Safety Net FAQs

Update: 9 February 2021

Your Officers have been working and meeting with the University following the overwhelming feedback regarding your academic performance.

The University has agreed to implement a wide-ranging safety net package for the 20-21 academic year, which extends beyond the original No Detriment policy.

While last year’s policy included generic mitigation, which has been continued, this new policy builds on that. It now also incorporates a mechanism to address unrepresentative performance as well as a new algorithm for degree classifications. We want to ensure you have every chance to fulfil your potential and the measures outlined below are designed to make this possible.

The new safety net package this year has three distinct aspects:

  • Generic mitigation, which enables the following:
    • Provides blanket mitigation for all students – you do not need to apply for this.
    • This means resits are provided without penalty (deferral) for any assessments - you do not pass the first time around.
    • This means if you do not submit or if you fail, you will be given an automatic deferral.
    • You do not need evidence. There has been a relaxation of previous evidence requirement for extension requests.
    • Generic mitigation may not apply to some courses with Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) requirements. You can check with your Course Leader if you are unsure.
       
  • A process to address unrepresentative performance:
    • Unlike generic mitigation which applies to failures and non-submissions, this new process is for students who pass but nonetheless have had their performance impacted by an exceptional factor and would like another attempt, uncapped.
    • This requires an application for mitigating circumstances to be submitted, within 14 days of receiving your official ratified results from the Examination Board.
    • You do need to submit evidence if you can obtain it. If you cannot, then you can explain why.
       
  • A new algorithm governing your degree award classification:
    • The University has committed to implementing a new algorithm governing your degree-awarding classification, which will alter the formula used in normal times to ensure you progress and graduate with marks that reflect these unprecedented circumstances.
    • Further details will be made available once the policy underpinning this algorithm is approved.

This package applies to undergraduate and postgraduate courses but does not apply to postgraduate research degrees, which are governed by different regulations. Generic mitigation may not apply to some courses with PSRB requirements and you can check with your Course Leader if you are unsure if this applies to you.

We know you may still have worries about your academic performance. If you would like to discuss any of this further, please reach out to your SSGT (Student Support Guidance Tutor) or BSU Support Team - bsusupport@brighton.ac.uk.

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: bsusupport@brighton.ac.uk.

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, which needs to be done before the deadline. 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. IT failure is also now grounds for an extension.

Generic mitigation: one of the components of the new safety net package, which grants you deferrals and extensions, without supporting evidence. All students will receive this where possible.

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 generic mitigation aspect of the safety net is providing mitigation to all students, without them having to apply for it or provide supporting evidence, as is normally the case. This applies where you are unable to submit, miss an exam, or do not pass. It may not apply to some courses with PSRB requirements and you can check with your Course Leader if you are unsure if this applies to you.

However, if you have passed an assessment and are making an application for unrepresentative performance, you do need to submit a mitigating circumstances claim, detailed below.

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 or one related to it, the new unrepresentative performance policy will not require you to submit evidence in support of your application if you are unable to obtain this. You are being encouraged to provide it, if you have it, but not doing so will not exclude your application outright.

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.

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

Safety net: 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 3 components: 1) generic mitigation 2) unrepresentative performance and 3) revised algorithm for degree award classifications. These aspects are in place until September 2021.

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).

Unrepresentative performance: see “Mitigating circumstances” above.

Your new safety net package

The new package builds on the work of the previous policy to provide a clear route for addressing unrepresentative performance and having in place a new algorithm for degree award classifications. It also gives you the same benefits that generic mitigation did under the original policy (this aspect has been continued). Please see the table below for further details.

The no detriment policy was in effect from 5th March 2020 until 3rd January 2021. The new Safety Net package came into effect on 4th January 2021 and will last until 26th September 2021 (the academic regulations will continue to be reviewed in light of the ongoing effects of the pandemic).

Generic Mitigation: extensions and resits without penalty for failure & non-submission

The University have applied generic mitigation?in recognition of the fact that students will have experienced disruption due to COIVD-19. This means students will automatically have mitigating circumstances applied and exam boards will make appropriate decisions about progression, grades and awards considering this.

This means, where possible, everyone will automatically be granted a deferral for non-submission or if they fail?an assessment at first attempt (or a referral if they are already on their second or third attempt).

Generic mitigation covers students who:

  1. Are absent from an assessment
  2. Do not submit (non-submission) or fail to submit assessed work
  3. Fail a module

Through a deferral, you will be allowed to retake the assessment, without penalty. 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 the pass mark. If you are already on your second or third attempt, the mark will be capped at the pass mark.

Generic Mitigation may not apply to some courses with PSRB requirements and you can check with your Course Leader if you are unsure if this applies to you.

You will not be required to submit an individual claim and there is no requirement to submit evidence for generic mitigation as this will be automatically applied. Please be aware that this mitigation does not increase your marks or grades (uplift), nor does it mean you are not required to pass the module or assessment.

If this applies to you, whether you are experiencing a short-term challenge, or if you have personal commitments, such as caring responsibilities, please rest assured there are options available to help you navigate your personal circumstances.

If you are experiencing a short-term issue that you believe can be resolved quickly, you can apply for an extension to deadline through your course leader. No evidence is required.

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 your challenge is having a more long-term impact and you are unable to submit your assessment, then under generic mitigation you will be given another attempt, without penalty. You are encouraged to think carefully before undertaking this to ensure you can manage the volume of your workload by not deferring too many assessments.

It is also important to bear in mind that having too much deferral work may impact on your graduating and progressions and can therefore carry financial consequences, such as for instance in relation to student finance, if you are in receipt of this.

While generic mitigation applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate taught degrees, in some limited cases deferral work will not be possible, due to the nature of the module and particularly on courses governed by external and regulatory requirements. You can check with your Course Leader if you are unsure if it applies to you.?

Unrepresentative performance: resits for improvement

During the autumn term, we were aware of the ongoing concern of some students receiving low pass marks that you do not feel is representative of your past?performance. We consistently raised this with the University and were consulted in developing a solution to this.

The University has agreed to implement a new mechanism to address this, which enables resits for improvement, where you have passed an assessment, but have experienced an exceptional factor related or not related to the pandemic that has impacted your performance. Unlike generic mitigation, the unrepresentative performance process is not given to all students through blanket mitigation. Therefore, you will need to make an application for mitigating circumstances to qualify for a resit.

You will need to submit an application for mitigating circumstances within 14 days of receiving your results. You should wait until you receive your collective results, ratified by an examination board. The form will allow you to indicate all assessments you feel have been impacted on the same document, so you do not need to apply for each individual assessment you feel has been affected.

Providing evidence can help you explain your situation, but this is not required if you are unable to provide it due to the current circumstances. Claims will be reviewed on an individual basis and they will not be rejected outright if you are unable to provide evidence. You should explain why you aren’t able to provide evidence. The form will allow you to explain how certain circumstances have impacted your work.

For more information on evidence, please see the guidance document. 

You can access the application here. You will need to submit it to your school office within 14 days of receiving your ratified results. Before applying, you are encouraged to speak to us here at the BSU Support team (bsusupport@brighton.ac.uk), your personal tutor or your SSGT. If you have a Learning Support Plan, please speak to the Disability and Dyslexia Team to discuss your situation.

While there is not a maximum number of assessment tasks that can be deferred, you are nonetheless encouraged to speak to someone before doing so to ensure the decision is in your best interest and so you do not accumulate an unmanageable workload. It is useful to reflect on your profile of marks, the volume of deferral work you will need to complete and whether you can realistically complete all of this, among other factors you may wish to consider.

You are encouraged to contact one of the support services before applying, such as:

It is important to note that you will be attempting a new piece of work, rather than improving on a task you have already submitted.

For most cases, you will be given a resit without penalty. However, in a few, limited situations, this may not be possible due to the nature of your course or a PSRB. You can check with your Course Leader if you are unsure if this applies to you.

Revised algorithm for degree classification

While the use of performance benchmarking under the original no detriment policy has been discontinued, the University has committed to implementing an alternative algorithm, which will provide similar protections to last year’s use of a benchmarking formula. This will ensure you are not detrimentally affected and will in essence give you a safety net.

This algorithm will be applied to degree classifications and further details will be made available shortly.

As a Students’ Union, this was a clear priority for us, given the fact that many of you are attempting assessments in vastly altered circumstances. The University has listened to student feedback on the matter in implementing this revised algorithm.

Academic misconduct

In short, no, although in all allegations of misconduct you should seek independent advice from BSU’s Support team. You can get in touch with them via email at bsusupport@brighton.ac.uk. They are available for a 1:1 appointment by appointment via Microsoft Teams to further assist you.

support

Yes, appropriate adjustments will be made if you are eligible, i.e. you have an LSP. If you don’t have one but believe you should, contact the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Team at disability@brighton.ac.uk to discuss your requirements, or if you are experiencing any challenges in relation to a specific provision of your LSP. Learning Support Coordinators are available for a 1:1 appointment via Microsoft Teams to further assist you.

This safety net package is designed is to relieve some of the pressure, however, there will still be students who require additional support and advice. We are still very much here for you.

You should contact your Student Support and Guidance Tutor in the first instance. You can also contact your Personal Tutor.

If you still need advice, please get in touch with our BSU Support team via email at bsusupport@brighton.ac.uk. They are available for a 1:1 appointment via Microsoft Teams to further assist you.