60,000 extensions granted last year

The University of Edinburgh gave out more deadline extensions than the total number of students last year, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.

The university approved more than 60,000 requests from students to have more time to do their assessments in the 2020/21 academic year, despite the fact that there are only around 35,000 students at the university. 

Speaking about the number of extensions granted, a university spokesperson told The Student:

“Due to the unprecedented issues arising as the result of the pandemic last year, all students who wanted extensions were guaranteed them if they applied before the deadline and the assessment permitted extensions.

“Also, students sit multiple assessments and so may therefore have submitted multiple extension requests over the year, covering a number of different assessments.”

The Student investigation also revealed that at the University of Glasgow, the number of ‘special circumstances’ requests received and approved more than doubled in 2020/21 compared to the previous year.

This is when students facing ill health or other forms of adversity are granted extensions or the chance to resit examinations.

In the 2019/20 academic year, most universities established a ‘no detriment’ policy which meant grades students received that year could not negatively impact their degree result, in recognition of the profound disruption to their education.

Most universities, including the the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow, repealed this the next year, with the Russell Group declaring that repealing the policy was necessary to “uphold the integrity of our degrees”.

In 2020, a National Union of Students survey found that more than 50 per cent of students reported a mental health decline after the pandemic started.

It remains unclear whether universities in Scotland will return to total in-person teaching in the coming academic year.

Image: Geograph, Richard West