In a post entitled “Open Statement to Students on 2020-21 Assessments”, King’s has announced its updated Covid-19 mitigation measures for students.
The policy package consists of three points:
1. A simplified Mitigating Circumstances Form (MCF) policy. Students will not be required to submit evidence for Covid-related mitigations.
2. A review of “cohort outcomes for each programme against previous, pre-pandemic years” to re-curve marks.
3. Postgraduate and final-/middle-year undergraduate students will have their marks rounded to the higher degree classification when they are within two percentage points of said higher classification. As stated in September, first-year students’ grades will be pass/fail.
Alongside the explanation, King’s administration told students: “Your wellbeing is a priority, and we are fully committed to supporting all our students to succeed and to upholding the high-quality and integrity of a King’s College London degree. As in every year, we want to ensure students are assessed fairly, have access to the support they need and are not academically disadvantaged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“For 2020-21, our Fair Assessment Policy has been developed in a different context to the reactive measures introduced in 2019-20. […] In developing this package of measures, we have carefully considered the lessons learned from 2019-20 including ongoing student feedback via departments and faculties throughout the pandemic. […] Our existing and enhanced package of measures for 2020-21 will ensure that our students are assessed fairly and that the quality and integrity of a King’s College London degree is protected.”
This new policy package comes after Russell Group Students’ Unions and student publications called for a reinstatement of the previous year’s Safety Net or a similar policy. In a January 22 blog post, the KCLSU Student Officer Team stated they “do not believe the outlined mitigations go far enough to comprehensively protect students’ academic performance during a pandemic, nor do they provide sufficient support students for the remainder of this academic year. They are a good first step, but there is more to be done to ensure students are adequately supported.”
The Officer Team reportedly proposed changes to the first draft of the plan in a January 13 meeting, including module-level cohort mitigations, extended C-Score recalculation, and more flexibility in the choices offered to students given the ongoing nature of the pandemic. According to the Team, “At no point in this process can we see that the university conducted meaningful student engagement, particularly with elected academic programme representatives, in a policy that directly affects them and their academic attainment, has knock-on effects on mental health and wellbeing, and about which students have been wanting assurance and consultation on for the duration of this academic year.”
The Officer Team has published a form to gather student input on the situation and aid its case for more comprehensive policies. Roar will continue to update you as this situation develops.