No Detriment FAQs

We recognise the significant impact of COVID-19 on all students’ ability to fulfil their potential. For this reason, we have been working hard with the University to introduce a ‘no detriment’ policy for all assessments undertaken during this period. It’s generated a few questions, so we produced FAQs, alongside the University’s.

In summary, ‘no detriment’ involves creating a performance benchmark and applying generic mitigating circumstances.

As always, our BSU Support team are on hand for support and tailored advice:

Last update: 12 June

Academic appeal: a formal request you can submit to the University to ask them to reconsider a decision they have made in relation to degree classification, progression or a module mark, among other areas. If you are thinking about appealing, BSU Support Service can assist you by offering advice and guidance:

Academic misconduct: a serious assessment offence. Some examples include collusion, plagiarism and cheating on an examination. Some outcomes of this procedure are a mark of zero for the piece of work or entire module, a deferral or referral.

Capped: you will be capped at the pass mark, even if you achieve a higher score.

Deferral: a further attempt at an assessment or a new assessment in place of the original one, which is NOT capped at the pass mark.

Extension to deadline: a process that enables you to request a revised deadline, either beforehand or retrospectively, up to two weeks after the deadline has passed. If you experience an unexpected issue that you believe can be rectified quickly so that you are eventually able to submit your work, you can apply for an extension through your course leader and you do not need to provide any supporting evidence.

Generic mitigation: one of the components of the no detriment policy, which grants you deferrals and extensions, without supporting evidence. All students will receive this, even if their course is governed by a regulatory body which prevents performance benchmarking.

Late submission: a penalty is applied to work that is submitted after the deadline set and where an extension request has not been submitted. To avoid this, you must request an extension through your course leader, as detailed above.

Mitigating circumstances: This procedure is normally reserved for unforeseen general personal issues that negatively impact on your ability to study, submit an assessment or complete an examination. Students will usually apply for this where they are experiencing a longer-term difficulty and an extension is not sufficient. However, as a result of COVID-19, the no detriment policy is providing mitigation to all students, without them having to apply for it or provide supporting evidence, as is normally the case.

If you submitted a mitigation circumstances form before COVID-19, you will have been required to provide evidence from an independent source, including a doctor or counsellor, and your application would have been considered by the relevant board under the normal procedures. If during COVID-19 you have experienced an issue outside the remit of coronavirus, generic mitigation will provide you with the full range of options available, which is why you do not need to submit an application, but if you have concerns, please get in touch with the BSU Support Service:

No detriment: a new policy in response to COVID-19, which has suspended the University’s General Examination and Assessment Regulations for Taught Courses (GEAR) and will now govern degree award and progression decisions. It consists of 2 components: 1) generic mitigation and 2) individual performance benchmarking. It applies to assessments submitted after March 5.

Non-attempt: non-submission of assessment work.

Progression: an exam board decision on whether you can proceed to the next stage of your course. Where you have been told you are unable to progress to the next level, you may be asked to repeat modules the following year or leave the University.

Pass mark: 40% for an undergraduate assessment or 50% for a postgraduate assessment.

Performance benchmark: the second component of no detriment that is defined as your individual achievement, which your upcoming marks are benchmarked against. This will take the form of a weighted average of your semester 1 marks if you have accumulated 40 credits or more during that period OR as a combination of your average from semester 1, in addition to your year average from the previous year, where you have not accumulated 40 credits in your first semester.

Referral: a further attempt at an assessment or a new assessment in place of it, which IS capped at the pass mark.

Stage of study: the year or level you are currently enrolled on as part of your course. For instance, if you are a second-year undergraduate student, you would be on level 5.

Uncapped:you will be awarded a mark within the full range of marks available (i.e. 0 – 100).

Weighted average: your performance benchmark will be reflected as a weighted average of all the assessments you have completed up to March 5. Therefore, the marks you obtain are going to contribute to your benchmark proportionatelyto their credit value.

This is a new policy for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses that have temporarily changed some University policies to make sure that students are not academically disadvantaged by the impact of COVID-19 in any assessment submitted after 5th March 2020.

Essentially, the University realises that this has been a really difficult time for all students, both personally and academically, and they want to give you the best chance of succeeding so that you do not miss out on being able to achieve your potential.

The no detriment policy consists of two main elements:

  1. Generic mitigation: If you fail a module you will be given another attempt, as if it were your first attempt, meaning the mark will be uncapped. If you are already on your second or third attempt, the mark will be capped.
  2. Performance benchmarking: A ‘benchmark’ average of marks you previously achieved (pre-COVID-19). This will make sure that marks you receive for work submitted after March 5 doesn’t fall below your average before the 5th March, when the pandemic started.

The University have applied generic mitigation in recognition of the fact that all students will have experienced disruption this year due to COIVD-19. This means all students will automatically have “mitigating circumstances” applied.

Mitigating circumstances is the procedure for a student who believes that their ability to study has been negatively impacted by their personal circumstances. Ordinarily, this requires completing a form and submitting evidence. Under the “no detriment” policy, this will not be necessary for any work submitted after 5th March.

This means everyone will automatically be granted a deferral if they fail a module. Through a deferral, you will be allowed to retake the assessment, normally during the summer period. If you fail at your first attempt, you will be granted a further attempt, as if it were a first attempt, without being capped at 40%. If you are already on your second or third attempt, the mark will be capped at 40%.

If you are unable to submit on time, you will be granted an extension through the regular process by requesting it from your Course Leader, with no supporting evidence required.

Performance benchmarking is an individual calculation made for each student based on your marks from previous passed modules before 5th March. Your module marks that you receive after March 5 will not be allowed to fall below your benchmark.

The two models of calculation are listed below.

There are two main approaches as all modules are different in how and when they are assessed. The one that applies to you will depend on the course you are studying. All students should have received an email from their course leader explaining which one will apply.

Model A

For students who have received more than 40 credits in 19/20 before 5th March:

Weighted average of your year assessment marks before 5th March

Model B

For students who have not received 40 credits in 19/20 before 5th March:

Weighted average of your year assessment marks before 5th March + weighted average from previous year.

Flow chart of performance benchmarking

Originally, there was consideration for benchmarking to be based on the achievement of previous cohorts, but this has been changed following feedback.

It will not be applied to failed modules (the failed attempt will not be counted, meaning you will be allowed to repeat these in a further, uncapped attempt unless you are already on your second or third attempt, in which case the marks will be capped). It will also not apply where the professional, statutory or regulatory body won’t allow it. Your school will let you know if this applies to you.
This may prevent the no detriment approach from being applied in full and we urge you to contact your Course Leader to gain further information about whether individual performance benchmarking will be applied. If it is not, all courses will receive the first component of no detriment: generic mitigation.
The University’s generic mitigation will still apply. That means you will be granted further uncapped attempts at assessments you have not passed, as long as you are not already on your second or third attempt.
The benchmark will be applied at a later stage in your time at the University once you have been awarded 40 credits or more. You will still be able to move to your next stage of study (year), as long as you have passed each module you have attempted during semester 1. Your benchmarks will be calculated at a future date once you have achieved enough credits to perform the calculations.
The University has said that it will formally notify you of your individual performance benchmark when you receive your end-of-year results after marks have been confirmed (ratified) by examination boards. You will see your benchmark published alongside your results on your transcript.
Your course leader will be able to assist you in estimating your benchmark, but you mustn't rely on this. You should await the confirmed results of the exam board.
If this is the case, you will receive the higher marks awarded. The no detriment benchmarking is to make sure that you don’t get penalised for having lower marks.
No detriment will be applied at the module level. If your module mark is lower than your benchmark, the mark will be increased to the benchmark.

For example:

Let’s say your individual performance benchmark is 60%.

For modules after the 5th March...

You receive a module mark lower than your benchmark, such as a 55%. Your overall mark for the module will be adjusted so that you are awarded your benchmark of 60% for that module.


You receive a module mark higher than your benchmark, such as a 70%. You will keep the 70% as this is higher than your benchmarked grade.

These marks will then be used to determine degree classification and progression decisions.

The models outlined above are meant to ensure a rigorous approach to calculating each student’s individual performance benchmark. If you do not agree with your benchmark or believe you would have received a higher score even after application of no detriment, we would encourage you to contact your course leader in the first instance. If this does not resolve your issue you can contact the BSU Support team:

They can offer advice and guidance, in addition to exploring the options available to you, which may include filing an academic appeal. This serves as a formal request to the University, which means you can ask an Examination Board to reconsider its decision in relation to progression, degree classification, a module score or the mark for a single assessment. It should be noted however, the University’s regulations do not allow students to challenge academic judgment. If you wish to do this, please speak with the BSU Support team who will explore other possibilities with you.

Yes. Assessments need to be passed for the statistical no detriment approach to be applied (the University will not apply performance benchmarking to a failed module).

If you are unsuccessful in your first attempt, you will be given a ‘deferral’, meaning you can retry the assessment during the summer assessment period. This will still be considered your first attempt and won’t be capped at 40%.

If you fail the summer re-sit attempt, then you will be given a further chance at the assessment. This further assessment will still be considered the same numbered attempt, e.g. first attempt during semester two failed, summer re-sit failed, further attempt will still be considered your first attempt.

If you have failed the first attempt before 5th March (e.g. during semester 1) you may be asked to re-sit the assessment in the summer. This attempt will be your second or third and will be ‘capped’ at the pass mark.

The mark will remain capped as it happened before the impact of COVID-19. Your next attempt will remain your second or third attempt.

Please do not worry. There are several options available. As part of the generic mitigation, you will be granted a deferral if you are unable to submit to enable you to complete your assessment during the summer period. If you are unable to complete deferral work during the summer, the September examination boards will grant repeats, with or without attendance, which they have clarified will also be uncapped. The exception to this is when a student is already on their second or third attempt, so their next attempt will be capped.

We recognise that for some of you, particularly those with caring responsibilities and student parents, these provisions may not be enough to ensure you can successfully complete your assessments. If you are experiencing difficulties and would like to discuss this further, we encourage you to reach out to your SSGT for bespoke advice and guidance or to BSU Support Service.

You still need to do your best to submit your work on time to prevent a delay in decisions relating to progression and degree award conferment. An extension request will prevent you from being penalised for late submission of work, so we encourage you to apply for one.

If you know in advance that you cannot submit on time. Please request a further extension from your course leader to avoid a late penalty. You do not need to provide any evidence to support your request.

If you don’t know in advance, or don’t apply for an extension in time. It is preferable that you submit this request before the deadline, but you can also do so up until two weeks after the submission deadline by contacting your course leader. No evidence would be required.

Considering the challenges caused by COVID-19, this will now be accepted as a valid reason for an extension and you will not need to provide evidence when you submit your request. You need to email your Course Leader explaining the problems you’ve had.

You don’t need to. The no detriment policy already applies to all the provisions that would normally be granted for an individual mitigating circumstances claim i.e. extensions, uncapped deferrals and capped referrals.

If you still believe that your individual circumstances are not met, for instance, if your learning support plan adjustments have been affected and you wish to complain, please contact BSU Support Service at

We have raised this point with the University and are awaiting further clarification on whether a student will be able to retake their assessment if they pass the first attempt and wish to improve upon their performance.

Yes, all appropriate adjustments will be made for a student who is eligible for specific provisions during the alternative assessment period. No student should be disadvantaged.

If you are experiencing any challenges in relation to a specific provision, please contact the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Team at Learning Support Coordinators are available for a 1:1 appointment via Microsoft Teams to further assist you.

The no detriment policy is aimed at trying to relieve some of the pressure, however, there will still be students who want to get some additional support and advice. We are still very much here for you.

Our BSU Support team continue to work hard to support students throughout this time. If you require bespoke advice, please get in touch with them via email at

Yes, for all postgraduate taught degrees. However, it does not apply to postgraduate research students. For further information on doctoral research degrees, please see these FAQs and get in touch with the Doctoral College Team if you require any further information.
Yes. However, if you have not completed sufficient assessment credits, the University will not be able to calculate a benchmark for you now. It will be provisional for the time being and will then be applied at a later point in your degree, once you have completed enough credits. This will not prevent you from progressing to the next level if you pass this stage.
Yes. The approach applies to you if you are studying a University of Brighton accredited degree at one of the University’s Partner Colleges and you should have received communication from your College confirming this.

The no detriment formula calculation will not be applied if you have failed your assessments or modules. Instead, you will be given another attempt to pass – a deferral, as if it was your first time taking the assessments (unless you are already on your second or third attempt, meaning the mark for a further attempt will be capped).

Once you have successfully passed each module, you will then receive a benchmark and the no detriment calculation will be applied.

The University has indicated the cut off point for no detriment is September 2020 and we are seeking further clarification for students in relation to what happens if they continue to fail beyond this point, even after being given deferrals for modules they have not passed.

We have raised this question with the University, who are exploring it to determine what happens in this scenario in terms of working out a benchmark, in addition to points relating to deferrals and referrals and a student being able to submit mitigating circumstances on why the malpractice may have occurred.