Coronavirus: Assessment Update

Friday 03-04-2020 - 16:21

For the past three weeks, we as your elected Student Leaders at the Students’ Union have been in close discussions with the College about how they best support students through the Coronavirus pandemic. We wanted to give you an update on our work over the past few weeks. 

We have sought to reach a settlement for students that offers students as much choice and flexibility as possible. 

Based on conversations and correspondence from hundreds of students, we decided to lobby for a no-detriment policy, so that students facing significant disruption are able to pass their modules without needing to complete their exams, but that students are also able to have the opportunity to attempt their exams and attain a higher module mark. 

Summer term exams 

We are pleased to announce that our negotiations have largely been a success, and through our lobbying and support from academic allies, we have secured a College-wide no detriment policy

This means that summer term exams will all go ahead online, in the most accessible, low-tech, way possible. We encourage you to attempt these exams if you can, as with the no detriment policy being applied, you will have nothing to lose by attempting it. 

Mitigating circumstances 

While we lobbied for the university to offer as much choice and flexibility as possible, we are very aware of the fact that many students will simply not be able to complete their summer term assessments and may have fell behind on coursework over the past month. 

We lobbied for changes to the mitigating circumstances policy which mean that no documentary evidence will be required for any claims, and acceptable grounds for mitigating circumstances have been extended to include any kind of significant disruption caused by COVID-19. From reduced access to quiet study space, to additional parenting and caring responsibilities, being just some of the non-exhaustive list of examples that will be accepted as grounds for mitigating circumstances in the guidance linked above. 

You should contact your department as your first point of contact for any guidance about summer term assessments, mitigating circumstances, or how the no-detriment policy will apply to your course. 

We would also like to thank Professor David Latchman, Professor Diane Houston, Professor Matt Innes, Fraser Keir and everyone else at the College, for proactively consulting with us over the last few weeks and taking almost all the Students’ Union’s feedback on board. 

If you have any other issues you would like the SU to be lobbying on, or to know about our lobbying on other issues surrounding the Coronavirus situation or any other matter, please email us at, or email me and Barney directly at, and 

To see the College guidance and their response to the Coronavirus outbreak, click here

Alex Holmes and Barney O'Connor 

Student Leaders, Birkbeck Students' Union 

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