Adapted approach for assessments and degree classification

Last updated: 28 January 2021 at 11.20am

We have been listening to the concerns you have been sharing with us and your Leeds University Union (LUU) representatives – your School and course reps – about how the pandemic is impacting on your academic performance.

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, and is in line with the thinking of the Russell Group of universities. You can view key points and frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Key points:

  • We are asking all Schools to reflect on the experiences of Semester 1 and to apply that learning to Semester 2, to ensure that we have considered your overall workload in our approach to the delivery of content and in setting assessments throughout Semester 2.
  • For January, in response to the stricter government restrictions over the holiday period, we waived penalties on the submission of semester one coursework for up to 7 days for all students.
  • 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. 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 am in my second year. Will you take the COVID-19 disruption into account next year in calculating my degree classification?

We have re-designed teaching and assessment for the 2020-2021 session to take into account the anticipated disruption of the pandemic.

In addition, 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.

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 any 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 your personal circumstances have impacted your ability to take assessments you can have this taken into account by applying for Mitigating Circumstances following the Mitigating Circumstances Guidance.

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 are reviewing this situation and looking at other ways to provide the learning outcomes in case practical classes cannot take place for an extended period. Assessments are also being 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 the disruption in the final semester of 2019-2020.

This year, we have again put in place arrangements to ensure that the results from Semester 2 of 2020 will not negatively impact on the classification for those of you who are graduating in 2021. We have also put in place measures to allow for the fair assessment of students this year so a safety net is not necessary. These include:

  • the re-design of assessments appropriate to online learning
  • a review of assessment workload for Semester 2 (2021) making reductions where appropriate
  • Reviewing 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.

We are committed to working with LUU to listen to your feedback and respond to the challenges you are facing.

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

You can contact your School if you have further questions about your degree classification.

What happens if I fail?

If you fail a module, you may be able to retake it during the relevant re-assessment period. View our information about marking, results and resits.

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 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 so that it still meets the programme’s accreditation requirements.