be resolved and we will continue raising these with the University.
Fourth Year Students on Integrated Master’s: We have been pushing to ensure there is proper clarity for 4th year undergraduates on integrated Master’s programmes in relation to the ‘safety net’ policy.
We will be encouraging the University to implement the safety net policy for students in their 4th year of an integrated Master’s programme where possible (e.g. Natural Sciences - Part III). If you are a 4th year undergraduate student on an integrated Master’s programme and would like to see the safety net policy implemented within your Tripos, we would encourage you to get in touch with the relevant Head of School to let them know.
We are aware that in some cases, Faculties and Departments have adopted a pass/fail model for the 4th year of integrated Master’s programmes, hence the absence of the safety net policy (e.g. Engineering - Part IIB; Mathematics - Part III).
Students who did not receive a class in the previous year: We know there are some final-year students who will not have received a class in their previous year, often as a result of extenuating circumstances, and are concerned about not having a similar safety net when it comes to their final classification.
We have asked the University to explore options for extending the safety net policy in these cases, so that students who did not receive a class in the previous year can be classed on the basis of their performance in earlier years.
Postgraduate students: We know there is still a need for further information for postgraduate students whose assessment involves a research-based component that they may not be able to complete as planned. We have flagged this issue with the University and asked for further guidance to be made available for these students.