Degree classification and assessments

Updated 17 May 2021

We know that students are concerned about their results and outcomes. We’ve worked with Leeds University Union (LUU) to review our approach to classification to make sure that the changes we introduced in November 2020 are appropriate, despite the ongoing COVID situation. We carefully considered the approach we’ve put in place, and after consulting with staff and students concluded that our classification arrangements this year will ensure a fair outcome. We have also considered and changed our approach to progression for first years and foundation level students, to help support those who may fail elements of their assessment to continue with their studies.

We have adapted, and will continue to review, our approach to learning, teaching and assessment, to ensure that you are able to achieve and demonstrate the learning outcomes of your course.

Our approach considers the disruption you faced in Semester 2 in 2020 alongside the anticipated disruption of the pandemic during your 2020/21 academic year. You can view key points and frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Key points:

  • All Schools have to reflect on the experiences of Semester 1 are applying that learning to ensure that we have considered your overall workload in our approach to the delivery of content and in setting assessments.
  • We have streamlined our mitigating circumstances process to make it easier for you to apply and will be sympathetic that you may not always be able to provide evidence of your situation. 
  • We will review marks at Assessment Boards to make sure that any disruptions to learning or assessment are considered in finalising module marks and you are treated fairly and equitably. 
  • For those of you graduating in 2021, we have worked closely with your LUU representatives to agree how we will calculate your degree classification and have reviewed the approach we are taking. The calculation details are on the For Students website and we have included answers to some frequently asked questions below.
  • For those of you graduating in future years, we are committed to continuing to work in partnership with you, and with LUU, so that you will receive an appropriate and fair classification, taking account of the overall impact of the pandemic during your studies.

Frequently asked questions

I’m graduating in 2021, how will my degree be classified?

We have been working in close partnership with your representatives from Leeds University Union (LUU) – your elected Executive Officer team – your School and course representatives to ensure that your degree classification is not negatively affected by the campus closure in Semester 2 of 2020 and the rapid move to online delivery at that point in time. View more details of how we will classify degrees for students graduating in 2021.

I’m in my final year and my marks haven’t been as good as expected this year. How will that affect my final classification?

Usually if you’re on a three-year programme, your second and third year have either equal weighting (1:1) or your final year carries a higher weighting (1:2). This year, we’re also applying a 0:1 calculation so that, if necessary, your final classification can be based on your final year only. However, there are several ways we will be approaching classification to ensure the fairest outcome for every individual.

When will I get my results and award confirmation / degree certificate?

You will receive your results on 19 July. This is later than 5 July as previously planned, but the change of date is to give us more time to put in the extra measures we have introduced to ensure that marks and classification are a fair indication of your performance.

If you have failed credits that could have implications for your progression or the award of your degree, you will be invited to a Study Success meeting in July to support you in making decisions on your resits. From 21 July you will have a Digital Proof of your Award, which will provide formal confirmation of your degree and can be shared with employers and used for visas.

What if I did really well last year and not so well this year? Will that affect my final mark?

No – while the 0:1 calculation can be applied, we look at your overall performance and use the best calculation to give you the fairest result. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach – we’ll look at the big picture and choose the best approach for each individual.

I’m in my first year. How many credits do I need to pass?

We understand that starting your studies in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging and we’ve adjusted our progression requirements as a result. As you know, your marks from your first year do not count towards your final classification, so you just need to pass. And to help you mitigate the effects of COVID, unless there are requirements relating to the accreditation of your programme, we have reduced the minimum credit requirement from 100 to 80 for the 20/21 year as long as you pass all your ‘pass for progression’ modules.

I’m a second year student and notice that the 80-credit progression requirement for level 1 students doesn’t apply to me. Why is that?

If you are in your second year, the rules for progression have not changed. The reason for this is that level 2 credits are included in classification and you need to achieve a certain number of credits at this level so that you are not disadvantaged in later years and can be awarded your degree as planned.

I’m on a Foundation Year. How many credits do I need to move on?

The same principles apply to Foundation Year as to first year students, so the credit requirement to progress to year 1 of your degree programme is 80 rather than 100, unless there are requirements relating to the accreditation of your degree programme and as long as you pass all your ‘pass for progression’ modules.

I was on an opportunity year in 2019/20. Will my classification be calculated with 0:1?

We gave this matter very close consideration based on the concerns of students who’d taken an opportunity (study abroad or placement) year in 19/20. However, we concluded that it wouldn’t be appropriate to exclude marks that would normally contribute to your classification which were achieved before the pandemic. The 1:1 and 1:2 weightings will be used to calculate your classification average and the better of the two will apply.

I have mitigating circumstances what do I do?

If you have personal circumstances that impact your ability to study, you are advised to seek support from relevant support services. You should also inform your School as soon as possible so they can help you access the support you need.

We have streamlined our mitigating circumstances process, making it easier for you to apply. In response to your feedback, we are undertaking a further review of our approach in the light of the ongoing challenges. To date we have approved a process in which an extension of up to 14 days can be requested in one assessment period without evidence, and in the January 2021 assessment period no penalties have been given on late submission of coursework of up to 7 days.

If you have had unforeseen circumstances during an assessment period, which have impacted your ability to sit assessments, you should follow our Mitigating Circumstances Guidance.

You can also speak to your Academic Personal Tutor, Student Education Service staff within your parent School or your Programme Leader for advice and guidance.

How will my grades be protected?

Assessment Boards will review the overall profile of marks on each module to make sure that any disruption to your studies is considered in finalising module marks. Additionally, If you have had unforeseen circumstances during an assessment period, which have impacted your ability to sit assessments, you should follow our Mitigating Circumstances Guidance.

I have had no practical classes this year and am worried that this will affect my results.

All Schools have reviewed this situation and have provided other activities to ensure you can meet the learning outcomes for your modules and programmes. Assessments have also been reviewed to ensure that you are only assessed on subjects you have covered.

Are you implementing a safety net as you did for students graduating last year?

The safety net put in place last year was specific to the challenges faced by students undertaking assessments at that point. It recognised that the disruption caused by the lockdown in the final semester of 2019-2020 had the potential to impact the final classification of all students graduating last summer.

This year, we have put in place a different set of measures which reflect the current situation to ensure that the results from Semester 2 of 2020 will not negatively impact on the classification for students graduating in 2021. Additionally, we have:

  • Re-designed assessments appropriate to online learning.
  • Reviewed assessment workload for Semester 2 (2021) making reductions where appropriate.
  • Introduced the review of marks at assessment boards to make sure that any disruptions to learning or assessment are considered in finalising module marks and all students are treated fairly and equitably.

Who can I speak to if I have questions about my degree classifications?

You can contact the LUU helpdesk if you have questions about the approach to degree classification this year, or your School to understand how the principles will apply to you.

What happens if I fail?

You will be given the opportunity to resit any failed modules in the summer resit period.

If you fail more than 20 credits you will also be invited to attend a study success meeting to discuss your options, and which modules you should apply to resit. You will be required to pass 100 credits at level 2 and above to progress, and all your ‘pass for progression’ modules. At level 1 and foundation level, you will be required to pass at least 80 credits and all ‘pass for progression’ modules, unless accreditation requirements mean that there are additional progression requirements you will have to meet.

I want to appeal, how do I do that?

You can find information about the appeals procedure on our For Students website.

What are online time-limited assessments? Where can I find more information about these?

Information about online time-limited assessments is available on our For Students website.

Do I have to take assessments?

Yes. You are expected to take all assessments identified by your School and pass the normal credit requirements for your programme.

How will my assessment be conducted, and what if the technology doesn’t work?

You can find information about the digital education systems you will need, and details about how to report issues on our For Students website.

I normally have reasonable adjustments made for my assessments. Will I have arrangements such as extra time?

View information about reasonable adjustments for your assessments. Please also note that assessments have been designed to be inclusive so fewer individual assessments should be needed.

I am unable to complete the assessment because of my disability

All assessments have been designed with accessibility in mind, however, if you are concerned about the type or method of assessment, or you are concerned that you will not be able to access the relevant system, you should contact your School as soon as possible to discuss this. Your School will be happy to work with you and Disability Services to find an appropriate solution.

What if I can’t take my assessments because I cannot access the system I need?

You can find information about digital education systems on our website For Students.

If you are experiencing difficulties with Wi-Fi or accessing systems, you should discuss this with your Academic Personal Tutor or contact your school. They will explore solutions with you, including the possibility of loaning a laptop from the University.

Professional and Statutory Body (PSRB) and accreditation requirements

In some circumstances, your programme may lead to a professional qualification and may be subject to the requirements of an external body such as the Law Society or the General Medical Council. If this applies to you, your school will let you know how your degree will be classified and the approach to progression, so that it still meets the programme’s accreditation requirements.

Do I need to pass all my assessments to progress to the next level of my programme?

You will need to pass the credit requirements for your programme in order to progress to the next level of your programme. For students in years 2 and 3 (for integrated Masters), this means passing at least 100 credits before you are able to progress. You will also need to pass all modules that are designated as ‘pass for progression’ for your programme.

For students in year 1, we have reviewed our progression requirements and, subject to accreditation requirements, you now only need to pass 80 credits in order to progress to your next level of study. If you have failed more than 20 credits, however, you will be invited to a study success meeting to ensure you are clear on what you will need to achieve in order to be eligible for your degree, and what resits you are advised to take.

For students on Foundation Years, you will need to pass at least 80 credits to progress to your chosen programme of study, and all modules designated as ‘pass for progression’. In some circumstances, where there are limited places available for your preferred programme option, places may be restricted and therefore other criteria may also apply. Programmes that have accreditation requirements may also apply additional criteria before you can be accepted onto your chosen programme.

Can I progress if I have a plagiarism offence?

If you have a plagiarism offence, you will still need to resit in the summer resit period to expunge this offence in order to be able to progress to your next level of study. If your offence relates to the summer resit assessment, you will need to resit your assessment again to expunge this offence at the next opportunity the assessment is offered.