Following vigorous lobbying from students and the Sabbatical Officers of the Student Union, Oxford University has announced that, in consideration of the difficulties students continue to face during the pandemic, they will adopt several principles to support a fairer assessment process.
The Oxford SU Sabbatical Officers, who advocated for changes through the Fair Outcomes for Students campaign, said they are “pleased to see the University has announced they will be adopting some of these principles”. They have heralded the changes laid out by the University as “a major win for Oxford SU and for students”.
The policies being applied by the University are:
- To rescale exam marks for all cohorts by “comparing the overall class distribution as well as the mean and spread of marks” to those achieved in prior years, and to “adjusting by scaling if necessary” to ensure that the current finalists do not see a decrease in marks from those in previous years.
- Making the mitigating circumstances process easier and removing the need for students to provide medical evidence when making their applications.
- Allowing “explanatory statements” to be considered when marking some coursework submissions affected by access to resources. These will enable students to highlight barriers and disruptions they faced during their course.
While supportive of the changes by the University, the Sabbatical Officers have called on the University to go further, saying “we believe still more can be implemented to ensure fair outcomes for students” and that they will “be continuing our work to ensure that students get the best deal for their exams and assessment this year”.
As part of ongoing dialogue, the Student Union team has encouraged students to work alongside them and “to get in touch with SU representatives and staff if you are lobbying your department on fair outcomes for your course”.
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