COVID-19 Response Education Policy and Safety Net Policy

Updated Tuesday 2 March

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an effect on us all in many different ways and we know that the support you need varies.

Last year we implemented a No Detriment Policy for trimesters 2 and 3 due to the sudden and unprecedented disruption of moving teaching and assessment online because of the global pandemic. Whilst we understand this helped alleviate concerns around achieving your grades, we cannot implement a No Detriment Policy for this academic year in the same way as many students this year do not have enough credits from modules that are unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic to develop a ‘mean mark’, which the No Detriment Policy was originally based on. Instead, we have planned for and redesigned teaching and assessments under COVID-19 conditions, which means teaching is not disrupted in the same way.

We have implemented a range of measures to help support you through your studies. Further to the measures announced on 29 January 2021, we’ll be implementing a scaling mechanism to all modules for Trimester 2 and 3 of the academic year 2020/21, which will ensure your work is fairly assessed whilst protecting the standard of your degree.

Fair assessment

We’ll ensure you’re fairly assessed by using a process called scaling. We will compare the performance of each module from Trimesters 2 and 3 of this academic year with the historic, pre-pandemic performance of the same module.

If the current mean module performance is lower than the historic (pre-pandemic) mean module performance the final overall marks for the current module will be moved upwards. This will ensure that the overall current grades will be consistent with grades achieved in the three years prior to 2019/20 (prior to COVID-19). Please note that scaling will only take place to move upwards ie, current module outcomes will not be scaled down.

Where modules are new, with no pre-pandemic modules to use for comparison, we will use the modules from similar courses at the same academic level to determine the historic performance to assess the module against.

We have continued to work closely with the Students’ Union to look at ways in which we might be able to support you with your academic studies. We're pleased to have found an evidence-based system to ensure consistency, equity and fairness for all our students, which is supported by the Students’ Union.

This new measure to make sure you’re fairly assessed is in addition to what we’ve already committed to:

Changes in your assessments, which include:

  • no controlled examinations for the rest of the academic year, except for a small number of courses which are required to hold exams as part of their Professional Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditation
  • applying a default +6 days to every submission deadline (including dissertations) for all summative assessment tasks (dates have been updated on ARU systems to reflect the change)
  • continuing our more accommodating approach to the criteria for individual short-term (+10 working days) extensions that you can seek
  • a second short-term extension of +5 working days if you need it (this is in addition to the standard short-term extension of ten days which you can already apply for).

Changes to our Exceptional Circumstances process, which includes:

  • suspending the requirement to provide documentary evidence in support of Exceptional Circumstances claims
  • continuing to consider positively Exceptional Circumstances claims related to IT failure or lack of availability of technology, for example not having access to a laptop or computer
  • changing the timeframe of making an Exceptional Circumstances claim to within +10 working days of the assessment task rather than five working days.

Wider support measures

We know that the pandemic has had an enormous impact on people’s lives and continues to do so, which has caused anxiety and worry amongst our student community. We have some excellent online mental health resources available to you and I would strongly encourage anyone who is feeling anxious about the situation to utilise these resources as much as possible, or reach out to our Counselling and Wellbeing team.

New financial support measures

As we know that many of our students have been financially impacted by the pandemic, we have launched two new support funds that could help:

  • the COVID-19 Financial Support Fund can help if you’re having issues accessing teaching online, if your income has been affected or if you’re struggling to afford your accommodation costs. Please apply by 24 March
  • the Ruskin Support Fund is available to our more vulnerable students who have been impacted by the pandemic. Please apply by 24 March.