Coronavirus Recovery: advice and latest information

Student Guide to the ‘Safety net calculation’ FAQs

The University is aware that students are currently working in extremely challenging conditions. We are responding flexibly to enable you to continue with your studies and ensure they are not adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to support you, the University, in partnership with elected officers of the Students’ Union, has implemented a number of measures designed to assist all students.

The Safety Net arrangements are a combination of a calculation of marks achieved before this situation developed to produce a safety net average and an amended Extenuating Circumstances policy to take account of how the current situation may have affected your ongoing studies.

The Safety Net arrangements ensure that the current situation does not adversely affect your outcomes while also maintaining the rigour, value and high national and international standing of your Swansea University degree, as well as meeting the standards expected by external regulatory bodies.

Final year undergraduate students

Degree classification ‘safety net’

1. How will my degree be classified?

Broadly, if you do as well or better this term as you did in your semester 1 modules, your degree classification will be worked out in the ordinary way.

But in light of current conditions, the University has devised a ‘safety net calculation’ to ensure that marks for assessments submitted this academic year after 14 March 2020 will not have a negative impact on your degree outcome.

2. How will the ‘safety net calculation’ work?

This depends on whether you had completed your assessment in modules worth at least 60 credits in your final year by 14 March 2020.

A. For students who, as at 14 March 2020, had complete marks for 60 credits worth of modules in the final year

If (as at 14 March) you had marks for modules worth 60 credits in the final year, we will work out a degree classification for you as follows. We will use the average of your existing final year marks to populate the as yet unassessed credits of your final year and then apply the usual calculation. Your degree class based on this calculation will be recorded. This will be your ‘protected classification’.

Once we have all your marks for the year, we will work out your final degree classification in the normal way, using the marks actually awarded.

If your ‘protected classification’ is higher than your ‘final degree classification’, your ‘protected classification’ will form the basis of your degree. If your ‘final degree classification’ is higher, this will form the basis of your degree.

Example Calculations

Student 1- Year 3 on a 3-year programme (completed all 60 credits in year 3).

Year 2 average: 62.7%
Year 3 completed modules:
#1 20Cr 71%
#2 20Cr 64%
#3 20Cr 66%

Safety-net mark calculated from the 60Cr completed in year 3, and so is 67.0%. A mark of 67% is put in for all year 3 modules not yet completed and classification rules run as normal to calculate protected degree classification.

Student 2 - Year 3 on a 3-year programme (completed 60 credits in year 3 including 1 failed module).

Year 2 average: 52.4%
Year 3 completed modules:
#1 15Cr 61%
#2 15Cr 52%
#3 15Cr 63%
#4 15Cr 33%

Safety-net mark calculated from the 60Cr completed in year 3 (including the failure), and so is 52.25%. A mark of 52% is put in for all year 3 modules not yet completed and classification rules run as normal to calculate protected degree classification.

B. For students who, as at 14 March 2020, did not yet have complete marks for 60 credits worth of modules

If (as at 14 March) you did not have marks for modules worth 60 credits in the final year, we will still work out a protected degree classification for you, but will do so partly on the basis of your average mark from your last completed level of study (e.g. your second year of a three year programme). We will populate your as yet unassessed final year credits with a mark which is the average of your current final year marks and your second year average, and then apply the usual calculation. Your degree class based on this calculation will be recorded. This will be your ‘protected classification’.

Once we have all your marks for the final year, we will work out your final degree classification in the normal way, using the marks awarded.

If your ‘protected classification’ is higher than your ‘final classification’, your ‘protected classification’ will form the basis of your degree. If your ‘final classification’ is higher, this will form the basis of your degree.

Student 3 - Year 3 on a 3-year programme (not completed 60 credits by 14th March).

Year 2 average: 71.6%
Year 3 completed modules:
#1 20Cr 74%
#2 20Cr 68%

Safety-net mark calculated from the 40Cr completed in Year 3, and 20Cr equivalent from Year 2 average, and so is (74*20+68*20+71.6*20)/60 = 71.2%. A mark of 71% is put in for all Year 3 modules not yet completed and classification rules run as normal to calculate protected degree classification.

3. Do I still have to take all my assessments?

You will have to pass a minimum of 80 credits in the final year in order to be awarded a degree on the basis of either your protected or your final classification. It is very much in your interests to do as well as you can in your Semester 2 assessments.

4. What if I deferred some of my assessments from last semester?

If you deferred assessments from last semester and therefore have marks for only 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 credits, or even no credits, your ‘protected classification’ will be worked out as explained in 2B above.

5. I failed a module or modules last term. How will this be dealt with?

The idea behind the ‘safety net’ is effectively to preserve your current position as a ‘fall-back position’. This means that your existing marks will be used to carry out the ‘safety net’ calculation, even if some of those are below the 40% pass mark. Remember though, that you still have the chance to improve your position through your performance in Semester 2 modules.

6. I am taking a substitute module this semester. How will this be dealt with?

Your actual marks from last term will be used in the ‘safety net’ calculation. You still have the chance to improve on that position by passing your semester 2 modules.

7. What if I had a penalty applied for late submission or exceeding the word count last semester?

Your ‘protected classification’ will be based on the marks currently recorded on the system for your already assessed final year modules.

8. What if I had a mark reduced last semester on the basis of academic misconduct?

Your ‘protected classification’ will be based on the marks currently recorded on the system for your already assessed final year modules.

9. If I attempt my semester 2 assessments and fail, will I be able to try again?

Usually, final year students are not permitted to re-sit modules, but in light of current circumstances, exceptionally, final year students will be permitted to re-sit failed Semester 2 modules should you wish to do so. These re-sit attempts will be in August. Marks in a re-sit will be capped at 40%. The degree calculations will be as set out above, but the final classification will be worked out in September (after the re-sit period).

10. What will appear on my transcript of marks?

The actual marks you achieved in each module will appear on your transcript irrespective of whether your degree is based on your ‘final degree outcome’ or on your ‘protected classification’.

11. If I fail a semester 2 module, but still qualify for a degree to be awarded, what will happen?

If you fail a ‘non-core’ module, we will offer you the option of taking the degree if you have enough credits to be eligible for the award, or of re-sitting the failed Semester 2 module. You will be given a deadline by which you need to make the decision. We will be able to help you to decide what to do by explaining the pros and cons of keeping the fail mark, or of re-sitting. If we do not hear from you either way by the deadline, you will be awarded the degree.

If you fail a core module, then you must resit and pass the module to be eligible for the award.

12. What changes have been made to the Extenuating Circumstances policy as part of the Safety Net?

During the current period the University will operate the Extenuating Circumstances Policy flexibly, to support students who are having difficulties preparing for/undertaking assessments.

Please read this updated guidance and the attached Frequently Asked Questions.If you have any queries, please contact your School/College directly or Student Academic Services: assessmentawards@swansea.ac.uk

If you struggle to meet any deadlines or prepare for/complete assignments, please contact your School/College to request the Extenuating Circumstances application form. If your College/School supports your application, the most likely outcome is that you will be offered an assessment deferral/extension.

13. Who will consider my extenuating circumstances application?

All Extenuating circumstances applications, including those for alternative assessments set in place of in-person examinations, such as remote examinations, will be considered by your School/College.

Your School/College will provide you with an extenuating circumstances form to complete and confirm the deadline for submission of this form and any supporting evidence (if appropriate).

14. What are the deadlines for submitting an Extenuating Circumstances application?

Please note that whilst your School/College will be flexible in considering your application, you are asked to submit your form as soon as you can. Whilst your School/College will make every attempt to be flexible, you will be given a final deadline for submission of forms/evidence by your School/College, in accordance with the University Examination Board dates.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be asked to supply supporting evidence. Please do not wait to obtain your evidence before submitting your form to your School/College-please submit your form as soon as you can, and any supporting evidence can be submitted to follow.

15. What qualifies as 'extenuating circumstances'?

Please refer to Section 3 of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy for a non-exhaustive list of circumstances likely to be accepted by the University as valid extenuating circumstances. In addition, please note the additional information below:

Remote working:
If working remotely from home has affected your ability to complete or submit a piece of work, please clearly explain the specific issues you’re having on your extenuating circumstances application form (access issues etc.). A member of your School/ College will be in touch if further information is required. During this period the University will accept extenuating circumstances applications based on technical difficulties.

Self-Isolation:
If self-isolation is affecting your ability to complete or submit a piece of work, for your supporting evidence, you will need to provide information on the circumstances in your application form. The University will accept self-certification for up to 14 calendar days for self-isolation.

Other illness or injury:
If you have an illness or injury that is affecting your ability to complete or submit work which is not related to COVID-19 Coronavirus, then for your supporting evidence you will need to provide details on these circumstances in your application form. Your School/ College will accept self-certification for up to 7 days for any illness or injury not related to COVID-19 Coronavirus. If you have an illness or injury that requires a longer period of recovery, please let your School/College know. They will let you know whether further evidence is required.

Caring responsibilities and domestic difficulties:
The University recognises that many students may have caring responsibilities or experience domestic difficulties that may impact upon their ability to prepare for/undertake assessments during this period. The University will consider applications sympathetically.

16. What supporting evidence do I need to submit with my Extenuating Circumstances application?

The University recognises that it may be difficult for students to obtain evidence in the current climate, noting the current pressures on the health and other services, and will make every effort to consider applications sympathetically.

As such, it has been agreed that students may self-certify for up to a period of 7 calendar days. This means that provided that your School/College accept your circumstances as valid, you will not be required to provide supporting evidence for a period of up to 7 calendar days. For any periods beyond 7 calendar days, you may be asked by your School/College to provide supporting evidence.

If self-isolation is affecting your ability to complete or submit a piece of work, for your supporting evidence, you will need to provide information on the circumstances in your application form. The University will accept self-certification for up to 14 calendar days for self-isolation.

17. What happens after I submit my form to my School/College?

Your School/ will acknowledge receipt of your application and let you know whether further information/evidence is required. Your School/College will let you know the outcome of your application in due course. If your application is approved, you will be informed that your assessment(s) has/have been deferred/extension granted/any other appropriate outcome, wherever possibly before the deadline for assessment.

Second year undergraduate students (and third year students on four-year programmes)

Progression to the next level of study

1. Have any changes been made to the normal rules?

Yes, we have made some changes to the normal requirements to try to minimise the impact of the pandemic on your chances of progressing this year.

The key changes that have been made are:

  • You will be allowed to proceed with marks of less than 30% in up to 40 credits. The normal position is that you must get a mark of at least 30% in all modules in order to proceed.
  • You will be allowed to take re-sits even if you have failed more than 60 credits. The normal position is that you would have to repeat the year if you had failed more than 60 credits.

2. Do I still need to take my semester 2 assessments?

Yes, in order to progress to the next level of study all students must pass 80 credits.

3. I have failed modules in semester 1, will I have the chance to re-take the assessments?

This will depend on whether the failures are ‘tolerable’ under the normal regulations. ‘Tolerability’ of failure depends on the marks awarded and the number of credits failed.

4. If I fail a semester 2 module, will I be able to re-sit?

Only if you get a mark of less than 30% in the module. Otherwise up to 40 credits of tolerated failure will be permitted.

5. I was told earlier in the year that I have to pass 60 credits in order to qualify for re-sits, is this still the case?

The usual requirement is that students must pass 60 credits in order to qualify to take re-sits. This requirement will be waived at the June exam boards, so even if you have failed more than 60 credits, you will be able to re-sit your failed modules in the August assessment period.

6. If I get less than 30% in a module won’t this potentially affect my degree classification next year?

Yes, the mark will feed into your degree classification. For this reason, students who get less than 30% in a Semester 1 & 2 module will be allowed to choose either to proceed with their existing mark, or to re-sit the assessment for that module. If you find yourself in this position, please contact your academic mentor to discuss.

Degree classification next year

7. What is being done to ensure that this term’s marks do not have a negative impact on my degree calculation next year, or the year after?

Because of the weighting of marks in the overall degree calculation, your lowest second year marks have a minimal impact on your overall outcome. But because all second year marks are part of the degree calculation and in light of current conditions, the university has devised a ‘safety net calculation’ to ensure that marks achieved in academic year 2019-20 after 14 March 2020 will not have a negative impact on your degree outcome next year (or the year after).

8. How will the ‘safety net calculation’ work?

This depends on whether you had completed your assessment in modules worth at least 60 credits this year by 14 March 2020.

A. For students who, as at 14 March 2020, had complete marks for 60 credits worth of modules this academic year

If (as at 14 March) you had marks for modules worth 60 credits this academic year, we will work out a ‘protected position’ for you as follows. We will use the average of your existing marks this year to populate the as yet unassessed credits for the year in order to create a protected profile for this academic year. If your protected profile gives a better degree outcome than your actual profile, we will use your protected profile to calculate your degree. Your protected position will be calculated this summer and a record kept for the classification exam board in your final year of study.

Student 4 

Year 2 on a 3-year programme (passed all 60 credits in Year 3)
Year 1 average:72.6%
Year 2 completed modules:
#1 15Cr 73%
#2 15Cr 56%
#3 15Cr 65%
#4 15Cr 73%

Safety-net mark calculated from the 60Cr completed in year 2 and so is 66.75%. This mark and the 60Cr of modules affected are kept on record until June 2021 when a degree classification is calculated. At that time, a mark of 67% is put in for all year 2 modules affected and classification rules run as normal (including the year 3 marks from 2020/21) to calculate protected degree classification. This will be compared to the degree classification with actual marks and the higher will be used if there is a difference.

B. For students who, as at 14 March 2020, did not yet have complete marks for 60 credits worth of modules

If (as at 14 March 2020) you did not have marks for modules worth 60 credits this academic year, we will still work out a protected position for you, but will do so partly on the basis of your average mark from your last completed level of study. We will populate your as yet unassessed credits with a mark which is the average of your marks from this academic year and your average last academic year. This will be your protected profile. If your protected profile gives a better degree outcome than your actual profile, we will use your protected profile to calculate your degree. Your protected position will be calculated this summer and a record kept for the classification exam board in your final year of study.

Student 4

Year 2 on a 3-year programme (has not passed 60 credits by the 14th March)
Year 1 average: 81.3%
Year 2 completed modules:
#1 10Cr 77%
#2 20Cr 66%
#3 10Cr 83%
#4 10Cr 53%

Safety-net mark calculated from the 50Cr completed in Year 2 and 10Cr equivalent from year 1 average, so is (77*10+66*20+83*10+53*10+81.3*10) = 71.05%. This mark and the 70Cr of modules affected are kept on record until June 2022 when a degree classification is calculated. At that time, a mark of 71% is put in for all Year 2 modules affected and classification rules run as normal (including the Year 3 marks from 2020/21 and Year 4 marks from 2021/22) to calculate protected degree classification. This will be compared to the degree classification with actual marks and the higher will be used if there is a difference.

9. What if I deferred some of my assessments from last semester?

If you deferred assessments from last semester and therefore have marks for only 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 credits, or even no credits, your ‘protected position’ will be worked out as explained in 8B above.

10. I failed a module or modules last semester. How will this be dealt with?

The idea behind the ‘safety net’ is effectively to preserve your current position as a ‘fall-back position’. This means that your existing marks will be used to carry out the ‘safety net’ calculation, even if some of those are below the 40% pass mark. Remember though, that you still have the chance to improve your position through your performance in semester 2 modules, and as you continue with your studies.

11. What if I had a penalty applied for late submission or exceeding the word count last semester?
Your protected position will be based on the marks currently recorded on the system for your already assessed modules this year.

12. What if I had a mark reduced last semester on the basis of academic misconduct?

Your protected position will be based on the marks currently recorded on the system for your already assessed modules this year.

13. What will appear on my transcript of marks?

The actual mark you achieved in each module will appear on your transcript irrespective of whether your degree is based on your protected position, or on your actual marks.

Foundation (Level 3) and First year (Level 4) undergraduate students

Progression to the next level of study

1. Have any changes been made to the normal rules?

Yes, the University has made some changes to the normal requirements to try to minimise the impact of the pandemic on students’ chances of progressing this year.

The key changes that have been made are:

  • Students will be allowed to proceed with marks of less than 30% in up to 40 credits. The normal position is that you must get a mark of at least 30% in all modules in order to proceed.
  • You will be allowed to take re-sits even if you have failed more than 60 credits. The normal position is that you would have to repeat the year if you had failed more than 60 credits.

2. Do I still need to take my semester 2 assessments?

Yes, in order to progress to the next level of study, all students must pass 80 credits.

3. I have failed modules in semester 1, will I have the chance to re-take the assessments?

This will depend on whether the failures are ‘tolerable’ under the normal regulations. ‘Tolerability’ of failure depends on the marks awarded and the number of credits failed.

4. I was told earlier in the year that I have to pass 60 credits in order to qualify for re-sits, is this still the case?

The usual requirement is that students must pass 60 credits in order to qualify to take re-sits. This requirement will be waived at the June exam boards, so even if you have failed more than 60 credits, you will be able to re-sit your failed modules in the August assessment period.

5. If I fail a semester 2 module, will I be able to re-sit?

First year students who qualify to progress after the June board, will not be able to re-sit failed modules. You are to be allowed to fail up to 40 credits (with no minimum mark requirement) and still progress.

6. Will my re-sit marks be capped?

No, marks in first year re-sits are never capped.

How does the Safety Net apply if I am a Visiting or an Exchange student undertaking a period of study abroad at Swansea University?

For students undertaking a period of study abroad at Swansea University during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, any Safety Net Policy will be applied by your home institution.

During this period you will be offered alternative assessment provision that you are encouraged to engage with. You will also have access to the revised Extenuating Circumstances Policy and you will be offered supplementary assessment for any failed modules.

If you are unable to complete your planned period of study due to travel restrictions, please contact your home institution who should provide information about how these circumstances will be taken into account.

I am a student who was unable to complete my exchange/study abroad placement.

Arrangements for your specific circumstances have been organised by your College/School. Please contact your College/School directly.