Assessment support measures

This page provides information about the support package that has been put in place for semester two of the 2020/21 academic year.

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

Do I use the Extenuating Circumstances policy if I can’t submit or complete any of my online assessments?

Depending on the type of online assessments you are completing this year either Extenuating Circumstances or Exemption from Late Penalties policies will apply. These are:

  • Time controlled (seen/unseen) exam – Extenuating Circumstances policy applies
  • Open Book Exam (Standard) – Extenuating Circumstances policy applies
  • Open Book Exam (Extended) – Extenuating Circumstances policy applies
  • Coursework – Exemption from Late Penalties policy applies

If you are studying on a clinical programme you should clarify the process that applies to you with your School. If you are not sure what type of assessment you are sitting please contact your school office.

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

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

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 or industrial action, as this is addressed by other measures including those set out here. You should only submit an application if you experience a specific issue that you feel has prevented you from 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.

Do I need to apply for extenuating circumstances for the general impact of the pandemic or industrial action?

No, for this academic year, this is addressed by other measures including the changes to the Extenuating Circumstances and Exemption from Late Penalties policies? Procedures? (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 or industrial action is identified and mitigated. Where appropriate, module marks will be adjusted so that students are awarded marks that 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.

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

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%. 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 within? two weeks after the submission deadline, or feedback was released to students for the work, whichever is sooner, you should follow the process for claiming? Extenuating Circumstances.

Will I be able to submit an extenuating circumstance claim for any IT problems experienced?

IT problems have not previously been considered as valid extenuating circumstances. 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 extenuating circumstances.

Evidence you submit should include screenshots showing the details of what went wrong, for example of the inability to connect to the internet 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.

Will I be penalised for submitting a time-restricted online exam late?

Online submissions of time-restricted exams must be made on time. Unexplained late submission after the closing time of the exam will result in a mark of 0% and the requirement to resit the exam at the next available opportunity, usually during the August resit period.

If you experience problems of any kind during the exam which you believe will lead to your late submission, you should contact your department immediately to let them know and to seek advice.

Does the Academic Integrity Policy cover all these assessments?

The Academic Integrity Policy applies to all online assessments taken during the Covid 19 Pandemic or during ongoing industrial action.

The regulations for online assessments taken during the COVID-19 pandemic or during industrial action are fully explained in Annex 4 of Appendix D of the Code of Practice on Assessment, along with a definition of each type of online assessment during this period.

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

Travel problems are not normally considered as valid extenuating circumstances 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 extenuating circumstances using the normal process. You should keep evidence of any of these changes, e.g. emails/messages from travel companies.

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

The existing borderline definition for profiling has been 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 the 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

When will I receive my marks for semester 2?


All students have now received all available marks. In some areas marks were released later than the 5 July to ensure there was time for appropriate quality processes to take place in line with our Code of Practice on Assessment. Anything that has not yet been marked will ultimately get marked, and now that the assessment and marking boycott is suspended we hope that this will be soon. We have asked staff to prioritise marking, but we are unable to confirm when your marks may be complete.


Our aim is to keep you up to date with progress and your school will continue to communicate directly with you to this end. Staff are working extremely hard to get outstanding marks to you.


Find out more about receiving your results.

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

For MA/MSc/MRes students who graduate in 2020/21, we have introduced 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.

This means if you achieve 58% or 59% as an overall average and 60+ on your research module, you will receive a merit.

If you achieve 68% or 69% as an overall average mark and 70+ on your research module, you will receive a distinction.

More information on Code of practice on assessment is available here.

For information about the marking and assessment boycott please visit our University Results Webpages.

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