COVID-19: Imperial and Assessments
Updated 04 March 2021
Your academic performance and wellbeing are important to the College, and during such a challenging academic year we will ensure that you continue to be fairly assessed.
We have developed several measures to offer you the support you need. Through your actions, such as applying for mitigating circumstances if necessary, and actions the College is taking around the administration of your assessments, we are confident that you will be fairly assessed.
Your department will keep you updated on the arrangements for your exams. For further support and guidance, please take advantage of the Student Support Fund, the Student Support Zone and the Success Guide.
It is important you let the College know if you may be experiencing difficulties which will seriously impact your assessment performance. In a normal year, the College can expect to receive a number of applications for students’ circumstances to be taken into consideration for upcoming assessments. This year we expect those challenging circumstances to be more common.
We have listened to feedback suggesting this policy needs to be applied consistently across all Departments and we also have attempted to simplify the process. This flowchart summarises how you can apply for mitigating circumstances; please consider it alongside the full policy.
You can apply for mitigating circumstances in two ways – evidenced or self-certification. The self-certification option was previously available but has been expanded to apply to a wider range of scenarios to better reflect the context of the pandemic. We understand that if your particular circumstance is COVID-related, you may not currently have access to independent documentary evidence to demonstrate your issue.
Your Department’s Mitigating Circumstances Board will review your application and will then inform you of the outcome of your claim.
We will have a resit examination period to allow you the option of resitting any examination that you have failed or have been unable to take due to approved mitigating circumstances. This additional option will apply to all year groups, as well as both undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels of study.
These resit opportunities will be scheduled to ensure you have the opportunity to progress to the next year of study or graduate with your cohort, where possible.
For certain taught postgraduate programmes, depending on the deadline for submission of dissertations, resits may be scheduled after the latter in order to minimise added pressure on students.
All examination resit fees will be waived for all taught students for the remainder of this academic year and the beginning of next academic year
Sitting assessments from outside the UK time zone
We understand that, with many students living in different time zones, it is stressful to have to conform to the College’s UK operating hours during assessments.
Your department will schedule your assessments during the hours 08:00 – 22:00 in your own local time zone wherever possible, but with the option of extending to 07:00 – 23:00 if necessary. For administrative reasons, this policy will not be available in the Spring term but will be put in place for examinations in the Summer term. To make this arrangement work for all students, individual arrangements may be put in place for some students and your department will be in touch about this. This may mean students living outside the UK time zone may start their examinations after students in the UK.
Assessment of first year undergraduates
If you are a first-year undergraduate, we have developed a special measure that will support you with your final degree classification. When the time comes for you to graduate, we will either count as normal, or give zero weighting to, the contribution from your first-year performance. The decision will be based on whether your first-year grades raise or lower your overall degree classification. This measure was also in place for first year undergraduates in the previous academic year.
This measure cannot unfortunately be applied to MBBS or external intercalating BSc (iBSc) degrees, as the MBBS does not have yearly weightings, and it is not possible for the iBSc to be given zero weighting.
We believe that this will help you feel motivated for the remainder of this academic year, while being confident that a challenging first year will not adversely impact your degree.
Assessment of continuing students
If you are a continuing student, we can confirm that although the ‘Safety Net’ is no longer in force in this academic year, its impact on your marks during the last academic year will still apply. This means these marks will be considered when it comes time to calculate your award at the end of your degree.
Using analytics to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on your cohort
The College will ensure your cohort's overall performance is not impacted in comparison to previous years. We will implement a process of cohort analysis to ensure that overall year (or element) weighted averages are consistent with the performance of equivalent cohorts in the past.
Our normal marking and moderation processes will continue to be applied at module and/or assessment level by each Board of Examiners. This is no different to any other year.
In addition, for this academic year, if the proportion of students in a cohort achieving 70% or more for their year (or element) weighted average is less than the proportion in the past then Boards of Examiners will make specific adjustments to ensure that the proportion achieving 70% or more this year is at least equal to the historic proportion.
Our normal comparisons will be to the performance of equivalent cohorts in immediate pre-pandemic academic years. The additional process which looks at the proportion of students achieving 70% or more this year applies to all taught students for the 2020/21 academic year except: 1st year undergraduates, MBBS students, and students studying programmes where either the current cohort is small or limited historic data to compare to is available. Normal marking and moderation process will still apply to this group.