King’s waited a month to tell postgraduates they won’t be included in the safety net policy

‘Students would undoubtedly have approached assignments differently if they’d known the safety net they’d been promised didn’t actually exist’

It has been revealed King’s took almost a month to tell postgraduate taught students they would get a different, harsher safety net policy than undergraduates.

On 3 April, King’s implemented a safety net policy. Postgraduate taught students were told by email that “where possible”, for the taught elements of their course, King’s would “apply the same ‘safety net’ averaging rules” as for undergraduate students.

The email explained students’ grades would be adjusted to ensure fairness if their work had been submitted under the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning students would not receive a grade lower than their average grade for 2019-20, including all work submitted up to and including 15 March.

According to King’s website, on 22 April, the Academic Standards Sub-Committee (ASSC) met and decided to implement the 2 percent rule for postgraduates, meaning if students score within 2 percent of a grade boundary, they will be  “automatically upgraded” to the higher grade.

Their decision excluded postgraduate taught students from the more generous average grade safety net policy, yet King’s did not tell postgraduates about this decision until almost a month later, in an email sent on the 19th of May.

In the meantime, postgraduates have continued to submit assignments on the basis they would be included in the safety net policy.

Masters student Evie Aspinall has written an open letter to King’s protesting the “incredibly unfair” reversal.

Evie explained “The University has completely misled postgraduates and their indecisiveness and failure to communicate will have a significant impact on many students results.

“It’s incredibly disappointing and I can only hope the University acknowledges its mistakes and overturns the decision in the interests of fairness.”

So far over 300 students have signed the open letter in support of King’s postgraduate students.

You can sign the open letter here.

A King’s College London spokesperson said:

“We know the ongoing pandemic has been unsettling for our students, particularly in relation to exams and assessments. We have put in place a wide range of mitigation measures. We have adapted and applied the safety net policy to meet the diverse undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and variations in assessment processes. We remain committed to and have worked to provide a fair and equitable arrangement for all current postgraduate taught students. We are confident that we have all the mitigation measures in place to reflect this and to ensure that no student is disadvantaged.”

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