Bristol University announce mitigation package for exam season

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In an email sent this afternoon, the University outlined details of the mitigations, agreed upon in collaboration with Bristol Student's Union.

The mitigations are as follows:

  1. Students do not need to provide evidence for covid-related extenuating circumstances.
  2. Students can self-certify exams and use the self-certification process to delay seven day exams.
  3. Students can access guaranteed one week coursework extension on request without evidence.
  4. The University will review the performance of student cohorts graduating this year against previous years  unaffected  by  COVID-19.
  5. The University will  re-evaluate the methods for classifying taught postgraduate Masters’ degrees  in 20/21.
  6. If  students have  Alternative  Exam  Arrangements  they can have  two days extra time  to take  seven-day  assessments.
  7. All teaching to be moved online.

This comes after the University confirmed they would not be using the same ‘safety net’ policy implemented for Summer exams 2020, in agreement with the Russell Group Universities’ joint statement.

They explained this decision was a way to avoid basing academic judgements on limited measures for a second year in a row, steer clear of a one-size-fits-all approach and reflect that the University were able to  plan  online teaching, learning and assessment this year.

The aim of the mitigations is to assist those impacted by Covid-19 the most and ensure assessments are fair to all students.

The University stated: ‘We want you to head into the weekend and the assessment period reassured that you have a comprehensive support system behind you, to help you secure the results you deserve. We have the right systems in place, as we explain below, and we are committed to not letting COVID-19 have a negative impact on your results.’

These mitigations were decided upon in collaboration with the Students’ Union, who tweeted a link to their statement on the policies: https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/articles/academic-mitigations-officer-statement/

A Students’ Union representative told epigram: ‘This announcement has followed three days of talks with the university and we are pleased to see them implement some of the measures we have been calling for since late November. We hope that the mitigations agreed go some way to reassure you in the assessments that you are about to take.’

However, the Students’ Union Officers also claim they want a no-detriment policy and intend to fight for ‘more comprehensive’ support for the Summer assessment period.

There will be an Education Network Forum following exams where students will be able to give the Students’ Union Officers feedback on the January assessment period.

Second-year medic, Dolores Fawcett-Till, said of the mitigations: ‘These exams should be undertaken with the same mitigations as last year because, despite the fact that teaching is more consistent than in the first lockdown, we are still under the same stresses - if not more. The University needs to accommodate more for students’ mental health.’

Do you think the mitigations are supportive enough?

Featured Image: Lucy O'Neill / Epigram

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