Temporary Regulations for Extraordinary Circumstances Postgraduate Finalist – studying a programme where percentage marks are awarded

Exceptional Mitigating Circumstances (EMC)

In ordinary circumstances, if you are unable to complete an assessment in time or to the best of your ability, even with an extension, you would apply through the exceptional mitigating circumstances process (EMC). This allows you to defer to the next assessment period. All EMC applications normally require independent supporting evidence.

In the current circumstances, it is not reasonable for us to expect you to provide such evidence. Therefore, any EMC applications made in relation to the impact of coronavirus will not require independent supporting evidence.

If you are unable to engage with your University programme during this period, whether due to personal circumstances or illness, you can apply for an EMC. All EMC applications relating to coronavirus will be approved and you will be deferred to the next assessment round.

Module marks

For all modules completed before 16 March 2020, the module mark will be calculated in the normal way.

Where a module was completed after 16 March, the University will apply ‘no detriment’ arrangements where it is possible to do so. We will do this as follows:

  1. If a module was studied across the whole year, and 50% of assessment was completed by 16 March, we will compare your performance in each component of the module. If your marks after 16 March show a decrease in performance, the highest mark you achieved before 16 March will be applied to the whole module.
  2. If an entire module has been impacted – for example modules where all the assessment was due after 16 March – we will not have enough reliable information to change your module mark. However, we will ensure that these marks will not be counted in your final award classification if there has been a decrease in your performance. Please see ‘Award Classification’ for further details.

What happens if I do not pass a module?

No-detriment reassessment

If you do not pass a module that was due to be assessed on or after 16 March 2020 we will ensure that, as a minimum, you can sit the module again, with no penalty applied.

For a first attempt, this means we will automatically award you a deferral so that you can sit the module at a later date. You will receive the full mark for the module following your reassessment.

If this was not your first attempt, we will give you another opportunity. However, this will be capped at the pass mark, in line with the usual arrangements in ordinary circumstances.

Condonement

Condonement describes the process where a module may be considered as a Pass, despite you not achieving the pass mark, because the failure is considered to be marginal. Condonement can be applied for module marks down to 30%.

In the current circumstances, the amount of credit the University can condone has been increased and we may now condone up to 40 credits for Masters and Postgraduate Diplomas, and up to 20 credits for Postgraduate Certificates.

This means that if you have a mark of 30% or more in up to 40 credits (or 20 credits for a Postgraduate Certificate), the University may be able to award these modules a condoned pass.

If you are condoned in any module, you will not need to undertake reassessment for that module. The marks for condoned modules will be incorporated in the no- detriment arrangements explained in the section Award Classification.

Unless professional, statutory or regulatory bodies state otherwise, condonement may be applied to all modules, including those defined as ‘core’. Decisions on whether students qualify for condonement will be made by award boards which will take place early in July.

Degree classification

Qualifying for an award

All students must pass or be condoned in all modules registered against their programme in order to be recommended for an award. This fundamental principle underpins the conferral of all Edge Hill Awards and continues to apply in these extraordinary circumstances. If we do not maintain this principle, we risk devaluing the qualification which you have worked so hard to earn.
However, in the current circumstances, we have relaxed our normal requirements around condonement, where evidence supports this. This means that if you have not successfully completed all your planned assessments, the University will actively consider whether it can award credit or deem modules to have been completed. Full details are given in ‘What happens if I do not pass a module’.
If you have exhausted the potential for condonement and do not meet the threshold for an award to be made, you will be referred for reassessment and we will reconsider whether you are eligible for an award in November.

No detriment principles

As far as we reasonably can, we will ensure you do not suffer any detriment because of the extraordinary circumstances. To do this we will review all finalists’ marks obtained at Level 7 to determine a benchmark for each student.

The benchmark will be based on those modules completed before 16 March 2020, and those modules partially completed before 16 March 2020, where a no-detriment grade will be confirmed for the module. Full details are given in ‘Calculating the benchmark’.

Where a student has a Confirmed Benchmark, any module marks that are less than the benchmark will be excluded from the final award calculation if the module was Wholly Impacted by the extraordinary circumstances.

The same principle applies for students that have a Provisional Benchmark. However, where a student has a Provisional Benchmark, Award Boards will use their academic judgement to determine the most appropriate classification. This is explained in ‘Confirmed and Provisional Benchmarks’.

Confirmed and provisional benchmarks

Where the benchmark figure has been derived from at least half of the credits for the award (eg 90 credits for a Masters Degree, 60 credits for a Diploma and 30 credits for a certificate), it will be considered as a Confirmed Benchmark. Where a benchmark is formed on the basis of less than half of the credits for the award, it will be considered as a Provisional Benchmark.

In the vast majority of cases, finalists will have a Confirmed Benchmark, as our programme structures mean that most students will have confirmed marks for at least half of modules. In a small number of cases, for example where a significant amount of assessment was scheduled in the period impacted, students may not have completed a sufficient amount of credit to be awarded a Confirmed Benchmark. In these circumstances, a Provisional Benchmark will be calculated in exactly the same way as a Confirmed Benchmark.

Where a student has a Provisional Benchmark, award boards hold the discretion to apply the grade in the same way as a Confirmed Benchmark. However, where a student’s average performance for the whole level (including marks where the entire module has been impacted by the circumstances) is substantially below a Provisional Benchmark, award boards may use academic judgement to determine the most appropriate classification to award in view of the student’s whole profile.

In all cases where there is a Provisional Benchmark in place and a no-detriment classification cannot be awarded, students will be offered the opportunity to resit assessment to improve their classification when circumstances normalise. This will be made clear in results notification letters.

Calculating the benchmark

In all cases the University will establish a benchmark for each individual student’s attainment. The benchmark will be a straight average mark across all Level 7 modules completed before 16 March and those modules partially completed by 16 March where a no-detriment module mark has been applied (see module marks). Marks for modules that were completely impacted by the circumstances will not be included. An example is given below:

ModuleEHU_1EHU_2EHU_3EHU_4EHU_5EHU_6
Assessment PeriodOctober 2019October 2019January 2020January and May 2020May 2020May 2020
Impact of Extraordinary CircumstancesNoneNoneNonePartialWholeWhole
Credit Value402020402040
Module Mark606061635554
Benchmark figure: 61%

Benchmark calculation: (60 x 40)+(60 x 20)+(61 x 20)+(63 x 20) [mark x credit value]
120 [total credits included]

Classification calculation

Classifications will be awarded in accordance with the classification bands detailed below:

  • 70% and above: Distinction
  • 60 – 69%: Merit
  • 40 – 59%: Pass

The main way the University determines final classifications is through a straight average percentage mark (APM), this is explained below. Please note however that in all cases where a programme includes a dissertation, the dissertation must be within 2% of the classification awarded.

In view of all the circumstances, two APM calculations will be formulated for all students. These are:

i. The standard algorithm: The APM is a straight average of all module marks achieved at Level 7.
ii. The no-detriment algorithm: The APM is a straight average of all module marks at Level 7. However, where any modules were Wholly Impacted, they will not be included in the calculation if the mark falls below the student’s benchmark (see Calculating the benchmark).

If you have a Confirmed Benchmark, the higher average will be confirmed as your final mark. This means that any marks achieved during the period impacted will not be counted in your final average mark if they are below your benchmark.

The University will take both calculations into account where a student has a Provisional Benchmark. Full details are given in Confirmed and Provisional Benchmarks.

In line with our normal approach, if your final APM is within 2% of a higher classification band, we will consider whether your profile of marks would warrant the higher classification being awarded. In these cases, if you have at least half of your module marks achieved across the whole of Level 7 in a classification band and an overall APM which is no more than 2% away from that band, you will be awarded that classification (subject to the dissertation also being no more than 2% away from that class).

Results notification

Once your profile has been considered by an end of year assessment board, you can download your results pack from the student homepage. The pack comprises a personalised results notification letter and full academic transcript.

Your results pack will provide details of each confirmed mark for all your modules. Each mark will be accompanied by an explanation of whether the module has been passed, condoned or requires reassessment.

Reassessment arrangements

If you do not meet the requirements for award at this stage, you will be reassessed in the next assessment period. Details will be included in your results notification pack.

Academic appeals

Your results pack will include details of the appeals process and the deadline for submitting an appeal. The grounds for appeal have not changed. You can submit an appeal only if you believe your grade has been impacted by one of the following grounds:

  • Procedural irregularity in the assessment process
  • Bias or perceptions of bias
  • Exceptional mitigating circumstances, details which were, for good reason, not previously available to the appropriate assessment boards

For the avoidance of any doubt, if you pass an assessment but believe your module results have been impacted by the specific circumstances, you may use the appeals process to request a further assessment. You must, however, provide good reason for not declaring this information prior to the appropriate assessment boards.

If you do submit an academic appeal, you will be given clear information about your right to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator if you are not satisfied with the University’s response.

Student choice

You may defer in advance if you are not able to undertake an assessment in the first instance. We sent an email about this to your University email account on 3 April.

Once the assessment period is complete, you can use the academic appeals process to challenge a decision of an assessment board. The exceptions to this rule are:

  • If you decide to reject the offer for any module to be condoned. You would then be able to sit the assessmnet again (at no detriment) in the next assessment period.
  • If you decide to apply for a repeat year. This must be done in the normal way. Please note that since the majority of this academic year was not affected by the circumstances, you would need to make a full case for a repeat year to be accepted. Normal tuition fees will apply.