By Patrick Sullivan, Co-Editor-in-Chief
The University of Bristol has promised to clarify their approach to grades affected by COVID-19 by the end of Friday after students were left without the full details earlier in the week.
An email from Tansy Jessop Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education, sent to all Bristol students on Monday 30 March, first mentioned the new ‘no detriment’ policy.
It stated: ‘Your final academic outcome will not be disadvantaged by engaging with assessments taking place under these contingency arrangements, i.e. you will suffer no detriment.’
Students, however, have been debating among themselves exactly what that means going forward. Meanwhile, most Faculties then sent out clear minimised or online assessment changes for their units either before or after Jessop’s email.
Now, the University of Bristol has said that they will release the full policy on Friday 3 April.
A University spokesperson said: ‘We have been working hard to ensure we have a clear message about the safety net we are putting in place for students through our “no detriment” policy.
‘We will release the full policy on Friday morning, after we have ensured that we have a consistent approach across all Schools and Faculties. We understand students’ anxiety to have more specific details, but please bear with us and be assured that we are doing our best to support you, both academically and personally.’
‘We understand students’ anxiety to have more specific details, but please bear with us and be assured that we are doing our best to support you, both academically and personally.’
University of Bristol spokesperson
Faculty and School staff were unaware of the ‘no detriment’ policy until Monday’s email, and, despite knowing little about it themselves, they have since received questions from many distressed students.
Rosie Hudson, a fourth year engineering student and a Faculty Rep, has been listening to student concerns about how the policy might be applied so she can directly feed back to Faculty staff.
Rosie said: ‘I've been trying to encourage students not to locally interpret information given so far until the further clarity on Friday, so that people don't panic.
‘Ultimately, I think [the application of the policy] some students will be happy with will feel unfair to other students so we are trying to work with the Faculty to make sure the outcome can be as fair as possible to as many people.’
Exeter University led the way by announcing a ‘safety net’ policy on 25 March, telling their students they would ‘ensure that [their] final academic year average is the same as, or higher than, the average [they] have attained up to Sunday 15 March’.
Other universities, such as Wawrick, Sheffield, and Liverpool have since announced similar policies. Yesterday (31 March), Cambridge University announced all final year students will not receive a lower classification than what they achieved last year, as reported by student newspaper Varsity.
Featured image: Epigram / Cameron Scheijde
How have your Faculties applied the current assessment policies? Let us know!