There will be no universal grade bump for Otago students due to lockdown. Assignments due between 18 to 27 August will be given an extra five marks, and markers have been urged to consider passing students with a final mark of 47 to 49 percent.
Professor Pat Cragg, the University’s Academic Deputy-Vice-Chancellor, told Critic that the key reasons for not allocating a grade bump were due to the level of disruption. Pat pointed out that 2020’s lockdown lasted for seven weeks, and only came down to Level 2 with two weeks left in the semester. It was also a completely new experience for everyone involved.
This year, with everyone already familiar with lockdown, things didn’t last quite as long. “We have reached Alert Level 2 in semester two after only three weeks of lockdown and with six more weeks of the semester still left. Hence the disruption for most students is far more minor,” said Pat.
But that’s not to say that there is no relief for struggling students. Pat reminded Critic that special consideration is still open for applications, “should [a student] feel they have particular circumstances that should be taken account of.” Additionally, students on the cusp of failing a paper this year may be in luck. Pat said that “academic staff have been asked to carefully consider the pass/fail margin. In the case of students who achieve 47-49 percent and have shown evidence of pass marks in all other assignments in that paper, to consider whether a pass mark is more appropriate for the final exam.”
No other New Zealand Universities are offering grade bumps this year, even the ones up North, who were most heavily affected by lockdown.
Students remain hungry for any free marks they can get, with one anonymous student telling Critic that “they’ve shown me that they can give out free marks once, now I’ll be chasing that forever. I’m hungry. I’ve tasted blood. They’re going to have to put me down like a rabid animal. I want that grade bump.”