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Bee Morgan, LUSU VP Education, confirmed on Facebook that a committee has passed a series of COVID-specific protection policies for Lancaster University students.
The announcement comes in Bee’s final week of office and confirms that she has successfully passed the first stage of securing this series of concessions to “ensure no student’s education is harmed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
A petition on change.org calling Interim Vice-Chancellor Steve Bradley to implement a no-detriment policy for Lancaster University students impacted by the pandemic reached 160 supporters in April 2020. Pleas have been put forth on social media and in interviews to student media for help from Lancaster Uni during this stressful period – and have, until now, gone unanswered.
“The changes that I have had agreed this week are a massive win for students,” Bee said, “and will give you protections that ensure when earning your degrees the unprecedented situation we’re all living through will properly be taken into account.
“The rule changes have now been passed by the University’s Standing Committee For Academic Regulations, and agreed to verbally by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and should be communicated to you by the University later this week.
“The changes that have been agreed go a long way to protecting our members and ensuring your qualifications are awarded fairly.
“I couldn’t be happier to get such a well-rounded package for students and thank the University for being so considerate when creating these.”
The changes approved include:
Resits will be given to any student who needs them for free, in place of the previous £100+ fee.
Self-declare mental health struggles
A continuation of the policy that allows students to self-certify that they are struggling with mental health difficulties as a result of the pandemic without external evidence (no need to pay for a doctor’s note).
Extra ways to gain the upper class of degree
Students will be awarded the higher degree classification where core modules are in the higher class.
More opportunities to discount poor marks
There are now more opportunities to excuse low marks where students have clearly under-
performed when being assessed in new non-traditional formats (e.g. online exams).
This will standardise exam performance – if this year’s exams are generally lower than previous non-COVID years, then the overall grades for each student will be raised.
For the first time, exam boards will provide a transparency record to share information on what they considered during marking. This includes average module marks, any scaling decisions and context specific to modules.
Marks will consider context
This means that the impacts of COVID on teaching will be taken into account and grades will be compared to previous non-COVID years’ performance.
First years can progress to second year
Some first years who may have needed to resit will now be allowed to move straight to Part II.
“These measures will make a huge difference to so many students, protect your degrees and hopefully reduce your stress levels in the coming months,” says Bee. “This couldn’t be a better way to end my time in office, and I wish everyone the best of luck with their studies for the rest of this academic year and beyond.”
If you need support with academic issues, contact the Advice team at email@example.com.