York alters postgraduate grade boundaries due to Covid-19

Similar to the undergraduate ‘safety net’ measures

The University of York has devised a new proposal that it claims will be taking into account the impacts of online learning on postgraduate students, whilst also protecting academic integrity.

Postgraduate qualifications are usually awarded under two main categories: merit and distinction. Students awarded a distinction normally have to achieve 70% overall without failing any modules. However due to the current global Covid-19 pandemic, the University has lowered their grade boundaries so that a distinction mark will now be awarded to students achieving an average of 70% overall. Students are now also able to fail up to 20 credits in modules on their first attempt on the understanding that they don’t achieve a score of lower than 40 in any of them.

Similarly, for merit to be awarded, the student must now achieve an average of 60% overall. Students are able to fail up to 40 credits in modules whilst still achieving a merit award so long as no more than 20 credits have marks below 40%.

However, unlike the undergraduate solution, the University of York is resistant in calling this method of assessing postgraduates a ‘safety net’.  Nouse reported that this is because, the university is not able to provide any estimation of a postgraduate’s final mark prior to them completing all of their assignments.

These actions have been taken by the University of York in order to provide some reassurance to postgraduate students, similar to reassurance Covid-19 wouldn’t hugely impact undergraduate student results.

The University has reassured postgraduate students that they “have taken time to develop something that is helpful, fair and maintains the academic integrity of qualifications”.

In further statements, the university indicated that they are working with university departments in order to provide the best targeted support to students during this period. The university have also stated that they’ll be providing guidance to students on the new measures, and due consideration will be taken in this current climate.

Postgraduate students faced uncertainty when measures to protect undergraduate grades were announced earlier this term. The new measures taken by the University of York see some clarity being given to postgraduate students. Whilst it’s not a ‘safety net’ like the undergraduate measures, it gives postgraduate students some confidence that the current circumstances are being taken into consideration.