Academic Registry and Council Secretariat

Students menu

Assessment changes due to coronavirus

We understand that the current coronavirus situation can be a source of uncertainty and anxiety for students due to sit assessments. However, we want to reassure you that no student will be disadvantaged as a result of this situation: all final year students will receive an award and all continuing students will be permitted to progress (see below for details).

We've put together the following advice to help give you certainty during this time. Please carefully read the advice that relates to your degree type and situation.

If you have a query that’s not covered by the below guidance, please contact your Advisor, Supervisor, Student Support Officer, the Student Enquiry Centre, or the Academic Advice Centre at QMSU.

What are the general principles behind our alternative arrangements?

Our alternative arrangements were approved after careful consideration, looking at academic quality and standards to maintain the integrity of your awards, your experience as a student, the need for institutional consistency, and external expectations from the higher education sector. At the heart of our considerations was the central 'no detriment' principle: that no student should be delayed in their graduation or in progressing to the next level of study as a consequence of circumstances that have been beyond anyone’s control. The arrangements were approved on the delegated authority of the Senate, our highest-level academic committee.

How will I be assessed?

A mark must be generated for each module that you are taking. In some cases, the Module Organiser will have determined that you have already completed sufficient assessments for us to generate a module mark without any further assessments (discounting any elements yet to be completed). In other cases, the Module Organiser has reached the decision that we cannot fairly base a mark on the assessments that students have completed so far. In this case, an additional assessment will be required. This may be submission of a further item of coursework, but in many cases, this will be submission of an 'alternative assessment' online (see below). Your school/institute will be able to advise which is the case for each module.

How will my year-average mark be calculated?

Each module you take has a credit value. At the end of the year an average mark is generated, using the credit values to weight the mark. For 2019/20, in accordance with the Queen Mary approach to ensuring 'no detriment', the 30 credits with the lowest marks (or 15 credits, for Postgraduate Certificate awards – which are 60 credit awards – only) will not count towards the calculation of the average mark for the 2019/20 year. Your adjusted year average will then be used in turn to generate the mark used for your classification at the end of your studies. (Please note that if your lowest marks are the result of an assessment offence penalty those marks will not be excluded, and the next lowest 30 credits will be excluded instead.)

Assessment rules

Your final mark for classification will be derived using all your marks from your previous years of study, as well as the best 90 credits from your final year of study (which is year three for bachelor’s degrees, and year four for undergraduate master's programmes).

In some cases, students will already have passed 90 credits (eg, if a student has sat and passed modules adding up to 60 credits from Semester A and has a pass grade for a 30 credit research project module). In that case, your school or institute will advise you of your provisional grades and recommended award based on the 90 credits already passed. You would not then be obliged to complete the alternative assessments for the remaining 30 credits in Semester B modules. However, we strongly recommend that you take any remaining assessments available to you to give you the best chance that your 90 credits used to calculate your year average and overall degree mark are scored as highly as possible.

To be eligible for a foundation certificate or a graduate diploma, you must have completed modules to the value of 120 credits and passed at least 90 credits (including a minimum of 30 credits at the academic level appropriate to the award).

To be eligible for a bachelors degree, you need to have studied 360 credits, and to have passed a minimum of 270 credits in total with at least 30 credits passed at level 6. (These requirements may be higher for your award to be accredited by the relevant external, professional body). For an intercalated bachelors award, you must have completed 120 credits and passed a minimum 90 credits including at least 30 credits at level 6.

Remember: while it's mathematically possible for a student who passed 240 credits across years one and two to pass just 30 credits in their final year in order to receive a bachelors award, the low marks for the other, uncompleted, final year modules would have a severe negative impact on classification. This is why we encourage you to complete alternative assessments where you can, to give yourself the greatest number of opportunities for success.

To be eligible for an undergraduate masters degree, you need to have studied at least 480 credits, and to have passed a minimum 360 credits in total with at least 30 credits passed at level 7*.

The requirement to achieve a minimum overall weighted pass mark (‘College Mark’) to be eligible for award has not changed.

(*Requirements for professional accreditation of an award may be higher).

a. Arrangements for UG Law students in the final year of study in 2019/20: LLB award and classification 2019-20 FINAL [PDF 111KB] 

b. Arrangements for UG Law students not in the final year of study in 2019/20:Arrangements for LLB students not in the final year of study in 2019 [PDF 326KB]

If you're studying a PGT award, the standard regulations for award will apply, except that:

  1. failed modules can be condoned from zero rather than 40.0 (where condoned failure is permitted), and
  2. the mark on which your award is classified will be calculated excluding the weakest 30 credits-worth of marks (or for PgCert, 15 credits).

For part-time PGT students not due to graduate in 2020 but impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the principles described will be applied in your year of graduation. The external requirements of any relevant Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) may mean that certain programmes are obliged to follow the original rules to qualify for accreditation.

The requirement to achieve a minimum overall weighted pass mark (‘College Mark’) to be eligible for award has not changed.

Core modules – those modules that must be taken and passed, as opposed to compulsory modules, which must be taken but can be failed or condoned – must still be passed, as they are, by nature, fundamental to their respective programmes. However, the marks of a core module that has been passed can still be excluded for the purpose of calculating your year average or award classification, where any core modules are among the 30 credits with the lowest marks.

Read the undergraduate award rules or PGT award rules for more information about potentially excluding some low marks from affecting your classification.

All non-final year students (including students on an integrated with-foundation degree programme) will be permitted to progress, no matter the number of credits that you pass.

However, you'll be contacted by your school or institute to advise you if you have passed insufficient credits to receive an award, and you will be advised to resit assessments in the 'late summer' period. The exact timings for resits will be dependent on the duration of the current pandemic, but they won't be the first two weeks of August.

If you weren't on track to progress – for example, if you'd already failed more than 30 credits in the Semester A exams – staff in your school/institute will discuss your options with you individually. But if you nevertheless wish to continue, you will be entitled to do so.

As continuing students, when you complete your degree programme (ie, no earlier than the summer of 2021), your final marks will be calculated both including and excluding all marks from the academic year 2019-20. Consistent with the 'no detriment' principle, you'll receive the higher of those two marks: the final mark that includes 2019/20 and the final mark that excludes any contribution from this year.

For example:

  • For a bachelors student currently in year one, this means calculating your final mark based on a weighting of your year averages for Years 1, 2 and 3 in the ratios 1:3:6 and of 0:3:6, and taking the better of the two outcomes
  • For a bachelors student currently in year two, this would mean calculating your final mark based on a weighted average (for Years 1, 2 and 3 respectively) of 1:3:6 and of 1:0:6, and taking the better of the two outcomes
  • For students on undergraduate masters degrees, we would use the best outcome from 1:3:6:6 and 0:3:6:6 or 1:0:6:6 or 1:3:0:6, depending on which developmental year corresponds to the academic year 2019/20.

In accordance with Queen Mary's approach to a 'no detriment' principle, the marks for the weakest credits from the year will be excluded in all cases; where the recalculated year average would still bring the final mark down, the whole year will be excluded from classification. Note that this only applies to undergraduate programmes, not part-time/multi-year postgraduate taught programmes.

If you're on an extramural year (abroad, in industry, on placement) in 2019/20, you won't suffer any detriment in progression and award.

Excepting cases where professional accreditation requirements are attached to the year, you will:

  • be deemed to have met the progression requirements to the subsequent year of study and remain registered on the with-year-abroad/in-industry/placement route
  • and either:
    • Where the year has not been completed, or where it has been completed but including it would bring down the mark used for classification, then you'll receive a pass (on a pass/fail basis) with credit awarded for the year, treating it as experiential learning. The year will not count towards classification even where it would normally have done so.
  • or:
    • Where the year has been successfully completed with results that would increase your eventual mark used for classification, and where the year would normally count towards classification, the year will count in the usual way.

You may therefore choose to continue, or not, with any outstanding assessments and activities on a no detriment basis. Note that all marks must be recorded (and, where appropriate, converted) in the usual way, as we won't know whether your marks will increase or decrease the mark used for classification until you complete your final years of study.

Where there are specific Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) requirements, schools and institutes will inform you of these and of any consequences of non-completion.

The format of any 'alternative assessment' necessary for the examiners to award will vary between modules. Examples might include a timed online exam or an extended piece of coursework that can be completed 'open book' and submitted online 24 or 48 hours later. (The extended submission window for alternative assessments is to recognise the fact that students are working in different time zones and possibly with restricted access to a computer and appropriate study space. It is not anticipated that an alternative assessment would require you to work for 24 of 48 hours – maybe three hours or less but at any time in a 24- or 48-hour window). For each module, the precise details of alternative assessments will be released to you online, and you'll make your assessment submissions online (through a platform such as QMplus).

Schools and Institutes are taking different approaches to assessment. Your module organiser will be able to advise you on this.

The Undergraduate Degree Examination Boards, which confirm awards, will be held on 24 July, and the Postgraduate Boards (for students who were expecting to complete in July) on 4 August. Students will be formally notified of outcomes a few days later. A small number of programmes, notably the MBBS and BDS clinical programmes, will have earlier degree board dates (as usual).

Examination boards will occur slightly later than usual, so notifications of the need to resit assessment will also be later. There will be more information on this soon, but we expect the reassessment period to be in late August. Academic schools and institutes are likely to use alternative assessment for those assessments, too, as we do not yet know whether we will be able to open to hold invigilated exams.

The same provisions apply as for students taking the year/assessment for the first time in 2019/20 – all assessments have been affected.

You can claim for extenuating circumstances in the usual way.

However, in addition to the usual grounds for extenuating circumstances, you can also claim on the grounds of:

  • employment or caring responsibilities (there are usually limitations on those grounds),
  • and on a lack of appropriate equipment or technology to complete assessments.

Household circumstances (such as a lack of private space in which to undertake an alternative assessment) will also constitute an extenuating circumstance for assessment.

Additionally, you can self-certify for assessments during the current situation. This means you don't need to supply any supporting evidence for an extenuating circumstance claim to be accepted (but you must still submit the claim itself, in the usual way).

Return to top