Remote assessment for students
Information for students regarding how assessment will be carried out remotely.
How exactly will the remote exams work?
We will be providing all students with details of the remote exam administrative processes prior to the Revision Week (Week 12).
You will have the chance to enter the virtual exam environment prior to your first exam in order to familiarise yourself with the system, which is based on the mechanism by which you normally submit coursework through our virtual learning environment, Learn.
Please note that the system has designed to minimise the length of time you will need to remain connected to the internet in order to be as fair as possible to those students who have more limited connection. This means that it will not be possible to raise a query about the paper in the virtual exam hall this year. We are working very hard to ensure that all questions are clear, however, if you are unsure then you should write a comment to this effect on your script, which will be considered as part of the marking process.
With no face-to-face exams how will I be assessed?
You should now be able to view the Remote Assessment details for all of your modules on the Learn page for each module where changes have been made.
The Remote Assessments will comprise of a mixture of the following:
An open book long window remote exam (23 hours)
You will be advised of the expected amount of time and effort you should spend on the assignment. This is likely to be similar to a normal examination length (2-3 hours) and much less than the 23-hour window available.
An open book short window remote exam (normal length + 1 hour)
You will have the normal amount of time to take the paper as if it were an exam, plus a further 1 hour. The additional hour will be provided in order for you to download, complete the exam off-line and then submit your answers to Learn.
The exam has been replaced with a piece of coursework
Details will be provided to you of the coursework brief. You will have a specified period of time in which to undertake the coursework, which typically will be a period of at least several days.
Existing coursework has been extended in scope to replace the exam
Planned coursework has been extended in scope and the weighting of the coursework altered to reflect this.
The exam is no longer required
Your marks will be calculated on the basis of the assessments which you have already been set and/or completed for this module.
When will the remote examinations take place?
The remote exam period will run from weeks 13 to 16 in the normal way, starting on Tuesday 26 May and ending on Wednesday 17 June. The revised examination timetable was released on Friday 1 May.
Each Remote Exam will be released on a specific day at a specific time in the morning via Learn during the examination period. There will only be one examination session per day. We intend to release the papers between 9 and 10am so that students in different time zones have the best opportunity to complete this at an appropriate time.
We intend to run a test of the Remote Exam system in the Summer Term prior to the exam period so that you can familiarise yourself with the process.
How will you stop cheating, for example students sharing ideas through chat groups?
The University expects all students to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity during the conduct of all assessment processes. Academic integrity is the commitment to and demonstration of honest and responsible scholarship and it is crucially important in order to ensure: i) that all students can learn and benefit from the process of learning; ii) that all students are treated equally and fairly; and iii) that the standards and value of academic awards are maintained. All students receive guidance and training on the University’s expectations in the early stages of their studies.
However, the University is aware of the potential greater vulnerability of the remote assessment process to academic misconduct (i.e. cheating). You should be reassured that the University takes academic misconduct very seriously and has designed the remote assessment arrangements to make it difficult for students to cheat. The full definition of the activities we consider to constitute academic misconduct can be found here. This includes plagiarism (submitting work as your own of which you are not the author), assisting another candidate to gain an unfair advantage (such as sharing answers via WhatsApp or other messaging platforms) and impersonation (someone else taking the exam for you).
The University also employs a variety of mechanisms which enables it to identify where students have cheated. These include:
- Turnitin UK Plagiarism Detection Service, which searches the web and extensive databases of reference material and content submitted by other students to identify duplicated work. We are aware that some essay mills offer 'plagiarism-free' guarantees. However, many essay mill writers themselves take short cuts by copying work, so text matching software does identify this. Some writers also recycle material for subsequent commissions.
- Turnitin Authorship Investigate, which provides evidence about the origin and consistency of a student’s submitted work that can be used to confirm academic misconduct. This can be used to track writing styles, typing patterns and linguistic style, helping to determine whether there have been multiple authors of work submitted by the same student or if there are significant variations in writing style from different pieces of work.
The University will also compare student performance in their remote assessments with their prior performance and reserves the right to question students as part of the Regulation XVIII Academic Misconduct process if it is felt necessary to do so to confirm the authorship of any of their submitted work.
The likelihood of detection of any cheating is therefore very high, and the potential consequences of cheating are extremely serious. Students found guilty of academic misconduct may fail an assessment altogether or even have their studies terminated (see the potential penalties listed in Regulation XVIII). In addition, students are warned that as well as being morally and ethically wrong, and contrary to University Regulations, there are significant personal risks associated with the use of “essay mills” and other “contract cheating” services. These include blackmail and extortion, because once a student has cheated in this way, they will be permanently vulnerable, not only while in higher education but into their professional careers. Students who use online essay mill services also expose themselves to the risk of their personal details being sold on to identity fraudsters.
If you become aware of circumstances which appear to indicate that another student has committed an act of academic misconduct, you are encouraged to report such circumstances, at the earliest opportunity, to your School Director of Studies or Associate Dean for Teaching. Providing this reporting is done in good faith, the University will view it positively and will seek to maintain your anonymity wherever possible and protect you from victimisation.
If you are concerned in any way about your assessments, there are a lot of people who can offer your help and support. Contact your personal tutor or your module leader, Student Services or get in touch with LSU Advice in the Students’ Union.
Why haven’t you cancelled exams and assessments completely like some other universities have done?
We have thought very carefully about the options, and we know that Loughborough students will want the opportunity to earn their degree and demonstrate their best work.
We also wish to put all our students in the best possible position to progress through their studies in subsequent years by engaging with content this academic year. Similarly, we want our graduates to have as many skills as possible to succeed in their future careers.
We believe that our alternative assessments will be as robust as possible and allow you to guarantee the quality of your degree – you will still be a proud Loughborough graduate.
For those students in specific difficult circumstances which means they will find it hard to engage with remote assessments, we are also offering them the opportunity to apply to defer their assessments until the Special Assessment Period or to redo Semester 2 the following year.
As the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education notes in their guidance published on 24th April 2020, “there are very real differences between providers, for example, their student populations, the structure and dates of their academic year, the learning and teaching approaches, curriculum content and assessment regimes. It is important that the policies applied recognise these differences.”
Is there any national guidance relating to academic standards?
Yes. The Office for Students and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education have both issued various guidance documents during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We have followed these carefully, and engaged with discussions with the QAA.
Indeed, the most recent publication from QAA (24th April 2020) states that: “alongside the need to ensure that students are not disadvantaged, awarding bodies also need to be confident – and be able to demonstrate – that graduates in 2020 are not advantaged compared to their peers in previous years; and also that they are not disadvantaged in future years by being known as the ‘COVID-19 generation’, whose degree classifications are not considered reliable.”
It then goes on to say: “Providers whose approaches involve assessing all the intended learning outcomes and ensuring that students achieve a pass (at least) in those assessments, are able to have confidence that the academic standards of the awards are secure.”
We are therefore confident that our remote assessment and safety net processes follow the guidance and are compliant.
Will my degree still be accredited?
Yes – if it already is. We are in touch with the accrediting bodies. They understand the situation and in some cases have sent through revised guidelines which we are following.
Will coursework deadlines be extended?
We have already moved back existing coursework deadlines where it was appropriate to do so and these changes have already been communicated to you. Please note that existing coursework deadlines remain in force unless you have been told otherwise. If you have a deadline coming up, you should submit your work on-line as normal. Deadlines for any new coursework assignments will be communicated to you with the brief and marking scheme via Learn as usual.
When will I get the results of my remote examinations?
Your remote exam work will be marked and moderated (reviewed and checked) in accordance with the standard procedures, taking into account any particular circumstances. Marks will then be reviewed again and finalised using the University’s Coronavirus Safety Nets and in consultation with relevant external examiners. An overall check will then be made at University-level to ensure that the results obtained this year are at least as good as those obtained in the previous 3 years, in line with our previous commitments to students.
Your final marks for the year will be released as usual through the MyResults System in July. We intend to be in a position to release Part C and D undergraduate results on 23rd July, and Parts A, B and F, and postgraduate taught student results on 24th July. These dates may be subject to change, but we will advise you as soon as we can if there are likely to be any delays. Generic feedback on students’ performance in the exams will be provided in the standard way.
Finally, for those undergraduate finalists please note that we will make arrangements to post Degree Certificates and official mark transcripts to students, during the summer, once awards have been confirmed by the exam boards. Please do make sure that your address is up to date through the student self-service portal.
Do I need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim due to coronavirus?
You should not normally need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances form as a result of the changes to teaching and assessment in relation to the current coronavirus situation.
We will gather detailed information as to how changes have impacted each module and, if we consider it appropriate, we will take steps to mitigate this as described in other sections on this page. We will be working closely with Loughborough Students’ Union to ensure that any actions taken are fair and reasonable.
However, if you have specific individual circumstances (e.g. genuinely exceptional, serious or acute medical, family, personal, or other problems or events beyond your control) which have affected your studies then you should complete the Mitigating Circumstances form in the normal way. Similarly, if you feel that your work has been disproportionately affected by changes to teaching and assessment because of your own individual circumstances, then you should complete a Mitigating Circumstances form in accordance with Regulation XV11.
PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to submit an Mitigating Circumstances claim relating to the Covid-19 coronavirus, you will not be required to provide supporting medical evidence for any illness, and you SHOULD NOT seek such evidence from the University Medical Centre or from any other medical service, at the current time.
I am a Finalist. Will you still be able to award my degree this summer?
Please be reassured that we will be able to award degrees this summer. We will also ensure that nothing we do disadvantages a student in respect of their degree outcome. Please see the separate FAQ above on “When will I get the results of my remote exams?”.
The University will make arrangements to post Degree Certificates and official mark transcripts to students, during the summer, once awards have been confirmed by the exam boards.
Please see the separate FAQ below on “Will there be a graduation ceremony?”
I am a design/creative art student with a practical project that is only half complete. How will this be assessed?
Design and Creative Arts are making adjustments to the assessment briefs to allow for this situation.
I am a design / creative arts / performing arts student. How will I be able to showcase my work?
We will make every effort to provide our design, creative arts, performing arts and other students with opportunities to showcase their work. This may be via a digital show once work has been submitted, and then with a physical exhibition alongside our graduation ceremonies.
We are absolutely committed to organising appropriate degree shows so that we will be able to celebrate the amazing and creative work of our students, with you, our staff and your friends and families.
Will there be a graduation ceremony?
As you may have anticipated, with the current restrictions on both the movement of people and size of permitted gatherings, we have now made the difficult decision to postpone the University summer graduation ceremonies to the Easter vacation 2021. We guarantee you two things. First, we will hold graduation ceremonies so you, your family and friends can celebrate your achievements at Loughborough University with your staff. Second, because the format we adopt for graduation is so successful, we will not be changing it. Put simply, this is no more than a postponement of a very special day that we all enjoy and all want to be part of.
The University will make arrangements to post Degree Certificates and official mark transcripts to students, during summer 2020, once awards have been confirmed by the exam boards.
I’m a Masters’ student and I’m worried about my final project/dissertation
Many of you will soon be embarking on your final projects/dissertations and we hope you’re looking forward to doing so - as this marks another significant milestone in the completion of your Masters degree. Colleagues across Schools are working hard to put appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that all students will still be able to complete a substantive and worthwhile project and thereby complete their studies within the same or similar time frame.
In the external environment, some students’ projects/dissertations may need to be adapted and conducted differently than we might ordinarily have planned this year. Please be reassured that we are committed to giving you all a positive, supportive and valuable project/dissertation experience which will still give you the opportunity to meet the relevant aims and learning outcomes for your respective programmes.
Please note that we said to students before Easter that they could ask to go on leave of absence in Semester 2 and come back at the beginning of Semester 2 in 20/21 (deadline 4 May). Additionally, in any year, a student can request a Leave of Absence for Semester 3. If either of these options are requested, then please note that the award of a Masters qualification will be delayed until an appropriate point when the Masters project has been completed.
We continue to monitor the government guidelines as they emerge. We need to ensure that we can offer a safe and legally compliant working environment for everyone. We will update Masters students as soon as we know more about future access to campus facilities. If this becomes possible, you will be advised accordingly by your School because these arrangements will be made for each individual facility.
If we are able to do so, we are considering whether we will be able to provide opportunities for taught Masters students which are discipline specific, which will complement ongoing project work (e.g. ‘Masterclasses’ in specific skills or other applied opportunities during Semester 3). If this is relevant to your School, then you will be advised of the details by your School as Government guidance evolves and if/when we can ensure a safe and legally compliant working environment for our staff and students.
Are there any alternatives options to proceeding with the arrangements for remote assessments?
We do understand that some students may be experiencing significant disruption which affects their ability to study at the present time and/or may have concerns about undertaking Remote Assessments. Therefore, we are also exceptionally offering each student the following two additional options to progress with their studies:
- Defer all remaining Semester 2 assessments until the Special Assessment Period, where you can take them as a first attempt. Please note that if you then need to undertake Semester 2 reassessments, you will have to do so in the following academic year;
- Return to the University for Semester 2 in the academic year 2020/21, attend classes in person (providing this is possible) and then take your Semester 2 assessments in summer 2021 as a first attempt. You will not need to pay tuition fees twice for your studies if you choose this option, however, you will need to pay for your living costs.
If you would like to apply to take options 1 or 2 because of your specific circumstances, then please see the further information here.
Please note that the deadline for applying to do this is Monday 4th May.
How will you ensure students won't be disadvantaged by these remote assessment arrangements?
We are committed to a ‘no detriment’ position for the 2020 student cohort. This means that we will ensure that the outcomes for each year of the 2020 student cohort are collectively no worse than for the outcomes of the previous three cohorts for the appropriate year group.
We will do this by considering moderation of marks for all modules in the end of year boards. Following our normal processes, we will adjust marks where necessary to ensure that the outcomes for our 2020 student cohort are exactly in line with, or better than, those in the corresponding previous three years.
In addition to this, we will be looking at the degree outcomes of every single finalist student extremely carefully on an individual basis. We will ensure that degree outcomes are in line with the result that could reasonably be expected based on previous achievement. Therefore, before taking decisions on degree classifications for Finalists, we will look at each individual’s prior performance, and in particular the marks obtained in Semester 1, in the context of those obtained under the remote assessment arrangements for Semester 2, 2020. During this process we will also take into account any specific factors relating to individual modules, for example, any impact due to industrial action or any other issues that we are made aware of.
We will also take into account any information individual students raise with us about their specific situation through Mitigating Circumstances claims (Please see the separate FAQ about Mitigating Circumstances). We have relaxed the requirements for evidence to support claims, bearing in mind the difficult national situation.
If at the point of the outcome of assessment you believe the University has not followed these principles you will have the opportunity to make an appeal through our normal processes, which will be viewed sympathetically and fairly.
We have thought very carefully about the options for changes to assessment. We do recognise how challenging this term has been for our students. We think this approach strikes the best balance between maintaining rigour, giving individuals an opportunity to demonstrate their learning, whilst ensuring the 2020 cohort of students is not disadvantaged in terms of outcomes to previous years.
How do I prepare for a Remote Exam?
The Remote Exams will be ‘open book’ but otherwise will be as consistent as possible with a ‘normal’ exam and therefore you should prepare largely as normal.
Detailed information about the remote exams has been provided to you in the email to all students on 14 May. This information includes preparing for the exam, downloading the exam paper, producing your answers, remote exam regulations, submitting your work and how to get help.
Our key ‘Top 10 Tips’ are:
- Make sure you know the time and length of the exam – set yourself a reminder!
- Practice how you are going to approach the exam, including knowing how you are going to prepare and submit your answers
- Note down in advance how to get help if you have a problem on the day
- Study your material as thoroughly as you would for any other exam – do not assume there will be time available to look up all the answers! Decide and organise what materials and resources you plan to use
- Ensure you are physically and mentally prepared – try to get a good night’s sleep, eat well and keep hydrated
- On the day – stay calm – approach the exam as you would any other invigilated exam. It is normal to feel a bit nervous at first
- Start by answering the questions you are most comfortable with
- Keep a check on timings and the marks allocated for each question
- If you are typing your responses, make sure you save your work as you go along
- At the end, check your file carefully before submission to make sure you have included everything you need, and keep a copy!
I’m worried about the technology I need to do my Remote Assessments.
In light of Covid-19, students are currently required to work remotely, and the University is aware that some might not have access to a computer or have sufficient funds to purchase one. A special arrangement has been put in place to loan students a laptop and Wi-Fi equipment to facilitate remote working. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org urgently to speak to an adviser in Student Support and Advice if you think that this might apply to you.
- Please be reassured that we are currently load testing the Learn system extremely thoroughly prior to the Remote Exam period. We plan to run large scale tests with students in the summer term. There will be opportunities for each of you to familiarise yourself with the process so that you know what to expect, which we hope will provide additional reassurance.
- For the majority of assessments, you will only need an internet connection to download and then later upload your work within the appropriate time window.
- Technical assistance will be available during the remote exam period, and a backup email address will be supplied in case you have any difficulties uploading your assessment to Learn.
- You will not need access to a printer or dedicated scanner. Where answers are handwritten, they can be photographed or scanned with devices such as a mobile phone. We will provide further details in due course.
- We are aware that a small number of students would ideally wish to take their exams in May/June but may be genuinely concerned about access to appropriate technology in order to undertake Remote Assessments. If this is the case, please contact us by email to let us know.
I am worried about taking assessments because I don’t have a quiet place to study.
We recognise not everyone has equal access to study space and equipment at home. As soon as the government’s travel restrictions are relaxed, we will be announcing further ways to help students, including the provision of a quiet place for exams to be taken if needed.
I’m in a different time zone to the UK
The 23 hour exams have been designed to allow everyone to take the exam at a time which is convenient for them.
For the short window exam, we have chosen an early morning start to make this as convenient as possible for our students who are in the UK or in time zones east of the UK, who will take the exam later in the day.
We know that there are a very small number of students, primarily those in time zones west of the UK, for whom a start time between 9 and 10 am UK time for a short window assessment is genuinely problematic. Once the exam timetable is released, we will contact those students to make suitable arrangements for them to sit their remote exams.
Can I return to hall to complete my exams?
Current Government advice is to avoid all non-essential travel, and to support the maintenance of social distancing the University is not permitting students to return to hall.
Do you have any tips for looking after my mental wellbeing?
We know it is a challenging time for everyone, and that you might be feeling worried or stressed. Your mental health and wellbeing are of utmost importance, so the University has made available a set of resources and guidance to help support you.
The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity team have launched a webpage with practical tips and advice on managing your mental health during this time. Each section is available in text and video format, with topics including working and studying from home, maintaining a healthy routine and staying connected with others.
The Yellow Book (log in with your university credentials) contains a wealth of tools for students and staff – in text and audio format – to help you manage your response to stress using a range of different methods, including breathing exercises, spoken affirmations and creative activities.
I usually have rest breaks/extra time in examinations, how will this work now?
You should have received an individual email setting out the planned adjustments for your exams, but the arrangements are summarised below.
Students with extra time allowed for Reasonable Adjustments will have this extra time added to the normal exam paper time, plus the additional 1 hour described above. Please note that this will only be applicable to the open book short window exams.
Likewise, where applicable, additional time for rest breaks will be added to the total time allowed for the assessment. Rest breaks are taken during formal exams in the form of 30 or 60 minutes breaks. We would advise you to take these as you need within the recommended additional time you have been allocated.
I have a scribe or other human assistance during my exams, what support can I access?
Due to the change to remote assessment, we have contacted students individually to let them know the arrangements we are planning for your exams and these may be different to the adjustments that may have previously been recommended for you.
I am usually allowed the use of a computer when taking my exams. Will this still be available to me?
As we are working remotely, it is assumed that students will have access to appropriate technology and online facilities, and we have asked students who have any concerns about this to contact us well in advance of the exam period
If you have any concerns about access to suitable IT facilities, please contact email@example.com urgently to speak to an adviser in Student Support and Advice.
Who can I contact to discuss support or adjustments?
We would like to be able to support students in accessing scheduled assessments at the times allocated. If you need support from an adviser, then please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe the adjustments made have not proved to be adequate for your needs and feel that you have been negatively impacted, you can submit a claim for mitigating circumstances.