Coronavirus

City has published updated advice for its students and staff on the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Latest information for students and staff

Last updated: 11 Nov 2020 9:55am

Student guide to assessments

Purpose of this guide

We recognise that this is a challenging time for you. We want to support you each step of the way in engaging in your revised assessments. Where you are unable to engage, we also want to support you getting back on track.Your School and programme team will provide you with information about your revised assessments and assessment schedule. The purpose of this guide is to provide one institutional level point of reference for information you need to know about supporting the assessment process.

Status of this guide in relation to professional bodies

Many of our programmes have Professional Body accreditation. In these instances, this means that that the content of your assessment may be prescribed by that body and that the rules and regulations around it will be different to that set out by the University. Where your programme has professional body accreditation, it is the information provided to you at programme level on rules and regulations that is your definitive guide to your assessments.

Supporting you through your assessments

We understand that a move to alternative assessments, and different arrangements to face-to-face examinations, is a change to what you were expecting and it may be challenging for some students. The University is committed to supporting you during this time. There are a number of sources of support that we are providing remotely, and additional sources we have put in place.

Please note the following in particular:

Religious observance during exams and assessments

We recognise that the changes to teaching and assessment caused by Covid-19 may have an impact on students’ religious observances. In general, we consider that the move to teaching online and the suspension of the main exam period (4 May – 28 May) and the move to alternative forms of assessment should enable more flexibility in students’ schedules to balance their religious observance with their studies.

Students may apply for extensions to coursework if required. Where alternative forms of assessment remain in the form of an exam, the 24 hour period exists to allow all students to engage with the assessment, whatever their circumstances, such as time zone and also including religious observance.

Students may use the Supporting Academic Success process to notify us of the impact Covid-19 is having on their studies if they need to.

My assessments

What approach is City taking to assessments for the rest of 2019-20, including a second assessment period?

The University published the approach it was taking to assessments on 3rd April for each year of UG study (which can be accessed here) and PGT study (which can be accessed here).

With the May exams and assessments now complete for many of you and underway for others, here is an update on the next steps of the assessment process:

Following your assessment and exams, your marks will be agreed by an Assessment Board, taking the Assessment and Safety Net Principles into account where we’re not constrained by Professional Body requirements, to ensure your performance is not unfairly impacted by changes required from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assessment Boards are held by each School to ensure Assessment Regulations are applied consistently and fairly for all students. Their role is to consider and agree marks, taking the recommendations of all relevant panels into account (this includes Preliminary Assessments Panels, Extenuating Circumstances Panels, Supporting Your Academic Success outcomes, Academic Misconduct Panels, Fitness to Practise Panels, Fitness to Study Panels and other advisory panels as applicable).

The Boards have the final say on marks, aside from those already reviewed by a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB), which the Board will make no changes to. All marks released to you prior to Assessment Boards are provisional.

You can find further information on Assessment Boards on the Student Hub.

-The Assessment Board decisions will be sent to you by your School.

The agreed results are verified and signed-off and then subsequently released by your School.

You can find further information about marks and assessments on the awards page on the Student Hub.

-You will have the right to appeal your marks

Students have the right to appeal against a decision of the Assessment Board on one or both of the following grounds:

  • that there was a material error, either in the conduct of the assessment itself, or in the proceedings of the Assessment Board, which affected the Assessment Board’s decision.
  • that the student was subject to previously undisclosed extenuating circumstances at the time of the assessment.

For full details on appeals please see our Student Appeals Policy and Senate Regulations 20 and 20b.

How will I find out what my revised assessments are?

Schools are now in a position to start sharing information about your remaining assessments for this 2019-20 academic year for both undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

How do I find out my assessment schedule?

You can access the timetable for online exam-type assessments on the exam timetable page.

Your School will be in touch with more information about any exam-type assessments which fall outside of this period and alternative assessments such as coursework.

The examination timetable is subject to change. Please make sure you check the timetable carefully and regularly before your assessment(s).

How can or will I get my transcript and degree certificate?

Transcripts

City is now in a position to generate professional transcripts remotely. If you are a final year student, you are able to download your transcript from e-vision once your results have been released.

Please contact your Course Officer if you are a continuing student and you require an interim transcript.

Degree Certificates

The University has already communicated that unfortunately it is not possible for graduation to go ahead in July. We would like to reassure you that this does not impact on the awarding of your degree. Provided you meet the requirements of your course, your degree will be conferred by the University’s Senate and we anticipate that you will receive your degree certificate by post in late September.

The dispatch of certificates is dependent on the University reopening again. We would ask for your patience here while we start to reoccupy the campus. However, if you have an urgent requirement for a certificate before late September, please contact graduation@city.ac.uk

We anticipate sending out your degree certificate in early September.

Where can I find information about academic integrity and good academic practice?

In undertaking your remaining assessments, please re-read the information in your Programme Handbooks about good academic practice as well as what is meant by academic misconduct. If you are uncertain about what any of this means in relation to your revised assessments, please ask your Programme team.

How do I make a complaint or ask for a refund to my tuition fees?

Teaching, learning and assessment are continuing. We are therefore not anticipating that refunds of tuition fees due to Covid-19. This is in line with UK Government advice which has stated that students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support.

However, we recognise the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on your studies. We also recognise that for some students, this latest impact is in addition to teaching and assessments affected by industrial action.

If you wish to make a complaint now then you are of course entitled to, and you should follow the University’s Complaints Procedure. Please note that in light of the situation in which the University is operating, there will necessarily be an adjustment to timeframes for handling any complaint. You are advised to consider the following points to assist us in addressing your concerns in a timely manner:

Please make clear in what way you believe the University has not fulfilled its responsibilities to you as a result of Covid-19, providing details of the modules and why you believe the teaching delivered was not adequate;

Please explain how you think you have been adversely affected and why you feel that the mitigating actions taken by the University have not been adequate;

Please provide an indication of the action you seek from the University.

Have there been any changes to the Academic Misconduct process?

The University continues to take academic misconduct very seriously and seeks at all times to rigorously protect its academic standards. The Academic Integrity & Misconduct Policy and Guidance remains in place at this time and the process for investigating cases of academic misconduct has not been changed.

Students are expected to uphold academic integrity and good academic practice at all times by demonstrating behavior that is honest and ethical in all of their academic work. This includes submitting work which is your own and ensuring you reference sources correctly throughout your assessments.

What happens if I am suspected of committing Academic Misconduct?

If you are suspected of committing Academic Misconduct including collusion, contract cheating and impersonation, an investigation will take place and sanctions may apply as outlined within our Academic Integrity & Misconduct Policy and Guidance.

We are aware that remote assessments and online exams may be more vulnerable to academic misconduct (i.e. cheating) but the University will continue to hold a zero tolerance policy.

The University will guard against this through use of the TurnItIn Plagiarism Detection Service, which searches the web and databases of reference material and content submitted by other students to identify duplicated work. The Service provides evidence about the origin and consistency of a student’s submitted work that can be used to confirm academic misconduct.

The consequences of cheating are serious and could lead to the failure of your assessment or in cases of Severe Academic Misconduct expulsion from the University.

How do I avoid 'Contract Cheating'?

With the increased response to COVID-19 there has been a notable spike in aggressive contract cheating marketing. To stay aware of what this is and how to avoid it here is a definition from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Guidance:

'Contract cheating' happens when a third party completes work for a student who then submits it to an education provider as their own, where such input is not permitted. It is distinct from collusion, as the student contracts the third party to provide the assessment, usually a company or individual using a website to promote themselves and receive orders.

This is a form of cheating where a student submits work to a higher education provider for assessment, where they have used one or more of a range of services provided by a third party, and such input is not permitted. The contract with the student can include payment or other favours, but this is not always the case:

  • 'Services' may include essays or other types of assignments, conducting research, impersonation in exams and other forms of unfair assistance for completing assessed work.
  • 'Third parties' include web-based companies or auction sites (essay mills), sharing websites (including essay banks), or an individual such as a lecturer, colleague, friend or relative.
  • 'Input' means that the third party makes a contribution to the work of the student, such that there is reasonable doubt as to whose work the assessment represents.

(Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education, How to Address Contract Cheating, the Use of Third-Party Services and Essay Mills, October 2017)

The consequences of cheating are serious and could lead to the failure of your assessment or in cases of Severe Academic Misconduct expulsion from the University. You can find more information through our Academic Integrity & Misconduct Policy and Guidance and you can find guidance for citing and referencing your work correctly on the Library Services website.

I have received a sanction for Academic Misconduct on my assessment but I have an undisclosed Supporting Your Academic Success or Extenuating Circumstances form that relates to that work - what can I do?

Where Academic Misconduct has been confirmed and a sanction applied you may have the right to appeal due to an undisclosed Supporting Your Academic Success or Extenuating Circumstances form. This means that your assessment was affected by circumstances beyond your control. However, at the time, you were unable to inform us of this circumstance via the e:Vision Extenuating Circumstances process (LPC & BPTC students only) or via the Supporting Your Academic Success process (all other students).

In this instance in order to inform us of your undisclosed situation, you would need to appeal the sanction following the Student Appeals Process. You can find full details on the Student Appeals Policy and Guidance here.

Please note that you should still complete the e:Vision Extenuating Circumstances process (LPC & BPTC students only) or the Supporting Your Academic Success process (all other students) in order to inform us of how you may have been impacted or how other assessments will be impacted. For the assessment with Academic Misconduct sanctions, you must follow the Student Appeals Process provided in the link above.

My marks

What approach is City taking to a ‘no detriment’ or ‘safety net’ policy for undergraduate students?

For undergraduate students, where we are not constrained by Professional Body requirements, we will implement a ‘safety net’ policy.

Our safety net policy is the same or similar to the one most universities have adopted. In short, if you do better than your average in assessments after 16th March, your average and degree classification can only improve. The policy means that the results of assessments taken after 16th March will not negatively affect your degree classification.

There are two key points to understand about the policy

  1. A 16th March date has been identified as a fair cut off point when face to face teaching ceased.
  2. You must successfully pass your summer assessments and the academic year overall in order for the safety net policy to be applied.

SHS and Law

For certain programmes in SHS and Law there have been insufficient completed assessments for the standard safety net policy to apply. If you are on such a programme you will be contacted by your School with details of how your safety net will be calculated.

Calculating the average

The calculation is not straightforward to explain.

Usually we calculate your credit-weighted mean average based on the summative assessments you have undertaken: typically 120 credits for a BA/BSc programme. We have aimed to maintain the principles of our existing progression and award rules in so far as we can with an incomplete set of assessment results. We consider that the safety net policy at the level of the credit-weighted mean that extends to 16 March 2020 to be, on balance, the fairest approach to assess students’ performance.

The safety net is a measure of your overall performance so far, and therefore is suitable for comparison with the credit-weighted stage (or academic year) overall mean average.

Assessment Boards will have this information to inform decision making and is an additional measure to ensure no student should be disadvantaged with the changes we have needed to make to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic.

To repeat, so long as you qualify to complete the 2019/20 academic year, completing your summer assessments can only help and not hinder you.

Two worked examples are included here for those who wish to understand how the policy operates.

What approach is City taking to a ‘no detriment’ or ‘safety net’ policy for postgraduate students?

For postgraduate students, where we are not constrained by Professional Body requirements, we will implement a ‘safety net’ policy.

The calculation is not straightforward to explain in general terms without reference to the specifics of your programme. However, the overriding institutional principle is as follows: for all postgraduate students who pass their current stage, the modified stage average should be the maximum of the average of their marks for assessments completed in terms not affected by COVID-19 and of their original stage average.

In other words, a safety net average will be calculated based on assessments that were completed in terms that were unaffected by COVID-19. Your final stage average can only improve through completing your remaining modules and the dissertation.

There are two key points to emphasise about the policy:

  1. Stage will have different meanings in the context of particular programmes, when you started and whether you are studying full time. Your Programme team will outline the approach to be taken for you in due course
  2. You must successfully complete your current stage in order for the safety net policy to be applied.

SHS and Law

For certain programmes in SHS and Law there have been insufficient completed assessments for the standard safety net policy to apply. If you are on such a programme you will be contacted by your School with details of how your safety net will be calculated.

Calculating the average

Usually we calculate your credit-weighted mean average based on the summative assessments you have undertaken: typically 180 credits for a MA or MSc programme, including a 60 credit dissertation. We have aimed to maintain the principles of our existing award rules in so far as we can with an incomplete set of assessment results. The safety net is a measure of your overall performance so far, and therefore suitable for comparison with the credit-weighted stage (or academic year) overall mean average.

Assessment Boards will have this information to inform decision making and is an additional measure to ensure no student should be disadvantaged with the changes we have needed to make to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To repeat, so long as you qualify to complete the current stage of your programme so far, completing your summer assessments can only help and not hinder you.

Two worked examples are included here for those who wish to understand how the policy operates.

What if I cannot do my assessments in the August period due to Covid-19 or other circumstances?

Where these circumstances will prevent you from undertaking your assessment in the August period, we ask you to let us know through the ‘Supporting your Academic Success’ process. A further attempt will be available to you later in 2020-21 academic year as a first attempt (i.e. your mark will not be capped at the minimum pass mark) . It is currently expected that these later assessments will take the same format as the August second assessments (i.e. they will not be face-to-face exams).

With the exception of the BPTC and LPC Law programmes, this process has replaced Extenuating Circumstances for the remainder of the 2019-20 assessment period, including any reassessment periods we schedule. This is a self-declaration process, where we ask students to notify us where they are having challenges that are impacting on their assessments. No evidence is required to support the request. More information can be found here.

Students on the BPTC and LPC programmes should continue to use the existing deferral and extenuating circumstances processes.  Further guidance will be sent to you by your School

When will I get my marks back?

We are committed to providing students with marks on their completed assessments as soon as is reasonably possible in the current circumstances. Your programme team will provide you with more information in due course.

When will I get my marks back for the August exam period?

We are committed to providing students with marks on their completed assessments as soon as is reasonably possible in the current circumstances. Your programme team will provide you with more information in due course.

I am a final year student -when will I know what degree classification I have?

We recognise that final year students will be keen to receive their degree results as soon as possible after the assessment period/s. Results will be made available on a programme by programme basis and your programme team will be able to provide you with more information about this during the coming weeks. There may be a brief delay in instances where staff are unable to engage in marking due to the current pandemic.  Your programme team will keep you updated.

Will there be resits for assessments taken before we moved to on-line learning?

Yes. A resit period will take place during the summer (dates and schedule to be confirmed). It is currently expected that the assessments will take the same format as the revised summer assessments (i.e. they will not be face-to-face exams).

Taking examinations online

I am worried about being assessed in examinations online - what should I do?

There is some specific practical guidance created by the Academic Learning Support Team that you can access here, which we hope is helpful. If you have concerns that are not answered in that guidance, please contact your Programme Director.

I do not have the appropriate IT equipment or a suitable internet connection to study and complete assessments online/remotely - what should I do?

We are extremely aware that for some students the transition to studying remotely and online learning and assessments may have introduced particular challenges due to the requirement for a suitable internet access or IT facilities. Where you have been given an assessment task that you are unable to complete because of these challenges, please contact your Programme Director or Course Officer in the first instance. Your School will also be writing to all students shortly about these possible challenges. We will want to support you in these circumstances and discuss options to enable your progress.

Where students are having difficulties with existing City IT software and services or connectivity issue to contact the IT service desk on 020 7040 8181 for advice (international: +44 2070408181), or log a request via the IT service desk.

I’m in a different time-zone – how will online/remote assessments work for me?

Alternative assessments in the form of an exam will be offered in a 24 hour period unless you are informed otherwise by your programme. This timescale has been put in place to enable students to complete the examinations at a suitable time, wherever you may be, and in case of any unexpected technical issues. The 24 hour period exists to allow all students to engage with the assessment no matter in which time zone you are living. For clarity, there is no expectation that these assessments should take longer than examinations under usual face-to-face conditions.

For other assessment formats (e.g. coursework), submission deadlines will also be taken into consideration in relation to submission deadlines. Your School and programme team will provide you with further information.

Who can I talk to for advice on my forthcoming alternative assessments?

Your Programme Team will provide you with specific information as needs be, including:

  • The Course Officer for your programme who can advise on the revised assessment structure and timescales.
  • Your Programme Director who can advise you on all programme-matters.
  • You may wish to make contact with your Personal Tutor on your particular circumstances. Your Personal Tutor will be able to provide programme-specific and educational advice and to guide you in the direction of other relevant services and resources.
  • The Student Union Advice Team can also offer independent advice

There is some specific practical guidance here created by the Academic Learning Support Team.

What will happen if I am unable to engage with/complete my assessments due to disruption or sickness relating to coronavirus or supporting others around me?

We want to encourage and enable you to continue your studies until the end of the academic year. Where you are able, you are strongly advised to do so to ensure you pace your assessments well, don’t overload yourself in the coming months, make good progress on your programme, and ultimately graduate on time this year, or in future years.

If you are affected, then please use the ‘Supporting your Academic Success’ process.

With the exception of the BPTC and LPC Law programmes, this process has replaced Extenuating Circumstances for the remainder of the 2019-20 assessment period, including any reassessment periods we schedule. This is a self-declaration process, where we ask students to notify us where they are having challenges that are impacting on their assessments. No evidence is required to support the request. More information can be found here.

Students on the BPTC and LPC programmes should continue to use the existing deferral and extenuating circumstances processes.  Further guidance will be sent to you by your School.

How do I get an extension for a piece of coursework?

Programme Teams may put in place cohort extensions for coursework where this is required. We recognise that some students may also require additional extensions beyond this due to individual circumstances during the coming weeks. In such instances, your Programme Team will let you know how to do this.

Reasonable adjustments

I have existing provision within my Individual Learning Plan with City for additional time or rest breaks, what should I do?

No student eligible for specific provisions within assessments will be disadvantaged. Alternative online examinations in most cases will run over 24 hours. Therefore you should follow the agreed recommendations and arrangements from your Individual Learning Plan. These remain unchanged from the previous assessment period, and there is no need to contact the team that agreed the Plan with you, unless you require further advice. The same plan remains in place for the forthcoming assessments.

However, you will need to self-monitor. For example, if you have a 2 hour exam and would normally receive 15 minute rest breaks, then you should add half an hour within the 24 hour period. There is no expectation that any exam will take the whole period or longer than whatever the duration is plus your agreed adjustments.

I have a specific learning difference, condition or disability registered with one of the Student Mental Health, Counselling, Neurodiversity or Disability teams. What should I do if my agreed adjustments are not appropriate for the alternative assessment?

The teams continue to respond to email enquiries including questions regarding reasonable adjustments for assessments. Please refer to our webpages for up to date advice and information.

I do not have an Individual Support Plan, but I think I need one to be put in place - what should I do?

The deadline for students to have new agreed adjustments in place has passed. In addition, it is not possible to conduct a new full dyslexia assessment remotely. However, it is anticipated that the move to alternative assessments, including 24 hour examinations, will address the majority of required adjustments that a new Individual Support Plan would put in place. There may be exceptions for bespoke adjustments (e.g. visual impairment) or any emergencies. Please contact the relevant team as appropriate.