No detriment - what does it mean?
Updated on 7 July 2023
In recent years the University has adopted a no detriment approach to support students during the COVID 19 pandemic and industrial action. The no detriment approach remains available to the University to address such situations that can negatively impact students learning and assessment.
We know that some students will have been impacted by the ongoing industrial action and that some of our students on campus in China continue to be impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. In light of the combined impact of these factors the University will be taking a no detriment approach when confirming grades and degree outcomes.
The information below tells you more about what a ‘no detriment’ approach means here at the University of Dundee.
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 students’ ability to study for, or take, an assessment;
- and the mark students received in the assessment.
We then act to remove negative impacts on the student and ensure they are awarded their degree fairly whilst maintaining our academic standards and securing the value of the 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 either strike action generally or disruption to students specifically on campus in China** related to the Covid-19 pandemic, in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, whatever the year of study. This approach will follow students to the end of their degree programmes. This means that if students are not due to graduate this year, that the University will take these circumstances into account, for relevant modules, by using the no detriment approach, in the year that the final award is calculated, and the students graduate.
* This includes dissertation/project modules or equivalents in our undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes
**This applies to our China partnership programmes with Wuhan University; Northeastern University; and Central South University
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 four* graduating classes of your course
- the module results for students on your course this year
- information confirming the impact on learning, teaching or assessment on the relevant modules and the changes already made to mitigate the impact of the pandemic or industrial action.
They will use this information to help them make their academic judgements and confirm student awards.
*Where a programme has run for fewer than 4 years all available data will be provided
What the Boards of Examiners can do?
For modules taken in 2022/23, that have been impacted by strike action and/or Covid-19 impacts in China, the Board of Examiners will consider module results and calculated degree outcome in the context of the previous pattern of results and that of current and previous graduating years. In this session the following shall apply:
- For relevant modules impacted by industrial action taken 2022/23 adjustments will apply to either a whole cohort or a sub group of the cohort dependent on the disruption caused by the industrial action.
- For students in China disrupted by Covid-19, adjustments may occur at individual, sub group or full cohort level as appropriate.
This means that Boards of Examiners will be able to see if groups of graduating students, or individual student 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 the 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 the degree.
- Mark excluded from further calculations – if the module mark in an impacted module is poor in comparison to other modules it can be excluded from the calculation of the overall degree classification. The credit will still be awarded, and the module mark is not changed.
- Compensation* and/or condonement** can be applied to individual modules if students have failed the module. As per the University Assessment Policy the combined amount of compensation and condonement should not exceed 25% for both undergraduate and postgraduate awards.
- First attempt***– if the student has failed a module, and it cannot be compensated or condoned, they 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).
- Additional opportunity – where the student has failed a module, and it cannot be compensated or condoned, or provided as a first attempt, the student may be given another opportunity to take the assessment, but any normal penalties such as capping of components would apply.
Where students are provided with an additional opportunity or a first attempt, they will receive information about the form and timing of the assessment from the School following the Board of Examiners meeting.
It should be noted that the options above are mechanisms available to Boards of Examiners, for consideration for all modules impacted by strike action and/or Covid-19, 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.
*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 programme that has been failed need not be redeemed.
***Some Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies will not allow the use of resits, Boards of Examiners will be made aware of this to ensure compliance with regulatory frameworks.
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.