EXCLUSIVE: These are the three no-detriment policies Sussex Uni is taking

There will be a more lenient pass mark for Foundation and First years

The University of Sussex have made it clear that this year’s no-detriment policy will not be the same as last year’s. As Sussex was one of the first universities to announce a no-detriment policy, they could risk being accused of devaluing the quality of their degrees.

The Tab Sussex has exclusively obtained information that reveals the three potential plans Sussex are considering which will make up our no detriment policy.

In an email the Students’ Union are going to send out shortly, they say: “This ‘academic standards’ debate is a really frustrating one, especially in the context of very little government support for higher education as a sector or for students, who have had a really terrible year. Many have had difficulties accessing their courses, even before we consider the increased anxiety and uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the constantly changing government guidance.

“Obviously the best thing to do would be to give students – and universities – the funds and support they need to improve access to education. This could have meant extra seminars in the summer, or more tutoring support for instance. But instead, students have been left desperate and isolated, such that no-detriment policies are the only thing they feel they can hope for.”

The university has proposed three ideas they are doing with no-detriment so far, here are the approaches the university have told the SU they are taking:

1) Individual-level support for students going through exceptional circumstances

For any students going through particularly bad experiences, which are dealt through exceptional circumstances – they will be offered individual-level support. At the moment, they are being offered a seven day extension to a deadline, or they can change to summer resists which won’t be capped at 50 per cent.

2) Course-level and module-level adjustments

If students on a particular course or module as a whole are performing worse on average than in previous years then adjustments will be made. This is to ensure students are not doing worse than usual.

3) Being more lenient with minimum pass marks for Foundation and First Year students

Students in either Foundation or First Year will be offered support and adjustment which entails being more lenient with the minimum pass mark level. The details of this approach are still being finalised and students will know more in due course.

The SU hope that there will be changes put in place to make Exceptional Circumstances claims more flexible, like they are at other universities. Their email states: “Apparently this will form part of the ‘Curriculum Review’ starting in March of this year, which students will be able to feed into. We hope changes can be implemented quickly.”