In line with Staffordshire University's commitment to the success of all its students, it has developed a set of Exceptional Regulations designed to best serve its student community, protect the integrity of its degrees and maintain the standards that accrediting bodies require.
- Why has the University changed its academic rules for this year?
Staffordshire University and BSDC want to give you the opportunity to succeed, to help and support you to complete your studies, despite the challenges we are facing together. To give our students the support needed, we are applying exceptional regulations to take account of these exceptional times. These measures make sure that you are not disadvantaged by the current circumstances and that you have the same opportunity to succeed as previous groups of our students. We call this our ‘no disadvantage’ approach.
- The University is taking a ‘no disadvantage’ approach. What does this mean for me?
Our approach has been carefully thought out for you. We believe it supports you to succeed and protects the quality and standard of your award. We know that some universities have adopted ‘no detriment’ policies, which will be applied in different ways across universities. While a general policy may sound great, we are supporting you with a more tailored approach, supporting you to succeed now and in the future - no matter what course you are on.
- We want you to succeed in your assessments…
The University has changed many of the assessments that would have taken place over the summer, particularly where these were exams, lab work, performances or exhibitions. We have replaced these with assessments, which you can complete online or used alternatives, and which only test what you have learned.
In a small number of cases there are some assessments that can’t be replaced but the course teams will work with you on how these can be approached or how we will support you.
- What if I am struggling to complete my assessments on time?
Where possible, we have already extended assessment deadlines by up to two weeks, or in exceptional circumstances, four weeks. We understand that you may need more time, perhaps because you have limited access to IT or you are juggling assessments with looking after small children or caring for elderly relatives. If you do need a little more extra time, please talk to us, contact your module leader and explain the reasons why. Wherever possible, we will be flexible and supportive of your individual needs.
- Can I do my assessments at a later point?
If you can’t complete your assessments at this time, or you don’t have access to the technical equipment that you need, your School will decide whether it is in your best interest to delay your assessment.
If you pass anyway, because of the changes we have made to the assessment rules, you can always come back to complete your outstanding modules or practical work if you wish. This should be within two academic years. Returning to complete modules as part of your degree will be free from additional tuition fee costs, unless you repeat the whole year. You will also leave with the highest mark you have achieved. This means that your original mark is safe: you might get a better mark by doing this, but we guarantee you will not get a reduced grade for the module. Remember: you will not be disadvantaged.
- We want you to pass your modules…
We understand that it may be more difficult for you to fully complete your modules, so where 66% of the overall module mark is passed, the module will be counted as complete. However, where this isn’t the case, you will be supported by our progression and award rules below.
- We want you to progress to the next level of your course…
We have also reduced the number of modules you need to pass to go on to your next level of study (unless you are on a professional course like Nursing). If you are studying on an undergraduate course, you will only need to have passed 75 credits. We will award you the remaining 45 credits, regardless of your score in those modules. For example, three modules of 15 credits in size (please see your Module Handbooks for further details). If we do this, we may give you some development tasks at the start of the next academic year to make sure that you are ready for your next level of study. These tasks will not count towards your award but is important that you do them.
- We want you to achieve your award…
Students completing an award such as a Foundation Degree, HND, Diploma in Higher Education, Bachelors (with Hons), Integrated Masters or Masters Degree, will still receive their award even if they have not been able to complete, or have failed, up to 30 credits. If you want to know more about how your award is calculated please see here.
- I am in my final year. What does all of this mean for me?
Don’t worry, we recognise that you are in a difficult situation and we have put together a package of measures that will help and support you. First of all, of the marks you have achieved up to this point will stand, unless you improve them. We will also consider any modules you have not been able to pass as complete if you have passed 66% of the module assessment. In addition to this, the Award Board can give you up to 30 credit (ie. two modules worth 15 credits each. When we give you your results, we will make sure that you have a transcript of your achievement to share with employers or other universities.
- Why is my friend on another course being treated differently?
Each course is different with different things you need to know and understand. Each module and course has been reviewed to identify what, if anything, needed to change to help students complete. As a result, there will be differences in how we are doing things for the right reasons. This is about the right solution for you.
- We understand that this is difficult…
We will take into account your personal circumstances and be flexible with you wherever we can. If you still need to use the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure, you can do so. You don’t need to provide evidence if you become unwell due to the pandemic or self-isolate you just need to let us know here. The Award Board will take account of all exceptional cases and agree an outcome that we believe is in your best educational interest.
- When will I get my certificate?
Although Staffordshire University will be delaying its graduation ceremonies, it will not delay your entry to the world of work or further study. You will receive an academic transcript that you can give to employers or other Universities which confirms your achievement. Your certificate will be produced at the earliest opportunity.
- What if my course leads to professional registration?
Sometimes the regulator or statutory body for professional courses (such as nursing, social work, teaching or psychology biomedical science, sports therapy) have rules about which type of assessments must be completed. They may require that all assessments must be passed. Where this is the case, your course team will let you know and we are working with the relevant bodies to support changes to their requirements and to understand and apply these. If you are on a course like this, your Course Leader will let you know. However, wherever possible we will use the rules outlined here to ensure that you are not disadvantaged.
- Do I still need to pass my modules?
We want you to pass your modules because we want you to achieve your learning outcomes. If you don‘t pass all of your modules, your Award Board will look for the best outcome for you. This might include giving you up to 45 credits (ie. three modules worth 15 credits). However, if you do want to improve your mark, you can come back to complete your outstanding assessments.
- How will the University make sure that assessment is fair?
The University will continue to carry out its processes, ensuring the marking of your work is fair and consistent. All new assessments have been signed off by your Dean, the Registrar and the Chair of the Quality Enhancement Committee.
The Academic Conduct rules still apply. We will continue to use Turnitin where appropriate so that no one gains an unfair advantage. If we do have any concerns about assessments, we will hold discussions, (sometimes called vivas) to determine whether they have been completed independently and fairly.
- What if I have a Learning Support Statement?
- Who can I talk to if I don’t feel that things are going well?
- Why are you not simply letting level 3 and 4 students progress like some other Universities - the marks from those levels don't count towards my degree classification, and it would be a lot less hassle for students?
Part of making sure that you are not disadvantaged is checking you fully understand everything from your level 3 or 4 teaching that you need to know in order to succeed at the higher and more rigorous levels of your course. We do not want to 'set you up to fail'. That would be a waste of your time, and progressing you without being sure you are equipped to succeed could actually disadvantage you.
- Will I be disadvantaged compared to other Universities when applying for masters or jobs?
No! You will have your results and be ready to move on to your next step. Your award will have real value and be a true reflection of your achievement. You will not be disadvantaged!
- What students can expect from September 2020
All lectures during our first semester will be delivered virtually. This is because full lecture theatres do not lend themselves to effective social distancing. However, we also appreciate that our state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge facilities play an important role in supporting the success of our curious and daring students, so we plan to welcome our community back onto campus in a phased manner, delivering a selection of on-site activities – such as teaching in smaller groups – within a COVID-secure learning environment.