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NTU's approach to assignments and assessments

City campus

At Nottingham Trent University we care deeply about the education and the future of every one of our students. All the decisions we make are based on the principles of fairness and transparency. They are put together and tested to make sure they work in the long-term interests of the whole cohort of students studying with us.

Like most Universities, and like most students, we have transformed our approach to learning over the past few weeks. Each NTU School has taken care that this revised approach, whether for teaching or assessment, does not disadvantage any student and is sensitive to the individual needs of students across all courses.

Our approach

We find ourselves in very uncertain times and we know that current events will be causing students anxiety. We understand that preparing for assessments this year will be challenging, both in practical and emotional terms. This is not the University experience our students were expecting, but there remains important value in our students continuing to study, to revise, and to take assessments.

Each course team has reviewed in great depth its assessment format and schedule and considered what is the most appropriate and equitable solution for its students.

Many deadlines have been extended to ensure assessments are spread out, both to give our students more time to prepare and to balance their work across the assessment period. Online alternatives to timed examinations have been developed (such as open book assessments) and students have been given more time to complete them.

We have also changed our assessment policies. We are not introducing a blanket policy for the whole University but instead considering what is reasonable and necessary for each subject and for each course.

Our guiding principles

Throughout this process of redesign of assessments we have sought to:

  • be fair to all students, making sure that no one is disadvantaged by the selection of an arbitrary date for determining minimum academic achievement;
  • enable students to continue or complete their studies with the opportunity of graduating on time with a degree that reflects accurately their ability and effort;
  • revise our teaching provision to ensure students can demonstrate their learning to an accredited level, and recognising the important role of assessment and feedback in students’ development;
  • support both student learning and emotional welfare; and
  • uphold the value of our students’ qualifications.

We are committed to ensuring that this international crisis does not disrupt the future of our NTU community. We are doing all we can to ensure students feel supported in progressing or graduating as they planned before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged.

Practical Steps

We will therefore:

  1. ensure that there is no disadvantage to this student cohort by moderating all grades if we find that they do not follow the distribution of marks for the module or course from recent years;
  2. give Examination Boards special powers to ensure no student is disadvantaged, for example to award a grade even where some credit is missing;
  3. where individual students know that their situation has adversely affected their grade, we will offer them the opportunity to retake the assessment; and
  4. work closely with Nottingham Trent Students’ Union on the implementation and oversight of our approach to ensure it delivers the fairness that we all wish to see.

Individual assessment schedules will be issued on Tuesday 31 March, so if you are a NTU student please check your NTU email account.

We understand the concerns and uncertainties our students are experiencing. We know how important end of year - and especially final year - assignments and assessments are.

That is why we have taken the time to consider and develop a fair, thorough, and tailored approach which is specific to each course. Our NTU students are all unique and so should be our solutions to support them through their studies over the coming months.

We believe that this combination of these measures will ensure that there should be no detriment to any student as a result of the crisis. They enable us also to undertake the assessments for first and second year students that they have been working hard towards since last October.

I hope that this statement makes our position clear and gives reassurance that we are taking a fair and measured approach in these difficult circumstances.

Professor Edward Peck

Further support

If you need any emotional, financial or pastoral support during these extraordinary times please email

You can access the NTSU Information and Advice Service for further advice.

Published on 31 March 2020