No detriment - what does it mean?
Updated on 19 November 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic affects students in different ways, the University is implementing a no detriment approach to awarding degrees. Find out how this works, and what it could mean for your degree.
We have been working to adjust both the way we are teaching and the assessments we set so that we mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on you and your course.
We know that students will have been impacted by this pandemic in all sorts of different ways and that some of you may have also been impacted by strike action taken earlier in the year. As you may know from previous messages the University will be taking a ‘no detriment’ approach when confirming your grades and degree outcomes.
Why no detriment exists
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 you were being taught or assessed
- the effect the event had on your ability to study for, or take, an assessment
- the mark you received in the assessment
We then act to remove negative impacts on you and ensure you are awarded your degree fairly while maintaining our academic standards and securing the value of your qualifications.
Which modules it applies to
The Boards of Examiners will be able to apply no detriment to any modules that have been impacted by either strike action or coronavirus.
- undergraduate modules in any year of study
- taught postgraduate modules in any year of study
- undergraduate dissertation/project modules or equivalents
- taught postgraduate dissertation/project modules or equivalents
This approach will follow students to the end of their degree programmes. This means that if you are not due to graduate this year, we will take these circumstances into account, for relevant modules, by using the no detriment approach, in the year that you do.
How we decide if no detriment applies
Boards of Examiners will be provided with:
- information regarding the overall outcome and results profiles for the previous four graduating classes of your course
- where a course has run for fewer than four years all available data will be provided
- the 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
They will use this information to help them make their academic judgements and confirm your awards.
What the Boards of Examiners can do
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.
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
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.
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 will not allow the use of compensation, condonement, or resits.
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.