By Deirbhile Ní Bhranáin, MA Media in Development
On 14 January, SOAS announced the updates to its No Detriment Policy in an email to all students. The updates apply to all students except those enrolled in the Language Centre, or enrolled on Online Distance Learning (ODL) courses.
Here’s the policy, broken down:
- Students will only need 75 credits to progress to the next year of study rather than the usual 90. Typically full year modules are 30 credits and half year modules are 15 credits.
- For final year students, your overall degree result will be calculated in two ways. The first way will be across your last two years as usual, and the second way will be on the basis of your strongest 90 credits this year. Whichever of these is a higher result will be awarded as your final classification.
- Students can pass their degree with one failed module, provided you score 30% or more, and it is not a core module.
Students can pass their degree with one failed module. This is provided you score 40% or more, and it is not a core module.
The Exam Board will compare exam results to those of previous years, to ensure that students this year are not unfairly disadvantaged.
Revised Marking Criteria:
Marking for all assignments will take into account issues that may arise as a result of the pandemic, for example increased dependence on IT, adjustment to remote learning, travel restrictions, and caring commitments. Marking will also take into account the high levels of anxiety or other mental stress which may be caused by the current circumstances.
The information page related to the revised marking criteria states: ‘In the current context, marking will need to take account of the fact that students will have limited resources, and so criteria/grading should take account of the limited source materials which may be available to students. … We must [also] pay attention to student emotional wellbeing.’
SOAS has also announced that Online Departmental Forums are being held in the upcoming weeks, where these changes will be explained in detail and students can ask questions. As of 4 February about half of these forums have happened already. Keep an eye on your email inbox for further details.
‘SOAS recognises that students this year are facing continued challenges and uncertainty as a result of Covid-19… We hope that these measures will help students to succeed in their studies this year.’
The Academic Registrar, Jenni Rhodes, commented: ‘SOAS recognises that students this year are facing continued challenges and uncertainty as a result of Covid-19. We’re glad to be able to continue our undergraduate no detriment policy, and introduce additional measures such as postgraduate condonement, alongside other sources of support such as amended marking criteria, additional hardship funds, and a more accessible mitigating circumstances procedure. We hope that these measures will help students to succeed in their studies this year whilst maintaining the standards of SOAS degrees.’
If students are struggling with assignments, the updated Mitigating Circumstances policy allows students to self-certify for a period of physical and/or mental distress. This means that an extension will be granted to you without proof from a doctor or counsellor. You can make use of this form twice throughout the year.
Photo caption: In the current context, marking will need to take account of the fact that students will have limited resources (Credit: @craftedbygc).