Exeter Uni implements ‘no-detriment’ policy for summer assessments

‘Work will be assessed in a way that takes account of the extraordinary and challenging conditions’

The University of Exeter’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Tim Quine, announced in an email to students today that all assessments taking place with a deadline after March 15th will be subject to a ‘no-detriment’ policy.

This ‘safety net policy’ means that as long as students obtain the pass mark of 40 in further assessments, such as coursework and summer exams, their average will remain “the same as, or higher than, the average you have attained up to Sunday 15th March”. If students achieve higher than their current average in further assessments, then they can still raise their final mark.

The university has introduced new assessment formats to aid students due to the effects of Covid-19, and to ensure that work is “assessed in a way which takes account of the extraordinary and challenging conditions in which you will be preparing for and taking these assessments”.

The new assessment formats are:

  1. An open-book non-invigilated paper that must be completed in a specified 24 hour period in your own time with no duration.
  2. An open-book non-invigilated paper that must be completed in a specified 24 hour period in your own time but with a fixed duration.
  3. An alternative coursework assessment taken over a number of weeks.


The 24 hour period has been implemented to enable students in different time zones to complete their examinations.

Whilst the new formats of assessment are subject to each individual college of study, the email stated that these new assessment forms may not apply to the College of Medicine and Health, due to the need for medical staff to help the NHS combat Covid-19. This may include colleagues and graduating students who are needed on the front-line. The University has also stated that some courses which are, “subject to professional regulation”, may not be included in the safety-net policy, such as Law.

The University has also implemented a mitigation process whereby students can apply for a deferral of all assessments by May 1st if they are concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on their ability to perform. These deferred assessments will take place either later in the summer period, or in the next academic year. The email states that no evidence is necessary if a deferral is requested by students. If the deferred assessment takes place in the next academic year, the assessment may revert back to an invigilated form, but the university said they would confirm this closer to the time.

Students can also apply for short-term deferral for one or more assessments, “where short-lived circumstances impact on your ability to complete some assessments but not others” and no evidence is needed for this either. Deferrals can also be requested if students experience IT failures during their assessments.

The university has stated that they will grant extensions where they can. The release dates for results will be pushed back to give teaching staff more time to mark.

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, the plan implemented in the email may be subject to change.


If you need to apply for mitigation, these are the ways you can contact the university: 

Phone: (Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm) 01392 725000 (international: +44 300 555 0225)

Email: (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) [email protected]

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