No detriment FAQs

1. What is the University’s no detriment policy?

‘No detriment’ refers to the approach the University is taking to ensure that you are not academically disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to marks, progression decisions and award classifications.

No detriment will be applied by calculating an individual performance benchmark for every student, based on your performance prior to 5 March.

Your marks for assessments completed after 5 March will not be allowed to drop below your performance benchmark. If you achieve marks that are higher than your benchmark, you will receive the higher marks.

View the No Detriment FAQs as a PDF

2. When will benchmarking not apply?

The University will not apply performance benchmarking to failed modules. If you fail a module, you will be given a further attempt; this will be as if for the first time with the marks uncapped (unless you are already on your second or third attempt). We are taking this approach to ensure that you and future employers can be confident you have met the learning outcomes of your course.

The University will not apply performance benchmarking where it is prevented from doing so by a professional, statutory or regulatory body requirement. Your School will advise you if such a restriction applies to your course.

The University will not use performance benchmarking where you have not completed enough assessment for a benchmark to be reliably calculated. This might be, for example, if you are a part-time undergraduate or postgraduate student and you have not yet completed a significant amount of assessment. You should not worry if this applies to you. You will still be able to progress to the next stage and the University will apply no detriment later, once sufficient assessment has been accumulated.

Where it is not possible to apply benchmarking, the University’s generic mitigation arrangements will still apply, including the granting of further uncapped attempts at assessment (providing you are not already on your second or third attempt).

3. When will I receive my benchmark?

The answers to these FAQs are intended to help you to estimate your benchmark, with further advice to be provided by your School.

The University will formally publish your benchmark alongside your end-of-year results, once all marks have been ratified by examination boards.

4. How will my individual performance benchmark be calculated?

We will calculate your benchmark using any marks you received for assessed work handed in prior to the COVID-19 disruption, which will usually mean work handed in by 5 March. This work does not have to be from completed modules – all assessments completed during this academic year before 5 March will be included to give the best estimate of your performance.

If less than 40 credits at your current academic level (0, 4, 5, 6 or 7) have been assessed by 5 March, then we will also use your average mark from your previous year when calculating the benchmark.

This approach will be applied to all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. It does not apply to doctoral research students.

The flowchart below and examples below are provided to help you understand how your benchmark will be calculated and to estimate your own benchmark.

Example 1: You have completed 40 credits or more of assessed work at your current level by 5 March

Your performance benchmark is a weighted average of assessments completed up to 5 March. A weighted average means that the assessment marks you have achieved will contribute to your benchmark in proportion to their credit value.

Let’s say that your profile of marks prior to 5 March consists of the following:

Component Credit rating Mark
1 x completed 20 credit module 20 credits 47%
1 x completed 10 credit module 10 credits 52%
An essay which counts for 50% of a 20 credit module 10 credits 64%
A logbook which counts for 30% of a 20 credit module 6 credits 61%
A presentation which counts for 50% of a 20 credit module 10 credits 57%
Total 56 credits

This equates to a total of 56 credits of assessment completed. Your weighted average over the 56 credits completed is calculated as follows.

(20 x 47% + 10 x 52% + 10 x 64% +6 x 61% + 10 x 57%) / 56 total credits
= (940 + 520+ 640 + 366 + 570)/56 = 54.21%

The benchmark in this example is 54.21%

Example 2: You have completed less than 40 credits of assessed work at your current level by 5 March

Where you have completed less than 40 credits’ worth of assessment at your current academic level, we will need to include evidence of prior performance – using your average mark from your previous year of study.

The benchmark will be an average of the assessment you have completed up to 5 March and your average mark for your previous year, weighted over 40 credits.

For example, let’s say you have completed the following assessments by 5 March at your current level of study.

Component Credit rating Mark
1 x completed 20 credit module 20 credits 69%
1 x essay counting for 25% of a 20 credit module 5 credits 63%
Total 25 credits

You have therefore completed 25 credits at the stage. Your weighted average over the 25 credits completed is calculated as follows:

(20 x 69% + 5 x 63%)/25 = (1380 + 315)/25 = 67.8%

However, since only 25 credits have been completed, the University will include in the benchmark your stage average from your previous stage of study, weighted to the equivalent of 15 credits.

For example,

You are a third year (level 6) undergraduate students who has completed 25 credits with a weighted average of 67.8%.

Your year average for your second year (level 5) is 61%.

Your benchmark will be calculated as follows:

(25 x 67.8% + 15 x 61%)/40 = (1695 + 915)/40 = 65.25%

The benchmark in this example is 65.25%

5. What if I haven’t completed 40 credits at my current level of study and I do not have a previous year of study?

If you have not completed 40 credits at your current level and you do not have a previous year of study, the University will not be able to calculate a benchmark for you at this stage.

This might apply if you are a part-time student, or if you are a first year undergraduate or one year postgraduate student on a course where most assessment takes place after 5 March.

Please do not worry if you are in this situation. The University will make a note that you have not yet been considered under the no detriment policy and will return to your profile of marks once more assessments have been accumulated.

Benchmark calculation flow chart

Benchmark calculation flow chart

7. What if I do not pass?

You need to pass your assessments in order for the statistical no detriment formulae described above to be applied. If you do not pass you will be offered a further attempt at the assessment, as if for the first time, over the summer. This is known as a deferral.

8. What should I do if I am not able to submit assessed work on time?

In order to avoid being penalised for late work, you should request an extension from your course leader. You will not be required to provide evidence to support your request and computer problems or IT failure will be considered a valid reason for an extension request. You should ideally request your extension before your submission deadline, but you may also request it up to two weeks after the deadline has passed.

9. How will my marks for the year be reflected on my transcript

The University will provide a transcript that gives you and potential employers and other universities confidence that your achievement is accurately and fairly reflected.

The University is currently reviewing sector-wide guidance in this area and will provide further details on the format of the transcript in due course.

10. Do I need to submit a mitigating circumstances claim?

All of the arrangements described above will be applied to all students. This provides for adjustment of marks through benchmarking as well as uncapped deferrals. There is therefore no need for you to submit mitigating circumstances claims either relating to COVID-19 or anything else. This is intended to ease burden on students.

11. How can I seek further support?

We recognise that many students will be experiencing difficult circumstances which in some cases will mean that family and personal matters will have to taken priority over academic work. The University is committed to supporting all of our students through this challenging time.

For further support please contact your usual advisors or make contact via the University’s Wellbeing services.


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