All year round, we work hard to represent your interests, which includes lobbying and working with the University to improve your academic experience at Harper Adams. We are not going to let a global pandemic get in the way of us supporting you and keeping our promises to you.
Over the last two weeks, your current and incoming student officers (President, Vice President, Undergraduate Academic Rep, Postgraduate Academic Rep) have been in virtual meetings representing you during this lockdown. We were aware that the University was working on their policies, but after receiving a petition from our ‘Lions and Lionesses’ we have been actively engaging with the University to ensure that your views were considered in the development of a Safety Net policy for exams and assessments affected by COVID-19. It was important to us, that your Students’ Union reflected on your voice in our discussion with the University, to make sure all students were supported throughout this period and to ensure that you achieve a degree you are proud of and that you have worked hard for. We are extremely happy with the announced plans to implement a Safety Net policy that was passed by the Academic Board on Wednesday (23/04/2020). As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has adopted a revised approach to delivery and assessment to ensure that students are still able to successfully complete the current year of their programmes.
We’ve broken down what it means for you, and answered any questions we think you might have.
What is a Safety Net Policy?
The term safety policy is to make sure all students will be treated fairly and their assessment and the regulations around exams and assignments consider the wider implications of the current COVID-19 crisis.
The policy might affect you differently depending on what year of study you’re in, and if you study a course that is accredited by a professional body, this may not apply to you so you should contact your course tutor if you are confused or would like further information.
Why not a ‘no detriment policy’
The university is fully aware that a number of institutions have published so-called ‘No detriment’ polices. In reality, this approach has been adopted by only a small minority of institutions (less than 20% according to a survey of Universities). ‘No detriment’ is predominantly being applied by universities whose students have already been badly hit by industrial action this year and/or also where students study within semesters so that typically between 60-80% of student work had been submitted on or before 15th March 2020. Neither of these scenarios apply to Harper Adams, which means that it would not be possible to adopt such a policy and adhere to the requirements of the OfS.
What is included in the policy?
• Provision for some assessments to be carried over into the next academic year, if necessary;
• Revised compensation regulations;
• Revised reassessment entitlement for all students;
• Revised restudy entitlements for all students;
• Revised progression requirements;
• Additional flexibility for industrial placement requirements (placement students check this one out)
• Recognition that future versions of the assessment regulations may need to address impact of COVID-19 on final award outcomes;
• Revision to rules associated with classification upgrades;
• Revision of rules associated with classification upgrades;
• Provision to consider classification upgrades for 2020 cohort if results are significantly different to mean achievement of the previous six cohorts (since 2014);
• Mitigating circumstances section streamlined and links to actual mitigating circumstances policy provided;
• Revised module condonement regulations;
• Clarification on availability of Aogrotat awards;
• Clarification that academic misconduct expectations will not be relaxed;
• Clarification on the submission deadline for the open book alternative assessments;
Arrangements for Claiming Mitigating circumstances;
• Revised grounds for claiming mitigating circumstances;
• Clarification of types of mitigating circumstances that apply to the open book alternative assessments;
• Clarification on the process for seeking an extension for an open book alternative assessment;
• Removal of requirement for medical evidence and introduction of self-certification;
• Revision for mitigating circumstance claim for key/essential workers;
What if I am unsure if Mitigating Circumstances apply to me?
Speak to your course tutor or course manager – they can tell you if they think it’s a good idea! (but remember, it’s your decision primarily)
What should I do next?
Right now, we suggest setting reminders (on outlook, your phone, circle it on your calendar etc) for every result you’re expecting, as well as a reminder for your last chance to apply for mitigating circumstances.
I still need support!
Student Services and your Students’ Union are here to help! Pop us a message if you need support or have any questions. if we can’t help, we’ll do our best to direct you to someone who can.
The University and Students’ Union hope this announcement goes a little way to help during this period of uncertainty. If you have any other issues, your Students’ Union is still in weekly discussions with the uni about all matters affecting students, so let us know and they’ll pass it on.
In the meantime, stay safe and we hope we’ll see you soon
Your friends at Harper Adams Students’ Union.