COVID-19 Information for Students
Message to students about assessments and final grades - 22 May
Covid-19: Assessments and final grades
Tēnā koutou katoa,
I hope you are well and have stayed safe while enjoying the new freedoms of Alert Level 2.
As we approach the end of the trimester, it’s timely for me to provide some clarity about how the University will be taking Covid-19 into consideration when it comes to your assessments and final grades for A Trimester.
Firstly, I know this has been a very challenging time for you, and studying entirely online has been a completely new experience for many. It is important to me that the disruption of Covid-19 does not detrimentally impact your assessment and final grades, so below is what we’re going to do to ensure you are not unfairly disadvantaged.
- Under normal circumstances, students who face extra difficulties or challenging personal circumstances can apply to have their performance (internal assessment, tests and final paper grades) reviewed. The range of provisions for ‘impaired performance’ vary, but would normally be initiated in response to an application by an individual student.
- Because of Covid-19, we are going to automatically apply ‘impaired performance’ criteria to all students for A Trimester without the need for them to apply. This means that for A Trimester, every student will be assessed on the basis that they have experienced unanticipated and challenging circumstances beyond their control.
- In applying ‘impaired performance’ universally across all students’ work we will be doing the following:
- Looking at every student’s grades individually through a moderation process with the Board of Examiners of each Division or Faculty. The Board will consider whether your grades are out of alignment with your average grades in previous trimesters / papers. If your grade or grades are lower than normal, they will be adjusted to bring them into line with your previous grade average.
- Similarly, we will be reviewing every paper to check whether the average grade has changed from that in previous years. If we find that a paper has produced an average grade that is lower than what we have seen in the past, we will scale up the grades of that paper. For example, if a paper has had an average grade of a B+ for all students who took that paper, but this year the average grade is a B, we will scale up so that the grades are in line with previous grade averages. Under no circumstances will we scale grades down.
- For first year students who do not have past grades that we can compare, this principle of reviewing the average grades of the same paper in previous years will be particularly important.
- Boards of Examiners will pay special attention to students who are close to either passing or failing a paper to ensure a fair outcome. We do not want students to fail unfairly. Anyone who does receive a fail grade for a paper will not have this counted toward their Grade Point Average (GPA).
There will also be an opportunity for students who have faced additional or extreme challenges above and beyond the norm associated with Covid-19 to seek further consideration. For example, if you contracted Covid-19, or found yourself caring for a family member who contracted the virus, you will be able to apply for your grade for a paper(s) to be reconsidered. More information on how to apply for this will be shared soon.
While these principles do not mean that students will automatically have their grades ‘scaled up’ as some other universities are doing, we believe this is the best way to ensure you are not disadvantaged, and that the integrity of your grades, and eventually, your qualification at the University of Waikato is retained.
In some cases your grade will not change because it is in keeping with your past academic record and the average grade of the paper in previous years, but in other cases your grade may be raised by more than one band, for example, from a B to an A- because of a combination of factors that we judge came together to negatively impact your performance.
You can have confidence that we have your best interests at the forefront of our decision-making.
In the meantime, keep in touch with your lecturers and let them know of any issues that may have impacted or continue to impact your academic performance.
Ngā mihi nui,
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, shares a video message for students.
As we return back to teaching after the break, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley shares his support and advice for our students for the coming weeks as we move into COVID-19 Alert Level 3.