Bristol Uni finally provides clarity on assessment mitigations days before exams start

‘First time in my three years the uni has actually told us stuff’

Days before the January assessment period is set to start, Bristol Uni has provided some much-needed clarity regarding its “enhanced mitigation package”.

In an email sent to students, Bristol Uni confirmed everyone will be able to access a guaranteed one-week coursework extension on request, without evidence. Whilst students will still need to provide a reason for the extension, evidence is not required.

Bristol Uni have also announced they will review “the performance of student cohort graduating this year against previous years unaffected by COVID-19” and will “adjust overall outcomes if there is a big difference” in results.

Bristol Uni also plans to “re-evaluate the methods for classifying taught postgraduate Masters’ degrees” and will update students about this by the end of March.

Management has also provided more clarity as to why they are refusing to implement a “safety net” policy. Last year Bristol Uni introduced a safety net which ensured assessments taken after the first lockdown could not negatively impact your final grade. Recently Bristol Uni rejected student demands for a safety net. So far, 4,400 students have signed a petition calling for the safety net or no detriment policy to be implemented, and the SU has said that it will be continuing to lobby for it.

Bristol Uni argues they cannot implement it as students have not completed enough unaffected “assessments to make a fair judgement of students’ performance”. They also claim a “one-size-fits-all approach is unfair because it would reinforce inequalities” between students.

Students with Alternative Exam Arrangements will now be given two days of extra time for week-long exams, meaning they will have nine rather than seven days to complete the assessment.

Bristol Uni also said that lecturers have “adapted and designed learning for online delivery” in order to be able to meet the learning outcomes for each course. Assessments have been adapted to make them more manageable, and particular courses have replaced exams with seven-day timed assessments.

Bristol SU officers have been in talks with the university for the past three days, and said in a statement: “We’re proud of what we’ve managed to win for students so far, but we know the current mitigations do not go far enough.”

Officers are still calling for the university to implement a safety net policy, but so far management has refused to implement this policy. The student officers will “continue to negotiate with the university to put in place the blanket measures that are needed to recognise the impact of the pandemic on all students.”  

The SU will also be consulting students through an “Education Network Forum” after the assessment period “where [students will] be able to give us feedback on the January assessment period and organise with us for more comprehensive measures for the summer.” 

This latest announcement has received a positive response from students so far.

Olivia Morris, a second year politics and sociology student said: “First time in my three years of being here the uni has finally laid out everything clearly and actually tells us stuff”.

Pieter Snepvangers, also a second year studying politics and sociology admitted this email was “clear and well explained […] a big improvement on the last email.”

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