As we enter the summer assessment period, we have been thinking hard about how we can support you at a very difficult time and we have agreed and launched a ‘no detriment’ approach. Madeline Eacott, our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), tells us more.

Some students have told me you are anxious about what this might mean for you and your circumstances. So I wanted to provide you with reassurance that whatever your circumstances, whatever your course, you are in our thinking and the approach applies to you. I want to start by outlining the principles of our approach and the values that underlie our thinking. This means that if we have a circumstance that is not completely covered in our guidance or FAQs, you can be sure that we will apply our principles to ensure the fairest outcome for you.

Principles of our ‘no detriment’ approach

Principle 1: Student success is at the heart of our thinking

We understand that these have been difficult times for you and we want to support you to succeed to the best of your ability. We recognise the difficult circumstances and know that you may not be at your best at the moment. We will take this into account to give you every opportunity to fulfil your potential to succeed.

Principle 2: Our courses offer a high quality transformative education

We want to recognise your achievements by providing you with opportunities to demonstrate your learning so that you can graduate with pride. But if now is not the right time for you to demonstrate your learning, we understand and we will provide you with other opportunities when the time is right, without any penalty.

Our no detriment approach applies to everyone on a taught course at Essex, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, whether you are in your first year of study with us or final year. We may not yet have the answer to every question you may have at the moment but you can rely on these principles to be confident that we are seeking the best outcome for you.

What no detriment means for everyone:

  1. If you can’t take your alternative assessment as timetabled, for any reason, no detriment: we will offer you another opportunity with no penalty.
  2. If you take an assessment but feel that under the current circumstances, you are not at your best, no detriment: we will offer you another opportunity with no penalty.
  3. If your year group as a whole perform more poorly on your module than we would expect based on the last three years of students on that module, no detriment: we will consider the marks to ensure that you are not disadvantaged.
  4. The Board of Examiners will consider the situation of every student based on their results and ensure that the pandemic situation does not disadvantage them, no detriment.

Not yet having met the learning outcomes

We know that some of you are concerned because you have not taken, or passed, assessments in your modules earlier in the year, that have allowed you to demonstrate the full range of your learning. We describe this as not yet having met the learning outcomes. If this is you, the opportunity to take the assessments during the summer term enables you to demonstrate your achievements and to meet the learning outcomes. I want to assure you that our no detriment approach also applies to you. While we want you to take assessments to demonstrate your learning, we will apply the no detriment approach above, particularly point 3. In this way, we will ensure that undertaking assessment during this difficult situation does not disadavantage you and you will achieve as well as previous year groups who did not face the difficulties you have had. If you feel that the current situation has impacted you beyond those experienced by your year group as a whole, you can submit an extenuating circumstances form to explain, and the Board of Examiners will take this into account for your individual marks as well as any adjustment they may make to marks of the whole year group.

Help and support for you

We know this is a difficult time for you but although we cannot be together at our campuses, we are still here to help and support you. If you have any other questions about your assessments, please check our FAQs online or contact the professional services team in your Department or School. We have created a dedicated set of COVID-19 webpages, which provide information on the support available and they are updated regularly. For specific queries relating to COVID-19, please email our team at

Our Student Services Hubs for Colchester, Southend and Loughton campuses can be contacted by phone, email and live chat facilities; and our Library team can live chat via the website or you can email them enquiries at

Remember that we want you to succeed and are here to support you.

Madeline Eacott

PVC Education