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Cardiff University announces no-detriment policy

More questions than answers: What will this no-detriment policy mean for students? Source: Jeremy Segrott (via Flickr)

By Charlotte King

On Monday 30 March, Cardiff University announced on Twitter that it plans to implement a “no-detriment” policy for Cardiff University students in light of the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent move to remote teaching.


This announcement has come shortly after a number of other UK universities announced they would be implementing no-detriment policies at their own institutions. For example, the University of Exeter announced last week that as long as students qualify to progress or graduate based on their assessment marks this year, the University will ensure their final average for the academic year will be either equivalent or higher to the average they had achieved by Sunday, March 15.

Last week, Sarah Walmsley, a Cardiff University student, created a petition on change.org calling for Cardiff University to introduce a “safety net” system of its own for all assessments as of March 2020.

Walmsley’s petition argued that the closure of Cardiff University study spaces and move to remote teaching left many students with suitable study places, computer facilities and essential practical teaching.

The petition called upon Cardiff University to consider a mitigation system like the University of Exeter’s. It currently has over 5,100 signatures.

Walmsley’s petition.

Since Cardiff University’s announcement on Twitter, Walmsley has spoken to Gair Rhydd to express her thoughts.

“It’s great the University has responded so quickly, and hopefully this will be positive for all students!”, she said.

Tomos Evans, VP Education at Cardiff University’s Students’ Union, also celebrated the announcement on social media.

“[I] just got out of a meeting representing your views and concerns on Assessment and Teaching, and I am very pleased to be able to announce that the University will be taking a No-Detriment Approach to Spring Assessments”, he wrote.

Continuing, Evans said, “This will help ensure that your grades are not negatively impacted by the current Pandemic! Still early stages with more granular details to come so Watch This Space!”

Gair Rhydd has contacted Evans to hear more about his role in implementing this no-detriment policy and what we can expect to see happen.

Evans informed us that there are no fine details yet and the University is still in the early stages of coordinating the policy. However, he did state that any assessments after March 16 will be taken into account in this new policy, and it will also take into account the previous industrial action to ensure “that the quality of degrees are not impacted.”

In addition to this, Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor, Colin Riordan, sent an email around to students recently which said: “In essence…completing the summer assessments can only help not hinder your mark” and that the University’s intention is to adopt this “no advantage” style approach.

Despite the celebratory reaction from students however, it is not yet clear what this no-detriment policy will actually mean for students. For example, we do not yet know whether students studying on accredited courses, such as Law, will be included under this new policy due to specific assessment requirements they must meet.

It is also not yet clear whether this no-detriment policy will be applied to all undergraduate students or only final year students, and whether postgraduate students will be included within the no-detriment policy. What’s more, the University has not yet confirmed that its own no-detriment policy will mirror those implemented by other universities either.

Speaking to Gair Rhydd, a Cardiff University spokesperson said: “The principle that no student should be disadvantaged in terms of their achievement as a result of the Covid-19 crisis is an important one.

“The University is working hard to finalise the details of what this means in the context of significant revisions to assessment activity and needs time to ensure that the measures we take maintain academic standards, meet professional body requirements and are fair and transparent to all students.

“The intention is to confirm final plans by 17th April.”

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