Guide

No detriment - what does it mean?

Updated on 23 April 2022

Over the past two years as we have been working to adjust both the way we are teaching and the assessments we set. We have also been planning how to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our students results.

On this page

We know that students will have been impacted by this pandemic in all sorts of different ways. In light of the significant, combined, impact of these factors the University will be taking a ‘no detriment’ approach when confirming grades and degree outcomes.

The majority of students are returning to campus in 2021-22. We are therefore phasing the no detriment approach out, and no detriment considerations will be made at module level only - not by looking at individual students.

Note if there is a change in circumstances, such as a return to lock-down or strike action, the no detriment approach will be reintroduced to meet the circumstances prevailing at the time.

Why do we have it?

The ‘no detriment’ approach is in place for Boards of Examiners to use whenever there is disruption to studies that is unavoidable and significant. Broadly, this means we consider the following points when we make award decisions:

  • when the event(s) happened in relation to when/how students were being taught or assessed
  • the effect the event had on a student’s ability to study for, or take, an assessment
  • and the mark the student received in the assessment

We then act to remove negative impacts on students, in this case in cohorts at module level, and ensure our degrees are awarded fairly whilst maintaining our academic standards and securing the value of our qualifications.

Which modules does this applies to?

The Boards of Examiners will be able to apply ‘no detriment’ to any modules that have been impacted by Covid-19 in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, when considering progression or award decisions. This approach will follow students to the end of their degree programmes. This means that if the student is not due to graduate this year (2021-22), we will take these circumstances into account, for relevant modules taken in 2021-22, by using this no detriment approach.  

How do the Boards of Examiners do this?

Boards of Examiners will be provided with:

  • information regarding the overall outcome and results profiles for the previous 4 graduating classes for the programmes they are considering
  • the results for this year
  • information confirming the impact on learning, teaching or assessment on the relevant modules and the changes already made

The results information will be provided by Registry. They will use this information to help them make their academic judgements and confirm student progression and/or awards.

What the Boards of Examiners can do?

For modules taken in 2021-22, that have been impacted by Covid-19, the Board of Examiners will consider module results and calculated degree outcomes in the context of the pattern of results of current and previous graduating years.

This means that Boards of Examiners will be able to see if groups of graduating students results, in impacted modules are anomalous, and lower, than they have been previously. If this is found to be the case, the Board of Examiners can then take the following actions to mitigate this impact:

Mark adjustment or ‘scaling’

If a module mark in an impacted module is poor in comparison to unimpacted module marks, or the same module in previous years, the mark in the impacted module can be raised (a module mark can only be made better, it cannot be lowered through this process). The new module mark will then be included in the calculation of the degree. For relevant modules taken in 2021-22 this must also be applied to all students in a module and not just individual students.

What is the full no detriment approach?

For modules taken in 2019-20 or 2020-21, that have been impacted by strike action and/or coronavirus, the Board of Examiners will consider your module results and calculated degree outcome in the context of your previous pattern of results and that of current and previous graduating years. Note, this full approach will be reinstated if there is a change in circumstances, such as a return to lock-down or strike action.

This means that Boards of Examiners will be able to see if groups of graduating students, or your individual results, in impacted modules are anomalous, and lower, than they have been previously.

If this is found to be the case, the Board of Examiners can then take a range of actions to mitigate this impact including:

Mark adjustment or ‘scaling’

If your module mark in an impacted module is poor in comparison to unimpacted module marks, the mark in the impacted module can be raised (a module mark can only be made better, it cannot be lowered through this process). The new module mark will then be included in the calculation of your degree.

For relevant modules taken in 2019-20 or 2020-21 this may also be applied to all students in a module and not just individual students.

Mark excluded from further calculations

If your module mark in an impacted module is poor in comparison to other modules it can be excluded from the calculation of your overall degree classification. The credit will still be awarded, and your module mark is not changed.

Compensation and/or condonement

This can be applied to individual modules if you have failed the module.

Compensation is the process by which a Board of Examiners may decide that a strong performance by a student in one part of the curriculum may be used as the basis for the award of credit in respect of marginal failure elsewhere.

Condonement is the process by which a Board of Examiners, in consideration of the overall performance of a student, decides that without incurring a penalty, a part of the course that has been failed need not be redeemed.

For relevant modules taken in 2019-20 or 2020-21 only:

  • this will apply to all grades of failure and not only for marginal failures
  • the limit for the use of compensation and/or condonement has been raised from 25% to 50% for the years of study that contribute to the honours classification

First attempt

Where you have failed a module, and it cannot be compensated or condoned, you may be given another opportunity to take the assessment, as a first attempt with no penalty applied (i.e. the full range of grades are available and the module is not capped).

Where you are provided with a first attempt, you will receive information about the form and timing of the assessment from the School following the Board of Examiners meeting.

Additional opportunity

Where you have failed a module, and it cannot be compensated or condoned, or provided as a first attempt, you may be given another opportunity to take the assessment, but any normal penalties such as capping of components would apply.

Where you are provided with an additional opportunity, you will receive information about the form and timing of the assessment from the School following the Board of Examiners meeting.

Some Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) will not allow the use of compensation, condonement, or resits. So, this must be considered in the context of the respective PSRB.

Boards of Examiners will be made aware of this to ensure compliance with regulatory frameworks.

The options above are mechanisms available to Boards of Examiners, for consideration for all modules impacted by strike action and/or coronavirus, in any year of study.

Each Board will decide, based on their academic judgement, the best actions to take to mitigate the impact on students. This will be informed by the changes made to assessments, recommendations already made by the Mitigating Circumstances Committee, information from Professional, Regulatory and Statutory Bodies, and individual disciplinary needs.