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Student exams and the COVID-19 Coronavirus

Find specific answers about exams and the coronavirus situation below.

Where we refer to exams in these FAQs we mean formal, invigilated in-person examinations (exams) whether completed by hand or on a PC – many of you will recognise these as the normal exams we run on campus in January and May each year.  For most students the next period of exams was planned for the beginning of May 2020 – some specific programmes may have had exams on other dates.

Examinations are a form of assessment.  Assessment can take many forms, including coursework, presentations, dissertations, lab reports, OSCEs, in class tests, as well as a range of different kinds of examination. 

 

Following government advice, we have confirmed that any scheduled formal, in-person, on-campus, invigilated examinations won’t take place this semester.  However, for students who are required to undertake assessments to meet the outcomes of their course we are putting in place alternative assessments and we will have given you details of these arrangements by 17 April. 

No – the University will not run formal, in person examinations as scheduled.  We are now working through the process of agreeing alternative assessments instead of your May exams.  Your Programme team will have communicated with you about how you will be assessed in place of exams by 17 April 2020. 

We have put special arrangements in place for Foundation Year (Level 3) and First Year (Level 4 / Stage One) students – see the FAQs below on this. 

Please be assured that you will not be penalised for any change we have to make to the examination schedule or assessment process, and that we will ensure that you still meet any relevant professional, statutory or regulatory standards.   

Alternative assessments are ways of checking how much you have learned during the academic year without traditional exams or other forms of assessment precluded by the pandemic.  We need to use them to prove you have met the learning outcomes of your programme, and to convince future employers that your degree award has the same value as it would under normal circumstances.

Our aim is to ensure that you can continue with your studies and meet your learning outcomes and any relevant professional body requirements.   

We have put in place some special arrangements for students in Foundation Year (Level 3) and First Year (Level 4 / Stage One) - please see the FAQs below for details. 

For other students, we are now working through the process of agreeing alternatives to this.  Your Programme team will communicate with you about how you will be assessed in place exams by 17 April 2020. 

Please be assured that you will not be penalised for any change we have to make to the examination schedule or assessment process, and that we will ensure that you still meet any relevant professional, statutory or regulatory standards.   

This is an extraordinary situation and it may not be always be possible for every student to complete / progress in line with their expected timescales.  We are going to do everything we can to try and achieve this for you, or for you to complete / progress as close to your expected timescales as possible.     

The University has decided that most current Foundation Year students will be allowed to progress onto Year 1 of an approved University programme, without further assessment. 

The exceptions are: 

  1. You are studying toward a programme where a regulatory body or your destination institution requires you to be assessed. 
  2. You wish to receive a Certificate of Foundation studies on successful completion of your Foundation Year and you advise your programme administration team of this by 9th April 2020. 

In these circumstances you may still have to complete some assessment. Your programme team will contact you by 17 April 2020 if you need to complete further assessment. 

It is still very important that you learn what each programme has set out for you to learn.  We urge you to continue your learning on your programme, as you would normally. This is because the knowledge you gain at this stage will be needed for the work you do at the next stage.  

The University has decided that most current First Year students will be allowed to progress onto Year 2 of their University programme, without further assessment. 

The exceptions are: 

  1. If you are studying toward a programme where a regulatory body requires you to be assessed at Year 1. 
  2. If you intend to exit after Year 1 for an external institution and that external institution requires that you have been assessed at Year 1. 

In these circumstances you may still have to complete some assessment. Your programme team will contact you by 17 April 2020 if you need to complete further assessment. 

 It is still very important that you learn what each programme has set out for you to learn.  We urge you to continue your learning on your programme, as you would normally. This is because the knowledge you gain at this stage will be needed for the work you do at the next stage.

Your Programme Team will tell you if you are studying on a programme that still requires you to be assessed to progress from Foundation Year or from First Year.

There will be no further assessment from now for the programmes that do not require assessment to progress.

The purpose of studying for a degree to learn and develop the skills you need for your future.  It is important that you continue to engage with your studies, so that you continue to learn and develop your skills.  Normally, assessment is the way we measure how much you have learned. 

It is still critical to your chances of success in future years at university, and beyond university, that you learn what each programme has set out for you to learn.  You will use the learning and skills from this year in your studies in future study, and in your career when you leave us.

For those students with maintenance loans from Student Finance, the University has to confirm to Student Finance England that you are continuing to study, so that you remain eligible for your loan. We are continuing to provide learning and teaching opportunities for you, and it is essential that you engage with them in order to be successful in the future. 

You will not need to take assessment for any outstanding First Year (Level 4 / Stage 1) modules.  In line with the changes for First Year (Level 4 / Stage 1) students,  

The exceptions are: 

  1. If you are studying toward a programme where a regulatory body requires you to be assessed at Year 1.
  2. If you intend to exit and move toan external institution and that external institution requires that you have been assessed at Year 1. 

In these circumstances you may still have to complete some assessment. Your programme team will contact you by 17 April 2020 if you need to complete further assessment. 

It is still very important that you learn what your programme has set out for you to learn in respect of your outstanding First Year (Level 4 / Stage 1) modules.  We urge you to continue your learning on your modules, as you would normally. This is because the knowledge you gain at this stage will be needed for the work you do at the next stage and in your future career. 

No. Although we have decided that Foundation Year (Level 3) and First Year (Level 4 / Stage 1) students can progress without completing assessments, it is very important that these students carry on engaging with learning and teaching activities.  

The purpose of studying for a degree to learn and gather the skills you need for your future. 

It is important that students continue to engage with their studies, so that they continue to learn and develop your skills.  If you have suspended your studies, you cannot continue with your learning and teaching activities and you cannot therefore progress.  

No – the University is still delivering learning and teaching opportunities to you and it is important that you use this time to continue to engage with them, so you can learn enough to be successful next year. 

The purpose of studying for a degree to learn and gather the skills you need for your future.  It is important that you continue to engage with your studies, so that you continue to learn and develop your skills.  Normally, assessment is the way we measure how much you have learned.  It is still critical to your chances of success in future years at university, and beyond university, that you learn what each programme has set out for you to learn.  You will use the learning and skills from this year in your studies in future years, and in your career when you leave us.

For those students with maintenance loans from Student Finance, the University has to confirm to Student Finance England that you are continuing to study, so that you remain eligible for your loans.

We are continuing to provide learning and teaching opportunities for you, and it is essential that you engage with them in order to be successful in the future. 

There is currently a lot of media attention to some things that other universities have done for students in Second Year (Level 5/Stage 2) and above.  The approach at some universities is being called a ‘No Detriment’ policy – however this doesn’t have a standard meaning and there are a lot of different approaches these universities are taking to mitigating the impact of the pandemic on student learning and student achievement.  At the University of Bradford, we are still considering how best to support students in second year and above in addition to our special arrangements for Extenuating Circumstances

We recognise that this is an uncertain time for all and so are working hard to provide as much clarity as possible, as soon as we are able to. We are sure you will understand that this is an unprecedented and complex process and there are many elements of our approach to supporting you through this situation that we are still working on. What we can say is that you will not be academically disadvantaged by the Coronavirus situation and we will communicate full assessment plans with students in second year and above as soon as possible. We really appreciate your ongoing patience while we work things through. As more information becomes available, we will keep you updated.

We need to ensure we take time to give proper consideration to alternative assessment and have it formally approved in the University and by our external examiners, who make sure what we are doing is comparable to other universities.  By taking some time, we can be confident that your degree meets our rigorous academic standards and those of any professional body that may accredit your degree.  This is important so that any employer in the future respects your degree and understands its high value.

As we are working out what your alternative assessment is, we are also giving consideration to how much time you will need to complete it, and we will ensure that you have enough time to do the assessment well. Remember that we have also made special arrangements for extenuating circumstances, to ensure that you are not academically disadvantaged.

Please tell your programme administration team by 9th April 2020, using the following contacts:

Faculty of Engineering and Informatics: FEI-prog-admin@bradford.ac.uk               

Faculty of Health Studies: FHS-prog-admin@bradford.ac.uk              

Faculty of Life Sciences: FLS-prog-admin@bradford.ac.uk              

Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences: FML-prog-admin@bradford.ac.uk  / FSS-prog-admin@bradford.ac.uk                        

Distance Learning or Executive Education: ExecEd-admin@bradford.ac.uk  

You will need to do your assessments – if your assessments were examinations, we will tell you what alternative assessment you will do instead by 17 April 2020. For other forms of assessment, such as coursework essays or dissertations, please continue and hand them in as usual unless your programme team have advised you that they are changing these.

If you miss the 9th April date, please contact your programme administration team anyway – we will arrange for you take your assessments during the supplementary examination period. 

If you have already completed your work on your assessment you will have put yourself in a really good place for learning.

The purpose of studying for a degree is to learn and develop new skills.  It is important that you continue to engage with your studies, so that you continue to learn and develop your skills. Normally, assessment is the way we measure how much you have learned.  It is still critical to your chances of success in future years at university, and beyond university, that you learn what each programme has set out for you to learn.  You will use the learning and skills from this year in your studies in future years, and in your career when you leave us.

We strongly recommend that you continue to remain engaged with your studies through the online opportunities provided by your tutors. This will help ensure that you are able to achieve the learning outcomes of the academic year and prepare yourself for the next stage of your programme.  It will also prepare you for any revised assessment you will undertake and will, more generally, support your learning as you progress your studies.

So please don’t see your work for your assessment as a waste – it will have helped you learn and develop your skills and will put you in a great position for future academic and career success.

To help you continue your studies in confidence, knowing that the impact of the current crisis will not harm your ability to progress to the next year of study or on your final degree classification.

We recognise that the teaching you received in semester 2 and the nature of your assessment schedule was significantly affected because of the measures the University has taken to manage the current disruption. The safety net policy will ensure that that you are not academically disadvantaged by the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is a set of new rules to help you progress to your next year of study within the normal timescale or, if you are in your final year, support you to complete your degree without fear that your classification will be compromised.

The University will recognise the value of marks you have already achieved for assessed work. This means that, for most students (see below) as long as you submit your remaining assessments and pass them, then your final mark will not be lower than your already-achieved overall mark. Your final mark can of course be higher if you do well in your upcoming and future assessments.

For final year students, this means that your degree classification will not be compromised if your performance in Covid-19 affected assessments is lower than your performance in assessments submitted before 1 March 2020, or any you take after 30 June 2020 (we will keep this final date under review and extend it if needed if the current situation continues).

Yes. There are some programmes where external regulatory requirements mean we cannot apply this approach. We will provide further information shortly to students affected by this.

We have chosen to use the language of ‘academic performance safety net’ rather than ‘no detriment’ because we believe it more appropriately describes the measures we are putting in place to balance  compassion for you in these circumstances with the need to uphold academic standards and the value of your degree. Our approach is designed to enable you to fully engage in your upcoming assessments with confidence knowing that if your ability to do your best is impacted by the COVID-19 situation then your overall results will not be worse as a result.  

At this stage all we ask is that you continue to fully engage with your studies and do your very best in your upcoming assessments. The safety net is being put in place so that you can focus on consolidating and demonstrating your learning as you prepare you for your next steps.

We have also introduced some special arrangements for extenuating circumstances.  If you need extra time to undertake your assessment, or you are unable to submit, these arrangements are already in place to ensure that you are not disadvantaged.

 

Getting this process right for all out students is complicated and requires a lot of planning so that we are able to offer the support you deserve while maintaining the value of your degree.

It is important to us that you are able to be confident that your degree has the same standing as your peers at similar universities and will stand you in good stead in the future. So with many different types of degree to consider, this will take a little time, but we will keep you up to date and will communicate with you as soon as we have more detailed information.

 

A short recording of an Instagram Live event with the UBU, Vice-Chancellor and other members of the Executive Board discussing these changes can be viewed here.