Assessment and exams FAQs

Updated 1 May 2020 at 4pm

How will I be assessed?

Degree classifications

Study abroad and work placements

Foundation year students

Special arrangements

Mitigating circumstances

How will I be assessed this Semester?

If you are a Final Year Undergraduate or Masters student, your in-course assessments and examinations will go ahead, but via online methods. You will not need to be on campus to undertake your assessments and examinations.  Schools have been working hard to put in place alternative assessments that can be delivered online and reflect the context in which you will be working.  Schools and Module Leaders will contact you to confirm the arrangements for your assessments and examinations.

If you are a Penultimate Year student (i.e. in the year below Final Year) your in-course assessments will go ahead, but via online methods, and unless there are professional accreditation requirements your examinations will not take place but may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment.  If this is the case your School or Module Leader will let you know.

If you are at any other level of your studies, your in-course assessments and examinations after the Easter vacation (i.e. Summer Term) will not take place, unless there are professional accreditation requirements.  You should continue to engage with your learning materials through online independent study and take formative assessments if these are set for your module, as this will help prepare you for your next year of study.

If you are enrolled on modules associated with professional accreditation requirements, you may need to take assessments at all levels of your studies to ensure that you are able to qualify. Your School and Module Leaders will be in touch with you directly about any assessments you need to complete.

Added on 17 April 2020: As outlined in the email from the Vice Chancellor today, “Your school will tell you everything you need to know about your exams, including when and how to access them, when to return them and how to get support if you encounter any technical issues or have a question about the content of the exam. This information will be communicated to you by the end of the first week of term (that is, no later than Friday 1 May). Please do make sure that you check all messages from your school and all module announcements in Minerva to ensure that you do not miss important information. It is particularly important that Joint Honours students, and students taking modules from more than one school, should pay attention to all such announcements.”

What are online open (open-book) exams? Where can I find out more information about these?

Online open-book exams allow you to access materials such as summaries, notes, and textbooks. This type of exam does not just test your ability to recall information. Instead, you’ll be expected to engage in a critical and analytical manner, to demonstrate how you have understood your topic and that you can apply relevant knowledge to the question. More information on online open-book exams can be found on the Skills@library pages. We have also prepared a helpful video to guide you through what is expected of you and the resources available for open-book exams.

Do I have to take assessments?

You are expected to take all assessments identified by your School. If you are unable to take an assessment, you will need to complete a Mitigating Circumstances application. We are simplifying our mitigating circumstances process for individuals to ensure that is as easy as possible to use, as we know that in the context of the current situation some of you will be dealing with additional challenging issues. Similarly, we will be sympathetic this year to extension requests for submission of in-course assessment and may not require you to provide supporting evidence.

Will I be able to defer?

Our aim is to support students to progress or complete within normal timeframes wherever possible. Our approach is based on this principle.

In exceptional circumstances, if you are unable to participate in your learning and assessments due to the impact of Covid-19, you will need to apply for individual Mitigating Circumstances.

I am a final year Undergraduate or Master’s student. How will my examinations be conducted, and what if the technology doesn’t work?

In the vast majority of cases, examinations will be changed to alternative types of assessments such as ‘take-home’ or ‘open book’ examinations, projects or essays, which do not rely on sophisticated technology.

In a small number of cases, you may be asked to take a secure online examination using a specialised system. If this is the case, we will provide you with all the information you need, and we will ensure you are not penalised in the event of any technical problems.

If you are concerned that you do not have the necessary equipment to complete the assessment at home, please contact your School as soon as you can.  If you continue to have technical difficulties and are not able to access learning you must keep your School informed.

I am in my third year of an Integrated Masters programme. Am I considered a Final Year or Penultimate Year student?

In relation to the student education arrangements for the 2019/20 academic year document, you will be considered a Final Year Student, and therefore you will have in-course assessments and examinations conducted remotely in the Summer Term.

I am confused about how my module marks will be calculated. Please can you explain the situation?

It is important that you take all the assessments that are set for you so that we can award you the credit for the modules you are taking this Semester. Where assessments have taken place, these will be used to assign a module mark. In some circumstances it may be necessary to return a pass/fail or an award of credit, rather than a numeric mark.

If you are unable to take your assessment, you need to apply for Mitigating Circumstances. We are simplifying our mitigating circumstances process for individuals to ensure that is as easy as possible to use, as we know that in the context of the current situation some of you will be dealing with additional challenging issues.

If you are not in your final year, we will allow you to progress to the next level of study regardless of the marks returned in your modules. If you or your School have concerns about your readiness to succeed at the next level of study, your School will provide advice and support.

What is Leeds’ no detriment policy?

There are several steps that constitute our approach to ensuring that your studies are not adversely affected by the coronavirus.

  • Progression for non-finalists
  • Streamlined mitigating circumstances procedures including making it simpler for you to request an extension to an assessment deadline
  • Flexibility on the timing of resits for failed modules
  • Safety net approach – this is detailed here in relation to classification calculations for those graduating in 2020. For those not graduating in 2020 but whose current year of study would be included in their classification calculation, the Senate will consider how this principle applies to the calculation of your classification so you are not disadvantaged
  • Redesigning inclusive assessments (where appropriate) for Semester 2 of 2019/20

What safety net has Leeds put in place?

For students graduating in 2020, we understand that you are keen to have more detail on how we will determine your degree classification. So, we are outlining here how we will apply a safety net to ensure that your classification is not adversely affected by the coronavirus.

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. This is in addition to our usual process of applying special circumstances discretion by considering your overall profile and considering any marks affected by individual mitigating circumstances.

For those not graduating in 2020 but whose current year of study would be included in their classification calculation, the Senate will consider how this principle applies to calculation of your classification.

Is my degree guaranteed on the work I have done to date?

In order to be awarded your degree it is important for you to undertake the assessments set for all your modules, including the assessments set for you this Semester. This is to ensure that you can earn the credits needed for your award. If you complete and pass all your assessments you will meet this requirement and will benefit from the safety net policy. If you are not able to complete your assessments for any reason, you should apply for mitigating circumstances.

Do I need to complete and pass all my assessments in order to get my degree?

In order to be awarded your degree, you will need to undertake the assessments set for all your modules. This is to ensure that you can earn the credits needed for your award. If you complete and pass all your assessments you will meet this requirement and will benefit from the safety net policy. If you are not able to complete your assessments for any reason, you should apply for mitigating circumstances.

What if I get a poor mark?

We understand that the current context is challenging for everyone. If you complete an assessment but get a lower mark than you hoped, this will be considered by your School’s Assessment Board.
If the Assessment Board determines that you have failed a module, you will be provided with an opportunity to resit. In most cases, you will need to resit to ensure that you can meet the credit requirements for your award.

If the Assessment Board determines that you have passed the module or are awarded the credit, you will not be allowed to resit simply to try to improve your mark. This is in line with existing University policy.

For students graduating in 2020, please also read the FAQ on the safety net we have put in place.

What if I fail a module?

If you have not been set an assessment for a module, you will still be awarded the credit for the module and will pass, unless there is a previous formal warning for non-attendance or non-engagement with your studies.

Where an assessment has been set, your module marks will be considered by your School’s Assessment Board. If the Assessment Board determines that you have failed a module, you will be provided with an opportunity to resit. In most cases, you will need to resit to ensure that you can meet the credit requirements for your award.
This applies to any module where you achieved lower than the pass mark; any module where the assessments were designed to return a Pass/Fail mark and you were deemed to have failed; and any module where assessments are incomplete and you are not awarded the credit (e.g. due to academic malpractice, or an existing formal warning).

Please also read the FAQ on when resits will be held.

I am a final year undergraduate or Masters student. How do I work out my prevailing classification average? In other words, what does the safety net mean for me personally?

You can access a record of your marks via Student Services in Minerva.

Your prevailing classification average will be calculated using a weighted average (weighted by the credit weighting of each module) across all modules that would usually contribute to your classification for all modules that were completed by the end of Semester 1 in 2019/20.

So, for example, if your penultimate year and final year normally contribute to classification for your award, you would calculate your prevailing classification average in four steps:

  1. Multiply the mark you were awarded for each module in your penultimate year by the number of credits for that module.
  2. Multiply the mark you were awarded for each complete module in Semester 1 of 2019/20 (your final year) by the number of credits for that module.
  3. Add them all together.
  4. Divide by the total number of credits you completed across your penultimate year and Semester 1 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 final degree classification will not fall below this level.

Will my marks be adjusted or just my classification?

Your module marks will not be adjusted. The mark you achieve in a module represents the standard of the work you submitted and so cannot be changed.

To ensure you receive an appropriate classification, Assessment Boards will consider the marks you have achieved, as well as any mitigating circumstances, and are able to apply Special Circumstances Discretion to make sure you are not disadvantaged.

What marks from this year will be included in my prevailing classification average (safety net)?

From this year, only marks from modules that you completed in Semester 1 of 2019/20 will be included in the calculation of your prevailing classification average (safety net).

Any modules spanning Semesters 1 and 2 will not be included in the calculation of your prevailing classification average (safety net).

What will my transcript say? How will this affect my application for further study or graduate employment?

Your transcript is the formal record of the marks you have been awarded on your programme.

We are planning to add a note to all transcripts to say that marks recorded on your transcript for 2019/20 have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and to confirm that the classification you are ultimately awarded by the University is the best indicator of your achievement, rather than individual module marks.

All universities are facing similar challenges so will understand this context and approach when considering applications for further study.

We anticipate that employers will also be understanding of the situation. We work closely with graduate employers and are liaising with partners and networks, such as the Institute of Student Employers, to help your potential future employers to understand the approach that the University is taking.

Where will my certificate and transcript be sent?

We will be in touch with all finalists before you complete your studies to ask you where you would like your certificate and transcript sending. We will also ask you to confirm your personal email address so that we can keep in touch with you, both about attending a future degree ceremony, and as an ongoing member of the Leeds alumni community.

I am a final year Undergraduate student.  How will my classification be calculated?

For final year undergraduates we will use our existing Rules for Award and classify you on the better of a 1:1 or a 1:2 weighting of grades (last year: this year) and similar relevant weightings for four and five year programmes. It is important that you take all the assessments that are set for you so that we can award you the credit for the modules you are taking this Semester.

If you have taken a module set at a lower level in your final year (for example, a Discovery Module) for which no assessment is set, we will remove this from the calculation of your classification average so you will not be disadvantaged.

I am a final year Undergraduate student and am worried that my performance in my assessments this Semester will impact negatively on my classification

In the context of COVID-19, Special Circumstances Discretion will apply to all students graduating in 2020. Consideration will be given to your profile of assessment marks from 2019-20 Semester 2, to ensure that your classification average for the year is not negatively affected by the results you achieve during the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

I am a Masters student. How will my classification be calculated?

We will apply our existing Rules for Award to classify your Masters degree. Additionally, in the context of COVID-19, Special Circumstances Discretion will apply to all students graduating in 2020. Consideration will be given to your profile of assessment marks from 2019-20 Semester 2, to ensure that your classification is not negatively affected by the results you achieve during the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

I am a part-time Masters student how will my degree be classified?

If you are a part-time Masters student you will need to take all the examinations and assessments set by your School or your Module Leader. You will be classified in accordance with our normal Rules for Award.  Additionally, in the context of Covid-19, Special Circumstances Discretion will apply. Consideration will be given to your profile of assessment marks from 2019-20 Semester 2, to ensure that your classification is not negatively affected by the results you achieve during the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

I am a not a final year student, but this year’s results will be included in my classification. How will my classification be calculated?

It is important that you take all the assessments that are set for you so that we can award you the credit for the modules you are taking this Semester. Where assessments have taken place, these will be used to assign a module mark. In some circumstances it may be necessary to return a pass/fail or an award of credit, rather than a numeric mark.

If you are a non-finalist student and will have this year’s results included in your classification, under our Rules for Award, we expect, subject to the agreement of the University’s Senate, to add an additional classification ratio that provides an option to remove this year’s results. For example, for three year programmes, in addition to the usual (1:1, 1:2) weightings, a 0:1 weighting (this year: next year) will be calculated and Assessment Boards will adopt the overall classification which represents the best outcome for you.

I am in the penultimate year of an Integrated Masters programme.  How will my classification be calculated?

It is important that you take all the assessments that are set for you so that we can award you the credit for the modules you are taking this Semester. Where assessments have taken place, these will be used to assign a module mark. In some circumstances it may be necessary to return a pass/fail or an award of credit, rather than a numeric mark.

If you are graduating next year with an Integrated Masters degree we expect, subject to the agreement of the University’s Senate, to add an additional classification ratio that provides an option to remove this year’s results. Assessment Boards will adopt the overall classification which represents the best outcome for you.

What weightings will be used to determine my UG classification?

For your final degree classification we will use the better of the 1:1 or 1:2 weightings (or equivalents for 4 and 5 year programmes) as specified in the Rules for Award and will calculate your classification on the basis of the best outcome for you.

If the classification indicated by your prevailing classification average (your safety net) is higher, you will receive this higher classification.

I am in year 3 of an undergraduate masters programme (often referred to as an ‘integrated masters’). Does the safety net apply to me?

Assessment Boards will apply the safety-net approach to your results this year for the purposes of progression to your next level of study or, in those cases where applicable, if you are graduating with a Bachelors award this year.

If you are completing the full undergraduate masters programme, the Senate will consider how the principles apply to the calculation of your classification so you are not disadvantaged.

My study abroad or work placement year has been disrupted by Covid-19, what does this mean for me?

If you have had your study abroad or work placement year disrupted this year we want to continue to support you to complete your learning opportunity this academic year and graduate with the relevant programme award.

If you are on a programme where your study abroad or work placement year is a replacement year, or a compulsory year or term, and your existing assessment cannot go ahead, you will be set an alternative form of assessment that you will be able to complete from home if it is not possible to complete your existing assessment.

For all other University of Leeds students undertaking a Study Abroad or Work Placement opportunity we will recognise your achievement on the basis of the work you have already completed, or are in the process of completing, allowing you to pass the opportunity.

Please also consult the latest information on Study and Work Abroad.

I am a study abroad student from another institution currently studying at Leeds.  How will my achievement be recorded for my home institution?

If you are a student from another institution who is currently studying at the University of Leeds, we will provide a transcript on the basis of the assessments you have already taken or will be taking this Semester. If no assessment is set for a module (because it is a level one module, for example) it may be necessary to return a pass/fail or an award of credit, rather than a numeric mark and we will explain this to your home institution.

I am a Foundation Year student, will I be able to progress to my chosen programme of study?

Unless there are specific accreditation requirements associated with your chosen programme of study (for example, for programmes in the schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Healthcare), you will be able to progress. We will draw up a profile of your performance through discussions with module staff and by considering assessments that you have already taken and will share this with the School delivering your chosen programme. You are strongly encouraged to continue to engage with your learning and to undertake any formative assessments that are set for you. This will allow us to support you in your chosen programme, by putting in place guidance and help if there are any areas where you may need additional support.  If you or your School have concerns about your readiness to succeed in your chosen programme of study, we will provide advice and support.

I normally have special arrangements in my exams. Will I have arrangements such as extra time?

Exam arrangements available to you will be dependent on the assessment type and how it will be administered. We have produced a guidance document which you can use to find further information about how online assessments may be adjusted to accommodate your disability-related requirements. If you have questions about which of your exam arrangements will be available to you please contact your School Student Support Office to discuss this further. Your school and Disability Services will work with you to ensure that you have access to the support you need.

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 platform, 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.

Mitigating circumstances

What if I can’t take my assessments because I experience personal difficulties?

In this case, you need to apply for mitigating circumstances, using our new streamlined process, which is available on the For Students webpage.

The circumstances under which you complete your assessments are likely to have changed. If you have problems with equipment to complete adjusted assessments, please contact your school as soon as possible so that we can consider whether there is any help we can offer you.

If you experience technical difficulties during an assessment follow the guidance available here.

What if I can’t take my assessments because I do not have the equipment I need?

The circumstances under which you complete your assessments are likely to have changed. If you have problems with equipment to complete adjusted assessments, please contact your school as soon as possible so that we can consider whether there is any help we can offer you.

If you experience technical difficulties during an assessment follow the guidance available here.

If your ability to take your assessment is affected, you need to apply for mitigating circumstances, using our new streamlined process, which is available on the For Students webpage.

What if I think my performance in an assessment is going to be impaired? Do I need to apply for mitigating circumstances?

No. We appreciate that this is a difficult situation for everyone and so have put a number of steps in place to ensure that you (and all students) are not adversely affected.

See our FAQ on Leeds’ no detriment policy.

Where can I find the (streamlined) mitigating circumstances procedure?

The mitigating circumstances procedures are available on the For Students webpages.

If I need to take a re-assessment as a first attempt, when will this be held?

If you need to retake an assessment as a first attempt because you have mitigating circumstances, the timing of this opportunity will depend on your year of study and a few other things:

  • If you are a finalist or a penultimate year student: You will be able to take your re-assessment in May 2020, August 2020, January 2021 and May 2021. We would encourage you to take your re-assessment in August if possible to allow you to graduate at the next opportunity if you are a finalist, but you can choose to wait until January or May 2021 if you need more time (in which case you would be considered for graduation at a later Assessment Board).
  • If you are a student in any other year of study, unless there are PSRB requirements, or specific Apprenticeship funding rules, your re-assessment will take place alongside modules at your next level of study.

When will resits be held?

If the Assessment Board determines that you have failed a module, the timing of your resit will depend on your year of study and a few other things:

  • If you are a finalist or a penultimate year student, you will able to take your re-assessment in May 2020, August 2020, January 2021 and May 2021. We encourage you to take your resists in August if you are ready to allow you to graduate at the next opportunity, but you can choose to wait until January or May 2021 if you need more time (in which case you would be considered for graduation at a later Assessment Board).
  • If you are a student in any other year of study, unless there are PSRB requirements, or specific Apprenticeship funding rules, resits for your failed modules will take place alongside modules at your next level of study.
  • For external students (that is, those students who are resitting assessments externally in order to progress to the next level of study), you will take your resits in May 2020 or August 2020.
  • For students deemed to have committed an academic malpractice offence in breach of University Regulations, you are required to resit and to expunge any academic malpractice (from Semester 1 and Semester 2) in August 2020.

For all students: Unless there are specific PSRB requirements or Apprenticeship funding rules, all August resits will be ‘in-course’ assessments rather than examinations.