UCL News


UCL ensures no academic disadvantage in 2020 summer assessments

8 April 2020

Exceptional amendments to Academic Regulations support student progression while preserving academic standards during Covid-19 outbreak.

Study for exams

UCL has announced regulatory changes that support the academic progression of its students in the unprecedented circumstances of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

The university’s top priorities are the wellbeing of its students and making sure that as many as possible can progress to the next stage of their studies or graduate at the end of this academic year.

Recognising that the current challenging circumstances will have affected students’ preparation for and performance in assessments, exceptional amendments have been made to the Academic Regulations to support progression without compromising the academic standards that make a UCL qualification so valued.

Recognising academic performance so far

Writing to all students, Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs), said:

"We have adopted a ‘no detriment’ principle, which recognises your performance so far and ensures that your academic outcomes cannot be negatively affected by the alternative assessments we have put in place in response to this extraordinary situation."

Supporting student progression

These exceptional amendments to the Academic Regulations are among a broad range of measures that UCL has taken to make sure all students are treated fairly, including alternative assessments and cancellation of assessments where sufficient performance data has already been collected to award a grade. To support these measures a simplified extenuating circumstances process has been introduced.

Further consideration and consultation with the Research degrees Committee is required to understand how this approach can be best applied to MRes students. This information will be communicated to MRes students as soon as possible.

In his message to students, Professor Smith added:

"We recognise that some of you will feel that, despite these amendments, you need to make the difficult decision to apply to defer your assessment or interrupt your studies. We fully understand this decision and will support you with compassion and understanding to make the best decisions for you and to re-engage with your learning when you feel ready."

Amendments to the Academic Regulations for summer assessments 2020 are as follows:

Degree classification and grades

Undergraduate finalists

Provided you satisfy the award requirements the final classification average will be based on the higher outcome of:

a) Calculation with the final year mean based on the best 60 credits*; or
b) Calculation with the final year excluded.

*For integrated Masters programmes with a heavily-weighted dissertation module, the best 60 credits from any modules will be used to calculate the mean, which may include re-weighting the dissertation credit.

These principles will be adapted for classification schemes with variations that do not use a final year average.

All final year modules will still appear on the transcript.

Continuing undergraduates in years 2, 3 or 4, and Integrated Masters programmes students (MSci, MEng etc):

Provided you satisfy the award requirements, the year mean for 2019/20 used in final classification will be based on the best 60 credits. Further mitigation may be considered once actual  2019/20 data is available.

Full-time postgraduate taught Masters Programme students:

Provided you have satisfied the award requirements, your final award will be based on the average of your performance in their best 90 credits. Details of mitigation for part-time and flexible modular students will be provided shortly.

No Late Summer resits

The Late Summer Assessment period will be for deferred assessments only. For completing postgraduate taught students there will be an opportunity for reassessment to enable awards to be considered in January 2021.


Condonement (permissible level of assessment failure that will not affect progression)

Normally, some programmes include a number of modules that must be passed if a student is to progress, known as non-condonable. For all programmes in 2019-20, every module will be considered condonable in this academic year (2019-20), unless the learning outcomes are specifically linked to Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) requirements that cannot be met elsewhere in the programme. This will also apply to modules taken earlier in the academic year.

Undergraduate progression, including Integrated Masters students

If UG students have exceeded an overall average for the year of 40.00%  they will be allowed to have 30 credits condoned and carry over up to 30 further credits of failed modules into a later assessment period.

In discussion with their departments, students failing 45 or 60 credits may opt to resit out of attendance next year instead of progressing provisionally in 2020/21 with the trailing fail.

Students who do not achieve the minimum credits to progress will repeat the failed modules next year.

Integrated Masters progression to MSci/MEng

Your department will inform you if your programme has specific requirements for performance in either year 2 or year 3 that enable you to remain on the MSci rather than the Bachelors programme. Where there are requirements that involve you to achieve a particular year average, this will be based on the best 60 credits for 2019/20. Further mitigation measures may be considered once actual marks are available.

Why UCL is continuing with assessment in summer 2020

We believe conducting modified assessments this year is better for our students in the long term than deferring assessment to a later date or cancelling them altogether. Giving you the best possible chance to make progress now is better than delaying the assessment burden and worries to a later unspecified date: particularly with this safety net of policies that allow us to accommodate worse than expected performance and altered degree weighting calculations.  The vast majority of students do well in their assessments at UCL and we hope this will be the case this year with these changes in place.