Nottingham students made to choose between getting their work marked or leaving university

Students may not receive their marks in time to register for their next year of study

Amid the UCU marking boycott, the University of Nottingham has asked students to agree to some of their work never being marked.

Instead, students will receive marks derived from their previous academic performance, or “part-for-whole” marking, rather than ever having their final assessments marked at all.

If students decide to “reject” their derived marking and instead opt to wait for their assessments to be marked then they may not be able to progress to their next year of study.

The university is unable to determine when students who wish to wait for marking will receive their grades, warning that it then might be too late for the student to re-register for the new academic year.

This will in turn then impact any funding students may be receiving, including the standardised student loan. For international students, their visa and right to study and live in the UK could also be impacted.

The university has said that it will be “clearly indicated” on grade transcripts which marks have been affect by the boycott and that it will only affect “minority of students.”

Students who wish to reject their derived classification and wait for their work to be marked must complete a form on Blue Castle by 5pm on 14th July.

If students decide to reject these marks their classification will not be confirmed until a time when their work is fully marked. The university has not stated how long this would take.

The classification could then go up or down from the one which was given by the derived mark.

In a post made to its website, University of Nottingham said: “If you choose not to accept your derived mark or pat-for-whole marks we will not be able to  confirm your classification until  your work is marked.

“If you decide not to accept your derived or part-for-whole marks, this may mean that you will not have your marks in time to progress to your next year of study.

“You may not be able to re-register in September, and you may lose access to your funding.”

Taking to Twitter, the UCU has branded this move from the university an “insult”.

Hannah Brazier, a final year history student, told The Tab Nottingham that although she “sympathises with the striking lecturers” and supports the boycott, she “can’t help but feel let down by the university.”

After only receiving less than 50 credits worth of work marked, she will receive a final grade derived from her work from the previous semester and year of university.

She said: “After being a part of the Covid-impacted A-level results cohort, it’s frustrating to once again be receiving grades dictated by an algorithm rather than my ability as a student.

“My dissertation, a project I’ve worked on since second year and have dedicated hours upon hours to, has not been marked. Unfortunately this seems to be the case for the majority of my peers.

“As someone who wants to pursue further study, it’s been disheartening to end my undergraduate degree in such a state of uncertainty.”

A University of Nottingham spokesperson has said: “It is important to stress that the majority of our students will be unaffected by the UCU marking and assessment boycott. However, we understand that students will be concerned by this action and apologise for any anxiety this causes.

“Maintaining the integrity of our degree awards and supporting every student to achieve the outcome they have worked so hard for are our absolute priorities. The University has published contingency regulations which outline the steps that we would take to mitigate the impact of the boycott on individual students, should it become necessary. 

“These regulations have been developed following intense scrutiny by academic staff and thorough consideration by relevant University committees, which also included student representatives, and have been approved by the Senate of the University.

“By using evidence of students’ academic performance over several years of study, we can make appropriate decisions, and any award made under the contingency regulations will be subject to the same high academic standards as awards made at any other time.

“The University will keep students informed throughout this period and has published detailed FAQs to help understand how the regulations may apply if they are used. Schools will advise students if they are affected by the marking and assessment boycott and make arrangements to support them.”

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