Cambridge University provides more detail on exam mitigation measures

Louis Mian 17 February 2021
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Cambridge University has detailed eight measures which faculties and departments may introduce for exams this year. Discussions will be taking place within faculties over the next few weeks concerning which measures they will introduce, with decisions being announced before the end of term.

The University has stated that departments ‘will consider, in consultation with student representatives, whether particular changes to examination or coursework requirements should be made.’

The options the University has told faculties to consider include replacing dissertations with extended essays, reducing the number of questions per exam, and ‘excluding the lowest mark achieved for an element of assessment by each student from the calculation of the class for that student’.

Faculties may also reduce ‘the number of required supervisions for essays or other coursework’, make ‘an element of assessment pass/fail’, change ‘the length of an exam (e.g. moving from 6 hour to 24 hour exams)’, move ‘from exams to coursework’, and introduce ‘an honours pass/fail system rather than providing a class mark’ for first and second years.

This follows an email sent to students on Monday (15th February), in which the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Graham Virgo, outlined a number of university-wide exam mitigation measures. A system of ‘cohort equity’ will be introduced to ‘ensure that the distribution of classes for this year is no less favourable than the average class distribution in the three years before the pandemic’.

As well as this, students ‘submitting dissertations or coursework’ will be able to submit an ‘impact statement’ detailing how the lockdown has affected their work and faculties ‘will be able to give extensions of up to 14 days to essay/dissertation deadlines where this is appropriate.’

All first- and second-year students, ‘who take all their required assessments’, will automatically progress to their next year of study, ‘except for students who need to pass professional qualifications.’

Speaking to TCS, the Cambridge Student Union explained that ‘following their previous refusal to adopt a no detriment policy, the exam mitigation measures announced by the University are a huge testament to the hard work of students and student representatives, who have spent the past few weeks pushing for a set of measures that acknowledges the unique disruption that they have suffered this academic year.’

‘Though it’s not everything we pushed for, together we have brought the University to the negotiating table and secured a package of measures which is a vast improvement on original proposals.’

‘We believe all faculties and departments should work collaboratively with academic reps to adopt the most appropriate exam modifications from the list of options provided,’ the SU continued.