University of Leeds Introduces Grade ‘Safety Net’ for Students

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The University of Leeds has become the most recent university to introduce a grade ‘safety net’ for students, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Yesterday afternoon the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Education, Tom Ward, sent an email to Leeds students informing them of the university’s decision. In addition, a video has been released which provides further details about the safety net policy.

In the email, the Deputy VC said:

“For finalists and Masters students, in Semester 2 of 2019/20, as long as you complete and pass all your modules (that is, as long as you have earned all the credits you need for your award), your classification will not fall below the level of achievement you have already demonstrated by the end of Semester 1 2019/20.

To do this, we will calculate your ‘prevailing classification average’ – this is your safety net. It will be calculated using all of the marks that are normally included in classification calculations for your degree, for all the modules you have completed up to the end of Semester 1 of 19/20. So, as long as you complete and pass all your modules (that is, as long as you have earned all the credits you need for your award), your final degree classification will not fall below this level. If including the marks from your modules completed in Semester 2 improves your classification, you will get the higher classification.

This safety net will be applied to all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students graduating in 2020.”

He added that the safety net will be applied in conjunction with the university’s process of “applying special circumstances discretion by considering your overall profile and considering any marks affected by individual mitigating circumstances”. 

A petition, lobbying the university to implement fairer mitigation systems reached just under 5,500 signatures before the University published their announcement.

On Facebook, Abiha Khan, the Education Officer at Leeds Univerisity Union, said: “We have fought blood, sweat and tears to get the University to provide more clarity and your no-detriment and safety net policy is finally HERE!”

Many University of Leeds students are welcoming the introduction of a grade safety net and some students are stating that the decision has been “long awaited” and is “very reassuring”. Another student commented on Facebook that the news “has literally lifted such a weight off mine and so many people’s shoulders”.

However, there is still a sense of confusion about how degree classifications will pan out for students studying for degrees which have modules that span two semesters.

One student wrote on Twitter:

Upon further reflection, why not just count the credits of the assessments that have already been submitted pre-March? I’ve completed 68 credits worth of assessments yet they don’t appear to count unless I can maintain my high first average into second-semester assignments.

For example, students studying for a Geography Bsc degree will have modules that span both semesters, this means that there is still a level of uncertainty with regard to how their degree will be classified. It also calls into question whether their marks from semester one (which are part of modules that span both semesters) will be disregarded.

For more information on how you will be assessed in light of the pandemic, click here.

Main image credited to George Stamets. See more of his photos on FlickrInstagram or website.