Uni of York Vice-Chancellor confirms student ‘safety net’ measures

This year’s marks will be reweighted in students’ favour


In an email sent out to students this evening, the Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery has confirmed the student safety net measures, as previously announced by YUSU.

Yesterday, YUSU sent an email to students which announced the Uni of York had agreed to bring in safety net measures for this academic year, stating: “The University will shortly be announcing via email a new set of measures to help protect your grades and help mitigate the challenges of the new lockdown, in addition to the challenges last term.”

The email sent this evening by the Vice-Chancellor states: “As we enter this period of lockdown I am acutely aware of the challenges facing many of our students and the increasing anxiety over exams and assessments.

“Many of you have been asking if we can offer a ‘safety net’ for exams and assessments in the same way we did last academic year. The method of calculating last year’s safety net score relied on students having the results from University assessments already taken. Because this information does not exist for most students studying in the 2020-21 academic year, we are not able to replicate the same style of safety net.

“Instead, we have created a package of measures to safeguard your achievements from the impacts of Covid and the quality and integrity of your degree. It is therefore a safety net by other means.”

The email outlines the main features of “The new assessment support package – our 2021 “safety net”:

Here are the key points outlined:

• Removing the requirements for evidence where students are making applications under the exceptional circumstances affecting assessment (ECA) policy

• Adapting our approach to delivering teaching, learning and assessments online

• Reviewing the performance of student cohorts this year against previous years to ensure that the pandemic has not had a detrimental impact

• Establishing a significantly more generous resit possibility for first year students to support their progression into second year

• Reweighting this year’s marks for students in second year and above so that this year can be weighted less in the calculation of overall degree performance

• Applying the more flexible award rules which were used to give assurance to postgraduate taught students in 2020

On the updated Covid-19 page, it is now outlined what is available for students depending on what year of their degree they are currently in.

For first years, the “rules are being simplified to allow first year students to resit up to 90 failed credits, regardless of what marks were obtained at first attempt.” Normally students are only allowed to resit 50 credits of bad fail.

Any students in second year or above will have their marks reweighted, “so that this year can be weighted less in calculation of overall degree performance.” The University of York acknowledges that “things are more challenging than in a normal academic year”, therefore the new system can “consider your results in multiple ways”. If marks for the academic year 20/21 are “badly affected by Covid-19 in ways that can’t be covered by exceptional circumstances, this will limit the impact on your overall degree result, whilst still recognising your achievements in all years.”

This means if your results this year are not “as good” as the ones you’ve achieved in previous years, it will be taken “into consideration in a way that is transparent and consistent for all students.”
However if your results are better than or “as good as” previous years, your department will consider the normal weightings.
“Your classification will be based on the better of the two ratios, the same principle is applied to the weightings for Integrated Masters degrees.”

Students can find more information and details on the new 2021 “Safety Net” here.

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