University Relaxes Rules for Online Exams

The University of York has announced that they are easing the deadline for exceptional circumstances claims on online examinations.

The announcement, which comes at the beginning of the Common Assessment Period, was sent to students by email today. The University has announced the change as a response to the ongoing difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Since all teaching moved online on 16 March, many University of York students have been beset by problems as a result of the spread of Covid-19 and the government’s response to it. Nearly all students who were resident in University of York accommodation have now gone home and have lost access to resources like eduroam and study spaces. Many have been left with disrupted teaching as lecturers have struggled to pull together an online curriculum equal to face-to-face teaching at short notice.

In addition to this, many of the University’s 4,000+ international students have returned home to countries with even stricter lockdowns than the UK, impacting their ability to study even further. This includes 112 students from Italy, where lockdown was so strict that police permission was required for a train journey, and 182 students from the USA, which currently has the highest coronavirus-related death toll in the world.

In light of this, the University has announced new measures surrounding the online exams which were introduced following lockdown. Students – including postgraduate and International College Pathway students – who have already submitted their online examinations earlier this term will now be given seven days from today to retroactively apply for exceptional circumstances claims, should they require it. This rule will also apply to future online exams, with students allowed seven days after the exam to apply for exceptional circumstances even if the script has been submitted.

These new measures were announced by the University Academic Contingency Group. The group was formed in response to the disruption caused by the UCU strikes in November and is chaired by Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Robinson. It has now expanded to also help minimise disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The University Academic Contingency Group also reminded undergraduate students today that although their formally calculated ‘safety net’ marks have not yet been released, students should be able to calculate them using the University’s ‘estimator’ tool.