Loughborough Undergraduate Student Safety Net 2020/21

Please note: This information relates to the 2020/21 academic year. Details on the Undergraduate Student Safety net for the 2019/20 academic year can be found here.

The Loughborough Undergraduate Safety Net is for all students and ensures consistency, equity and fairness.

We have already committed to:

  • ensuring nothing that we do disadvantages a student in respect of their degree outcome; giving students the opportunity to undertake online assessments to demonstrate their learning, progress to the next year of study with confidence (if applicable) and graduate with a degree which they can be proud of;
  • upholding the standards of Loughborough University, as required by our regulatory bodies, and ensure that employers will continue to recognise the quality of your degrees.

The Loughborough Safety Net is designed to help all students, in a consistent way, ensuring everyone is treated fairly given the changes to assessment and moderation, this year.

Please note that the Loughborough Safety Nets were used successfully during the 2019/20 academic year and ensured students were not disadvantaged by the impact of the pandemic. Therefore, we plan to roll the Safety Nets forwards for 2020/21.

Some small changes have been made to reflect the fact that Semester 2 last year (2019/20) was very severely affected by the sudden and unplanned closure of the University’s campuses in March as the Coronavirus situation escalated.

This academic year we have largely been able to plan in advance for any changes required to the delivery of teaching in Semester 1, with examinations previously scheduled to be online, and the University’s campuses have been allowed to remain open.

Please note that the Safety Nets were put in place in early December to ensure that we continue to do all we can to support our students to succeed.

Our absolute priorities are two-fold. First, to ensure students can meet the learning outcomes of their programmes and either progress to the next year of their studies, or for finalists to graduate within broadly a similar timeframe this academic year. Second, to maintain standards so that your qualification is a true reflection of your ability and continues to be recognised by employers and others for its academic credibility and value.

We are aware that the national situation since the beginning of the Christmas break in respect of Covid-19 will have presented additional challenges. Therefore, we absolutely guarantee that we will keep the Safety Nets under review as the national situation develops, including Safety Net 4 for those students graduating this year. In particular, we will take into account how the national situation may impact on Semester 2 this year, and will, if appropriate, make additional modifications once the picture is clearer in the coming weeks.

How the Safety Net works

Safety Net 1

Marks for every module will be reviewed and adjusted if necessary

We will examine the marks for every module this year (all parts – not just finalists) and compare them to those for the three years prior to 2019/20 (before Covid-19). If necessary, we will adjust the marks to ensure that they are consistent with these three years to take into account the situation this year, and to ensure that pass marks reflect that students have achieved the module learning outcomes being assessed. Note – Where modules are new or have significant changes this year, they will be adjusted in the light of performance on similar types of modules at the same level.

Safety Net 2

Students who claim mitigating circumstances can have these taken into account

Any student can continue to claim Mitigating Circumstances in the usual way if their situation presents particular difficulties which we have not been able to adequately address in advance working with them. All claims will be viewed fairly and sympathetically.

You need to explain the impact of the circumstances on your studies in as much detail as you can. You should provide supporting evidence if you are able to, but we recognise this might not be possible in some cases and please do submit the claim anyway. Please check out the further details for examples and support.

Safety Net 3

Overall grades for cohorts will be consistent with those in the three years prior to 2019/20 (before Covid-19)

We will examine the overall outcome for the cohort of students in every year on every programme, and ensure that the marks are consistent with those obtained, in the three years before Covid-19. Note – Where degree programmes are new or have significant changes this year, they will be adjusted in the light of performance on similar types of programmes at the same level.

Safety Net 4

Safety Net 4 commits us to looking at the degree outcome for each individual student extremely carefully. We will do this.

There is an additional process in place to take account of the disruption from the last academic year when determining degree classifications – we applied this last year and agreed that we would follow it through this year so that continuing students who took Part B/(non-finalists Part C) last year would be treated fairly compared to those who graduated last year (2019/20), hence why this is mentioned explicitly.

In our reviews we have also considered the effects on students who have returned to the University into Part C or D, who were on placement last year (Part I) whose studies on campus were not directly impacted in Semester 2 2019/20.

We are aware that the national situation since the beginning of the Christmas break in respect of Covid-19 will have presented additional challenges. Therefore, we absolutely guarantee that we will keep Safety Net 4 under review for those students graduating this year. In particular, we will take into account how the national situation may impact on Semester 2 this year and will, if appropriate, make additional modifications once the picture is clearer in the coming weeks.

Degree outcomes for finalists will take into account disruption to studies in Semester 2 2019/20*

We will calculate two potential degree marks. The first mark will be based on credit obtained from all Part B, C and D modules except those completed in Semester 2 2019/20 and relevant weightings for each Part of the programme. The second mark will be calculated in the standard way and include Semester 2 2019/20 results. The student will receive whichever degree mark results in the higher degree classification. The marks obtained will show on the degree transcript.

For Safety Net 4 to kick in, please note that all students must satisfy the University’s General Regulations (Regulation XX) for the award of undergraduate degrees and any additional requirements in their Programme Specifications.

If a student does not satisfy the University’s General Regulations (Regulation XX) for the award of undergraduate degrees after any mitigating circumstances have been taken into account, as applicable, then opportunities for reassessment will be provided in line with our normal procedures to enable them to gain the necessary credit.

Example 1

Ben took Part B in 2019/20. In Semester 1 Part B 2019/20, Ben gained 60 credits from completed modules with a weighted average mark of 64%. In Semester 2 Part B 2019/20, he gained a further 60 credits for which his weighted average mark was 56%.

His overall Part B mark including all credits is therefore 60%. His degree weighting is 25:75, Part B:Part C.

This year, 2020/21, Ben gains 120 credits in his Part C modules with an overall Part C mark of 68%.

Degree calculation 1, based on Part B modules completed in Semester 1 2019/20 only and his Part C modules is: (0.25*64) + (0.75*68) = 67.0%, which would give him a 2(i) with the 1st  / 2(i) boundary at 70%

Degree calculation 2, based on all of Part B and all of Part C is: (0.25*60) + (0.75*68) = 66.0%, which would give him a 2(i) with the 1st  / 2(i) boundary at 70%

He has 240 credits from Parts B and C and satisfies General Regulations, so Safety Net 4 applies. The two degree calculations result in the same overall degree classification and therefore Ben is awarded a 2(i).

Example 2

Leah took Part B in 2019/20. In Semester 1 Part B, they gained 40 credits from completed modules and had a weighted average mark of 72%. In Semester 2 Part B, they gained a further 80 credits for which their weighted average mark was 66%. Their overall mark last year across all of Part B was therefore 68%.

This year, 2020/21, Leah gains 120 credits in their Part C modules with an overall Part C mark of 70%.

Their degree weighting is 40:60, Part B:Part C.

Degree calculation 1, based on Part B modules completed in Semester 1 2019/20 only and their Part C modules is: (0.4*72) + (0.6*70) = 70.8%, which would give them a 1st with the 1st  / 2(i) boundary at 70%

Degree calculation 2, based on all of Part B and all of Part C is: (0.4*68) + (0.6*70) = 69.2%, which would give them a 2(i) with the 1st  / 2(i) boundary at 70%

Leah has 240 credits from Parts B and C and satisfies General Regulations so Safety Net 4 applies and they are awarded a 1st based on Degree calculation 1. 

Safety Net 4 for Continuing Students

For Part A students, marks obtained this year are not used in degree calculations and therefore Safety Net 4 does not apply. This year, Safety Nets 1-3 and the normal progression requirements for your programme apply.

For Part B students who took Part A in 2019/20, the marks obtained in Part A are not used in degree calculations and therefore Safety Net 4 does not apply. Likewise, for students who took Part I in 2019/20, activity undertaken in Part I does not impact upon degree calculations. This year, Safety Nets 1-3 and the normal progression requirements for your programme apply.

For those students currently in Part I or Part C of an undergraduate Masters programme where marks from Semester 2 2019/20 count towards final degrees (or students continuing in Part B who also took Part B modules in Semester 2 2019/20), this year Safety Nets 1-3 and the normal progression requirements for your programme apply. However, the disruption to studies in Semester 2 2019/2020 will be further considered at final exam boards in future years in the same quantitative way as above.

We will continue to keep the disruption in 2020/21 under review, and if it is appropriate to make any changes to Safety Net 4 later in the academic year, these will be applied for continuing students in future years as appropriate.

I am on the Foundation Studies programme. What do I need to do to progress?

Please note that this section does not apply to students on the Art and Design Foundation Studies programme, which is a separate programme. Students on the Art and Design Foundation Studies programme will receive separate direct communications from their programme team.

This year Safety Nets 1-3 and the normal progression requirements apply. Additional flexibility may be applied at the Programme Board to support students’ progress to degree programmes this year.