University students plea for ‘safety net’ to protect final grades during coronavirus disruption

Students from the University of Suffolk are worried the coronavirus disruption could cost them the g

Students from the University of Suffolk are worried the coronavirus disruption could cost them the grades they deserve. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Students at the University of Suffolk are appealing for a safety net to be introduced to ensure the disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis is not detrimental to their final grades.

Stella Parmenter is a law student at the University of Suffolk and is worried her future plans of st

Stella Parmenter is a law student at the University of Suffolk and is worried her future plans of studying a PHD are in jeopardy. Picture: STELLA PARMENTER - Credit: Archant

Having worked hard for several years in the hope of achieving top grades, final year students studying law at the university have launched a petition to protect them during the lockdown.

They are asking the university to enact a policy of ‘no detriment’ to ensure students receive a grade which, at minimum, will match the average they had attained up to March 23 – meaning if someone achieves an average of 60% then their final degree classification is secured as a minimum of second class honours.

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Stella Parmenter, from Helmingham, is a law student at the Suffolk campus and has been involved in driving the crucial petition forward.

Law students at the University of Suffolk have launched a petition to enact a policy of no detriment

Law students at the University of Suffolk have launched a petition to enact a policy of no detriment. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK - Credit: Archant

“This current situation is very stressful,” the 25-year-old said. “Most of us work in hospitality jobs and so now we don’t have any work.

“The majority of people on my degree course are mature students and many are parents too – they are now juggling home schooling with home studying.”


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While students are able to complete their learning from home, Miss Parmenter says it “just isn’t the same” as some of the resources the university usually provides are not available online, such as certain library services.

She is worried her future plans to complete a PHD could be ruined if universities do not account for the disruption – other institutions enacting similar policies include Exeter and St Andrews.

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Miss Parmenter added: “I think the no detriment policy is reasonable as it doesn’t give us a free pass, it just guarantees what we have already worked hard for, which is our previous grades – this policy is just our safety net.”

A spokesperson for the University of Suffolk said: “The Students’ Union is currently working with the University to put in place a temporary policy around assessment and examination boards.

“The concerns raised by students have been noted and we will make sure that our new arrangements will take students best interest into account.

“We will be looking to ensure that our students will achieve their academic programmes learning outcomes and therefore are not disadvantaged.”

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