How Will University Grades be Decided This Year?

Here's how your university grades will be decided.

With assessments and exams now moving online, universities have had to outline solutions for adapting students' grades due to such unusual circumstances. Each university has reacted to the pandemic differently, offering new ways of grading final assessments and exams for the rest of the academic year.

As a general rule of thumb, universities have introduced a 'safety net policy' or 'no detriment policy', which essentially means students won't be disadvantaged due to the changing circumstances. These policies take into account grades prior to the pandemic, and ensure students don't receive a degree classification lower than their current average.

However, each university up and down the UK has created a different policy. Here's how university grades will be decided for your university.

How will university grades be decided for you?

Looking for a specific university? Here's what's covered in this guide.

👉  Sheffield
👉  Newcastle
👉  Leeds
👉  Norwich
👉  Brighton
👉  Coventry
👉  Bristol
👉  Bath
👉  Portsmouth
👉  Southampton


University of Sheffield

From the 16th March, the University of Sheffield temporarily suspended its face-to-face teaching. Essential student suppose services are available online for those who need them.

The university implemented a ‘Safety Net Policy’ to ensure that students are delivered a fair grade at the end of the academic year. This policy means that no students who pass the year, will receive an average mark or overall degree class lower than their current overall mark. Extenuating circumstances will also be taken into account, to hopefully leave students with a mark which is deserved.

Assessments which are to be completed online ‘can only have a positive impact on your overall mark,’ meaning students should be in great stead by the end of the year. More information on the Safety Net Policy can be found here.

Sheffield Hallam University

Students at SHU will be taking the remainder of their exams and assessments online, much like the majority of other universities in the UK. Exam papers will be available through Blackboard roughly 24 hours before the deadline, and answers will be submitted likewise. Those with subjects where online assessments aren’t possible will be contacted directly. 

As with the University of Sheffield, there will be ‘no detriment to your assessment as a result of COVID-19’. By comparing students’ module marks against previous years and reviewing each individual’s profile, the university will ensure fair outcomes for their students. You can find out more here.


Newcastle University

Newcastle University has stated that there will be no further face-to-face examinations until the next academic year. 

The university have introduced a ‘Safety Net’ for undergraduate and Masters students, which ‘recognises the prior academic achievement of each student through a ‘baseline’ of academic performance’. This means that each student’s academic average won’t be lowered as a result of the assessments that are taken online, or throughout the rest of the academic year.

More information on the Safety Net can be found here.

Northumbria University

Northumbria University suspended face-to-face teaching from Monday 16th March and moved their practices online. 

Students at Northumbria can find information personal to them online via the Student Portal, which they’re encouraged to check regularly.


University of Leeds

As expected, the University of Leeds has cancelled all physical lectures and classes, including laboratory and practical classes. The university updated its assessment and exams FAQs on April 30th.

Final year and Masters students are still expected to take their remaining assessments. However, penultimate year students (in the year below final year) will have examinations replaced by an alternative form of assessment, which module leaders will let you know about. For those in any other level of study, assessments and exams after Easter will not take place unless there are professional accreditation requirements. You can find out more here.

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett students have been granted a four-week extension to all deadlines set after March 23rd. Students are being encouraged to ‘do their best and submit their assessments’ online. The university has agreed a plan to adapt regulations to make appropriate academic decisions based on student grades, credit and degrees during the pandemic.

Further information can be found here.


Norwich University of the Arts

NUA is continuing to follow the Government’s advice to work remotely, with online teaching having resumed after the Easter break.

Assessments will be based on work in development, rather than finished pieces, and the university is ensuring no students are disadvantaged by the alternate working practices and closure of buildings in place at the moment. Work that has been left at the university is being kept safe, and students are being reassured that their belongings are being looked after.

University of East Anglia

A 10-working day extension has been provided for final project or dissertation submissions, to allow for changes in circumstances. For those still struggling, it’s worth talking to your supervisor.

Exams have been scheduled to be taken with a 24-hour period, where possible still on the date they were previously scheduled. For those feeling unfit to sit their exams, you’ll be eligible for a delayed first attempt within the reassessment period.

A ‘safety-net’ policy was introduced in early April, which means that examination boards will be allowed to uplift your grade, dependent on your performance prior to the change in circumstances. More information can be found here.


University of Brighton

Students at the University of Brighton have had their end of year exams replaced with alternative assessments, and a ‘no detriment’ policy has been introduced for grading and assessments. This means that no students will be disadvantaged by the impact of the pandemic in terms of their grade averages and degree awards.

Students at UoB will be benchmarked on their performance prior to March 5th, with assessments completed after this date not being allowed to drop grades below the individual’s performance benchmark. You can learn more on the ‘no detriment’ policy here.

University of Sussex

The University of Sussex is ensuring that grades are not impacted at this time, and have put measures in places to ensure students will encounter no detriment in the awarding of their grades this year.

Similarly to the University of Brighton, Sussex uni is giving students a safety net and ensuring that overall year averages will not be lower than the average mark achieved in the first semester. Grades are able to be improved through achieving higher marks during the next semester. More information from the university can be found here.


Coventry University

Coventry University has replaced in-person exams with online assessments which will take place in the same period as they were scheduled for. Detailed guidance on this has been sent to students directly. More information can be found here.

University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is urging all students that may have been severely affected by the pandemic to contact their personal tutor directly for extra support.

The university has also introduced a 'safety net' approach, which has been put in place to support students regarding their exams and assessments. This commitment ensures that the changes to assessment methods in the final term will not disadvantage students regarding their final degree classification. A two-week extension to all assessments has also been put in place. You can find out more about the university’s approach here.


University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is doing what they can to keep education and assessments on track, and to do this they’ve made all exams open book. Students have been granted a longer time for completion, and ‘previous outcomes will be calibrated into the overall degree outcome’. 

For those with extenuating circumstances, there will be a second assessment period later in the year for those impacted. You can find out more about the University of Bristol’s approach here.

University of the West of England

The University of the West of England has updated Blackboard with assessment requirements for students, including information on alternative assessments which are taking the place of in-person exams.

UWE will be taking a ‘no-detriment’ approach to the remaining academic year, similar to a number of other universities in the UK. This approach means that, as long as students pass the year, the university will ensure that the final academic year average is the same as, or higher than, grades prior to the outbreak. If you’re looking for more information, you can find it here.


The University of Bath

Assessments with the University of Bath have been adapted to suit the current climate to help students achieve their best. All students are expected, wherever possible, to take their exams online.

The university’s no detriment measures mean that students can feel confident in knowing that their grades will accurately reflect the work put in, and are designed to take into account the general disruption of working remotely. Help is available for deferring assessments, late submissions and mitigating circumstances. For advice on assessments from the University of Bath, click here.

Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University has, like other universities, moved online for the rest of the academic year. Due to the added pressure on students, the university is working hard to ensure that students won’t be disadvantaged.

The university has introduced a 'no-detriment' policy, meaning that students will have the best opportunity to undertake the remainder of their learning. The policy means that a 'safety net' will be in place, and grade averages will be provided. More information on the university’s no-detriment policy can be found here.


University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth has made some ‘reasonable changes to assessment practices’ and are committed to ensuring students are not at any disadvantage by the situation. Where relevant, submission deadlines have been extended for a standard of five days.

The university will monitor the performance of students on any given course and take into account how the current pandemic has impacted those studying. With this in mind, students will achieve academic credit and progress to the next level of their courses, or receive final awards, as appropriate. More information can be found here.


University of Southampton

The University of Southampton has implemented a ‘no detriment policy’, similar to a number of other universities up and down the country. The fair grading system means that the value of your degree is maintained, and the classification is representative of your achievement.

The university is basing degree classifications on modules from the first semester. All grades will go through a moderation process to ensure they properly reflect the academic standard achieved by students. More information can be found here.

Solent University

As with the University of Southampton, Solent University has implemented a no detriment approach to assessments, so academic results will not be disadvantaged as a result of the current situation. Information on exactly how this will work will be published on the university website when this has been finalised.

Exams and assessments are to be taken online. Late submissions have been extended to 14 days, including weekends, and the extenuating circumstanced procedure has also been updated for those who need it. More information can be found here.

If your university isn't on this list, or if you have any further questions regarding your studies, make sure to get in touch with your university or tutor directly.

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