Assessment pledge

Guidance on how the Faculty of Humanities will implement the assessment pledge.

The assessment pledge applies to all students on standard undergraduate and PGT (Masters) programmes. Programme Directors of non-standard programmes and programmes with professional accreditation or external requirements will be in touch with you if any elements of the pledge do not apply to you.


If you are ill (with COVID or non-COVID illness) or miss learning opportunities due to situations such as loss of IT connection or caring responsibilities, for a period of up to seven days and where the period does not cover an assessment submission (exam or coursework), you should submit a self-certification form to your school. You will not normally be required to submit any medical evidence/supporting evidence with this form.

Full details can be found at Self Certification of absence.

If the illness coincides with the dates for submitting a piece of work or if it occurs in the examination period, then you should apply for Mitigating Circumstances.

Mitigating circumstances

The pledge: simplifying mitigating circumstances

We will remove the requirement to provide medical evidence for mitigating circumstances applications (COVID related, or otherwise). Whilst this simplifies the mitigating circumstances procedure, you should still seek help for any medical or mental health concerns.

We strongly encourage you to give as much detail as you can in your application, so we can ensure you are offered appropriate support; and to speak to an appropriate member of staff in your School or elsewhere in the University who will be able to direct you relevant support services.

The Assessment Pledge is intended to cover the broad consequences of this pandemic (e.g. missed learning due to self-isolation, impacts of the shift to online learning/assessments for student learning, general mental health issues etc.).

If you feel that you have been further impacted (by COVID or other mitigating circumstances), then you should apply for mitigation through the normal mitigating circumstances procedures and to the usual deadlines.

Moderation and scaling

Every year our examination boards discuss and approve assessment outcomes. They review any circumstances that have affected either individual or groups of students and take appropriate action to address these.

Examination boards will review and, where appropriate, scale marks to ensure the performance of cohorts is not out of line with previous (pre-pandemic) years.

We'll continue giving more opportunities for scrutiny, with extra boards at Faculty and University level. This will provide extra reassurance of our high standards to students, employers and the professional bodies who accredit your degrees.

Regulation changes

The pledge: regulation changes

Every year we look carefully at students who have just missed out on a higher classification. So, for example, if your average mark was between 68% and 70%, we would look further at the profile of your marks to consider whether or not you should be awarded a first or a distinction (and the same at other boundaries).  This year, we’re extending the ‘boundary zones’ by 1%, so that we will consider the higher classification for any student with 67% or above for a first/distinction and 57% for 2.1/merit, etc. In addition, for PGT students, you can’t currently get a distinction if you have a re-sit or compensated mark, but we will remove that barrier this year wherever we can (subject to regulatory and professional body accreditation requirements).

Full details of the University’s Degree Regulations can be found here:

The way in which we award undergraduate and postgraduate taught degrees will be in line with the normal practice except for the extension of the boundary zone. This means that, in line with the assessment pledge, the boundary zone has been extended by 1% so undergraduate students can be considered for a first with an average mark of 67%, 2.1 with an average mark of 57% etc. and postgraduate taught students can be considered for a distinction with an average mark of 67% and for a merit with an average mark of 57%. Students in the boundary zone will still need to have 2/3 of their credits taken in the awarding academic year at equal/higher than the final award to be automatically granted the higher award.

In addition, for PGT students, the requirement for the award of distinction that all course units must have been passed at the first attempt and without any compensation has been removed.

All other aspects of the award of degrees remain unchanged.

Waiving of re-sit fees

The pledge: waiving of re-sit fees

If you need to take any re-sits, we won’t charge you a fee to take any of them and we will help you through them.

Further information on support for students during the pandemic can be found on the University’s Coronavirus Information pages and on the Assessment Pledge FAQs.