Assessment policy and procedure

Purpose

1. The UK Quality Code for Higher Education requires the University to ensure academic standards and quality through the consistent operation of assessment processes which are equitable, valid, reliable and fair. Moreover, consistent and equitable practice across the University is essential to the integrity of its assessment processes and to the comparability of its students’ expectation and experience. The key purpose of this policy is to facilitate the University meeting its obligations in respect of assessment.

2. The policy and procedure also support the operation of transparent effective, equitable assessment practices based on strong pedagogy and underpinned by a focus on inclusion.

3. The policy exists within a suite of policies relevant to assessment comprising: 

  • Assessment Policy
  • Feedback Policy
  • Boards of Examiners Policy and Procedure
  • External Examining Policy and Procedure
  • Examination Policy and Procedure
  • Academic Integrity Policy and Academic Misconduct Procedure

4. The policy operates in conjunction with the University’s academic regulations both in broad terms and specifically relating to assessment. In particular, the policy and procedure support and operationalise regulations.

Definitions

5. Assessment. Assessment is a fundamental aspect of the student learning experience that enables learning, both as part of the task and through review of performance. It is a vehicle for obtaining feedback and ultimately, it determines whether a student has achieved learning outcomes.

6. Class. A class includes teaching sessions, tutorials, seminars or laboratory sessions.

7. Clear Fail. A clear fail is one where a mark for the module is 29 or less for undergraduate modules or 39 or less for postgraduate taught modules.

8. Compensation. The formal awarding of a pass mark for a module where the module mark achieved is just below the pass mark, and where this can be considered appropriate through the application of the specified University process and points of policy relevant to compensation, taking into account the student’s performance in other modules.

9. Compulsory Assessment. Where a module has Compulsory Module Requirements, within these requirements an assessment element may be designated as compulsory where completing and passing the assessment is a precondition for successfully completing and receiving credit for the module.

10. Compulsory Class or Activity. Where a module has Compulsory Module Requirements, within these requirements a class or an activity may be designated as compulsory where attendance at the class/participation in the activity is a precondition for successfully completing and receiving credit for the module.

11. Compulsory Module Requirement. A requirement that is a precondition for the successful completion and award of credit for a module. They may include: a compulsory class; a prescribed class; a compulsory class.

12. Element of Assessment. A module is assessed by one or more assessment activities (e.g. examination, coursework, or practical). These activities are referred to as assessment elements and contribute to the overall assessment for the module.

13. Formative Assessment. Assessment with a developmental purpose, designed to help learners learn more effectively through practice and by giving them feedback on their performance and how it can be improved and/or maintained. Reflective practice by students sometimes contributes to formative assessment. Typically marks awarded for formative assessments do not count towards the final marks of the module.

14. Marginal Fail. A marginal fail is one where a mark for the module is in the range 30 to 39 for undergraduate modules or 40 to 49 for postgraduate taught modules.

15. Moderation. A process separate from marking which provides assurance that assessment criteria are designed and applied appropriately.

16. Post-Assessment Moderation. The process by which the University ensures that summative assessments have been marked in an academically rigorous manner and that assessment criteria have been applied appropriately. It is not a mechanism to resolve differences between markers or to make changes to individual student’s marks.

17. Pre-Assessment Moderation. The process by which summative assessment is reviewed prior to it being provided to students to ensure it has been rigorously and appropriately designed, taking account of the agreed module learning outcomes, marking criteria and the importance of clarity for students.

18. Prescribed Class or Activity. Where a module has Compulsory Module Requirements, within these requirements a class or an activity may be designated as prescribed when a student is required to attend/participate in at least two thirds of the classes/activity. Failure to do so results in the module mark being capped at the minimum pass mark.

19. Second Marking. The process which facilitates consistency in marking practice through a student’s work being marked for a second time and the final mark of a summative assessment is determined prior to consideration by the Module Board.

20. Summative Assessment. Used to indicate the extent to which a learner has met the learning outcomes of a module or course. Typically marks awarded for summative assessments count towards the final mark of the module.

Scope

21. This policy and procedure applies to all of the University’s taught programmes, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Points of Policy and Procedure

General

22. Whilst this policy does not prevent faculties from introducing assessment practices or procedures that are additional to those set out in the policy, no practice or procedure may be adopted that either conflicts with or undermines it.

23. All staff undertaking assessment activities including the designing of assessment, marking, moderation and second marking are trained in the use of the Common Marking Scheme (CMS) and the institution’s assessment regulations and policy. The Academic Development Team designs and provides appropriate training and development activity on an ongoing basis in respect of this.

Faculty Roles

24. Each faculty shall appoint:

  • One Faculty Chief Examiner who has overall responsibility for the assessment and examination process for the Faculty. The Dean of Faculty should not normally be the Faculty Chief Examiner.
  • Subject Examiners to subject areas/divisions as appropriate, who have responsibility for assessment and the examination process in their area.
  • A Faculty Examinations Officer who is responsible for operational matters and liaison with Academic Registry. The Faculty Chief Examiner should not act as Faculty Examinations Officer.
  • Examinations Officers to subject areas/divisions as appropriate, who are responsible for operational matters and liaison with Academic Registry in their area.

Design of Assessment

25. Assessment must be designed to: be effective in encouraging a high standard and depth of learning; be authentic and reliable; be consistent in level and challenge across comparable modules; support equality, diversity and inclusion; achieve a balance between formative and summative assessments; focus on attainment in an area of learning rather than on the accumulation of marks; and encourage reflection on feedback.

26. Assessment and learning should be integrated and therefore, assessment must be designed to align with and assess the specified learning outcomes for the module and the programme. Assessment criteria should therefore be directly related to learning outcomes, and along with broader information relevant to instruction and regulation, must be transparent and explicit for all assessments.

27. Module information provided by the Faculty must specify the elements of the assessment and the weight of each element in the assessment of the module as a whole. The weights should be expressed in percentages.

28. The assessment load should be as light as is compatible with providing adequate opportunity for students to:

  • engage in formative exercises to develop as learners;
  • demonstrate achievement of the relevant learning outcomes;
  • recover from occasional poor performance.

29. In order that students may have the opportunity to develop as wide a range of skills as possible, and to prevent repetitiveness, the University is committed to providing a variety of assessment methods. No degree programme should rely upon only one or two forms of assessment.

30. If written assignments are to be marked in part on presentation, spelling, grammar, punctuation, or observation of scholarly conventions, this must be explicitly stated. It should not be assumed that this is implicitly understood.

Conduct of Assessments

31. All assessments must be conducted in line with University regulation, policy and procedure.

32. The Policy on Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct Procedure set out the expectations of students and staff in respect of academic integrity and the procedure to be followed where it is suspected that a piece of work submitted by a student for assessment may demonstrate academic misconduct.

Compulsory Module Requirements

33. Compulsory Module Requirements are those which are so fundamental to the learning outcomes of the module that failure to complete/pass/attend/attempt any or all of these elements would result in failure to meet the learning outcomes of the module, even if other aspects of the module have been successfully undertaken. A module may or may not have compulsory requirements.

34. Full details of any Compulsory Module Requirements should be published in the module information provided by the Faculty together with details of the consequences of failure/non-submission of these requirements, clearly indicating whether resit/reassessment is available.

35. Elements of assessment may be a Compulsory Module Requirement and therefore must be passed in order for the module learning outcomes to be met.

36. Elements of attendance or participation in an activity may be compulsory either through a class or activity being designated as being compulsory or as prescribed. Where a student fails to attend/participate in 2/3 of any prescribed classes/activity the student’s mark will be restricted to a maximum of 40 for undergraduate and 50 for postgraduate taught study. The Attendance and Engagement Policy also sets out these details on this topic, and the potential impact of not meeting compulsory or prescribed requirements.

Submission and Return of Assessed Work

37. Materials submitted for assessment must be identified only by the student’s registration number or username.

38. Clear guidance should be given in module information provided by the Faculty on the process by which assignments are to be submitted. Faculties should keep a dated record of all assignments received.

39. Students should retain a digital copy of the final version of all work submitted.

40. In line with the Feedback Policy, students are entitled to receive marks and feedback on coursework in order that the assessment exercise may perform an educative function. Clear guidance should be given in student and module information provided by the Faculty on the Faculty process by which feedback on submitted work is returned to students. With the exception of dissertations, feedback should always be returned within 15 working days of submission.

41. Students are entitled to an explanation of how the mark awarded for their work relates to the relevant assessment criteria.

42. Individual feedback on examinations will not normally be provided. However, faculties are encouraged to provide general feedback on the overall examination performance.

43. Students are strongly encouraged to retain feedback provided for future reference purposes.

44. The Feedback Policy sets out more detail on the provision of feedback to students on their completed assessments.

45. Six months after the relevant Board of Examiners, all items of student work submitted for assessment not collected by students, and all examination scripts, are destroyed (particular circumstances apply if assessment materials form part of an appeal or are required for professional/statutory bodies, and for dissertations retained for reference purposes: please refer to the University’s policy on retention of taught course assessed material and research theses).

Extensions for Coursework

46. Students are responsible for their own workload planning and endeavouring to complete coursework within deadlines. Extension requests are considered and granted at the discretion of academic staff, taking into account the circumstances and the nature of the assessment, and can be granted for up to 7 days for coursework and 14 days for dissertations.

47. Where a student requests an extension based on their ARUAA in addition to other circumstances in terms of this policy, they may be granted a maximum total extension of 14 days for coursework (i.e. 7 days ARUAA + 7 days other circumstances) and 21 days for dissertations (i.e. 7 days ARUAA + 14 days other circumstances).

48. Extensions should be requested in advance of submission deadlines for coursework but can be granted only in certain circumstances. All requests should be considered by the module co-ordinator or other designated person within the faculty. A divisional/faculty record must be kept of extensions granted.

49. The circumstances that the University considers may justify an extension for coursework are:

Unavoidable detention elsewhere:

  • In hospital on/before date of submission.
  • In court/detention on/before date of submission.
  • Participation in authorised national or international sporting competition or authorised national sports training camps.
  • Formally representing the University.

Medical circumstances:

  • Confined to bed or otherwise unable to attend University.
  • Ability to work seriously impaired on or before the date of submission.
  • Disability grounds which have been acknowledged by the University under an Academic Record of Access Adjustment (ARUAA).

Compassionate circumstances:

  • Death of a close person.
  • Sudden acute or serious illness or injury (including serious mental illness) of a close person.

The definition of a ‘close person’ is a family member (parent/guardian, spouse/partner, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild) or someone living at the same address as the student.

50. Other circumstances may also be considered to be exceptional and circumstances other than those set out in 88 will be considered on their own merits. Where this is the case, supporting documentation should be provided wherever possible and the student may be asked to discuss their case in person with the Dean of Faculty/nominee in the first instance.

51. Whether or not an extension is granted is normally an academic decision. Medical evidence is taken into account but does not guarantee an automatic extension. No medical evidence will be required for students where the reason for the extension is within their ARUAA, in which case students should specify the reason as “ARUAA”.

52. For illness of less than seven days, and for the first seven days of any period of illness, self-certification should be provided by the student through the portal.

53. For illness of more than seven days a medical certificate should normally be provided (where possible) indicating the nature of the symptoms that prevented the student from attending University on the dates in question.

54. It is the student’s responsibility to provide appropriate certificated evidence of illness illness or other supporting documentation e.g. certificated evidence of illness from an appropriately registered medical practitioner (including a doctor’s note/letter; record of hospital admission; letter from a consultant or other specialist; letter from a counsellor), police incident number notification, copy of court citation, hospital, doctor, copy death certificate or related document; letter of confirmation from Student Support Services or independent third party; confirmation from an employer provided on their headed notepaper.

Deferred Examinations

55. Deferred examinations are a concession intended to allow students, who are unable to attend examinations, or who are compelled by illness to leave before the completion of an examination, to take examinations at a later date. Deferred examinations will only be available to replace the first examination diet and where a student chooses to defer an examination they will relinquish their right to take a resit of the examination.

56. Deferred examinations are only granted to students whose absence or withdrawal is on acceptable grounds (see paragraph 59) and only if any other Compulsory Module Requirements have been met. Where these requirements are not met, the student may apply to the Faculty for a resit, subject to the provisions of paragraphs 108 - 113.

57. Students are expected to apply for deferral of all examinations or all remaining examinations in the examination diet. However, students may elect to sit their remaining examinations at the main diet if the grounds cited no longer prevent them from taking the remaining examinations.

58. Applications for deferred examinations should be made via the Deferred Examination Application Procedure which is set out here.

59. Acceptable Grounds for a Deferred Examination are:

Attendance Grounds:

The student must have been detained elsewhere on the date of the examination, e.g.:

  • in hospital;
  • in court/detention;
  • participating in authorised national or international sporting competition or authorised national sports training camps;
  • by a disability previously disclosed to the Disability Adviser;
  • representing the University.

Medical Grounds:

The student must be suffering from physical or mental symptoms that cause them unexpectedly to be unable to either attend or to complete an examination.

Where an application for examination deferral is made following a student having started an examination but having been unable to complete it for medical reasons, it must be supported by a formal report in writing from the invigilator of the incomplete examination. An application on the grounds of being unable to complete an examination for medical reasons will not be accepted if the student has left within the last quarter of the examination period.

An application on medical grounds must be supported by a medical certificate from an appropriately registered medical practitioner (including a doctor’s note/letter; record of hospital admission; letter from a consultant or other specialist; letter from a counsellor). This should give the symptoms, but not necessarily the nature of the illness or injury, and the student should authorise the doctor to disclose this information.

Medical grounds which may have adversely affected a student’s academic work leading up to an examination are ‘extenuating circumstances’ and therefore not acceptable grounds for a deferred examination. Details of how extenuating circumstances are taken into account is set out in the Boards of Examiners Policy and Procedure.

Compassionate Grounds:

The student must be suffering bereavement or similar distress to the extent that they cannot be expected to attend the examination, e.g.:

  • Death of a close person during or just before the examination period;
  • Acute or serious illness or injury (including serious mental illness) of a close person during or just before the examination period.

The definition of a ‘close person’ is, for example, a family member (parent/guardian, spouse/partner, son/daughter, brother/sister, grandparent, grandchild) or someone living at the same address as the student.

Disability Grounds:

In cases where a student, through the University’s Disability Adviser, has disclosed a disability to the University, deferred exams may be granted when that student’s ability to prepare adequately by the date of the exam has been significantly impeded. Applications on such grounds will require to be supported by a statement from the University’s Disability Adviser.

When a disability prevents attendance at the examination, a deferred examination will be considered on Attendance Grounds.

Other exceptional grounds:

Whilst other grounds will not normally be accepted, exceptional individual circumstances will be considered on their merits. Supporting documentation should be provided wherever possible.

60. The following will not be considered acceptable grounds for deferred examination applications:

  • going on holiday;
  • returning home early;
  • attending weddings or other family occasions other than funerals;
  • misreading the examination timetable or attending at the wrong time;
  • failing to check changes between the provisional and final examination timetables;
  • failure to get up in time;
  • transport difficulty;
  • death or illness of pets.

In any of the above circumstances students may contact the appropriate Faculty to request a discretionary resit. If granted, the module mark will be capped at 40 for UG and 50 for PGT.

61. It is the student’s responsibility to provide supporting documentation, wherever possible, to support an application. e.g. certificated evidence of illness from an appropriately registered medical practitioner (including a doctor’s note/letter; record of hospital admission; letter from a consultant or other specialist; letter from a counsellor), police incident number notification, copy of court citation, hospital, doctor, copy death certificate or related document; letter of confirmation from Student Support Services, the University’s Disability Advisor or independent third party; confirmation from an employer provided on their headed notepaper.

Dissertation Submission

62. Where personal circumstances mean that a student is unable to submit their dissertation on the standard due date there are three options available:

  • Extension to the current submission date.
  • Leave of absence and return to the original topic.
  • Leave of absence and return to a new topic.

63. A student who considers that they will be unable to submit their dissertation by the due date must discuss their situation with their dissertation supervisor who will advise the student on these options available to them. The most appropriate option will be considered on a case by case basis, ensuring that academic standards are maintained and all students are treated fairly.

64. Regardless of which of the three options are to be followed, the dissertation supervisor should identify the new submission date. In doing so, the supervisor should consider the date carefully to ensure that there is an equity of provision for all students in terms of time to complete the dissertation, and that any one student is not unduly advantaged or disadvantaged. Consideration should be given to the work undertaken by the student so far, and how much time remains until the original submission date. When, a new submission date has been identified, the relevant dissertation module coordinator should seek approval of the date from the Divisional/Faculty Chief Examiner.

65. Where a student requests an extension of up to 14 days (21 days with an ARUAA) the student must submit an extension request via the Canvas module extension request form, to their Module Coordinator for approval. Where a student requests an extension of longer than 14 days they must complete an Extenuating Circumstances Request Form, and submit this, along  with supporting evidence, to the Faculty for consideration. Extenuating Circumstances Sub-Boards are able to consider and approve extensions of up to three months. Where a student wishes to request an extension of more than three months, the Extenuating Circumstances Sub-Board will consider the request, and then refer it to Academic Registry to arrange for it to be considered by the Education and Student  Experience Committee’s Academic Panel (Taught). In doing so, the Sub-Board must provide an outline of its consideration of the request, and if it would be supportive of its approval. The student will be advised directly of the outcome of their request and where approved, the submission date will be extended by the length of the extension agreed. The student record will be updated accordingly.

66. Where a student is to take a period of leave of absence and then return to the original topic, the new submission date is calculated by the following formula: Original submission date + length of LoA = new submission date. For example: a student commences the dissertation on 1 March, is permitted 6 months to complete, and so is due to submit 31 August.  The student requests leave of absence from 1 June to return 1 January (7 months) and therefore the new submission date is 31 August + 7 months = 31 March. In these circumstances the student should submit a Leave of Absence Request Form via the portal indicating the name of the dissertation supervisor, and the newly agreed submission date, uploading supporting evidence at the same time. Academic Registry will confirm that the leave of absence has been agreed with the Faculty Chief Examiner.  The student will be advised directly of the outcome of their request and where approved, the student record will be updated accordingly. On the student’s return to studies the dissertation supervisor will resume normal supervisory duties. Students retain access to the library whilst on leave of absence.

67. Where a student is to take a period of leave of absence and then return to a new topic, the student will repeat the module at the next available opportunity, and the submission date will be in line with the rest of the cohort. For example: a student commences the dissertation on 1 June and is due to submit 31 August.  The student requests leave of absence on 1 July, with the period of leave of absence being July – May and the student returns in June the following year with a submission date of 31 August. In these circumstances, the student should submit a Leave of Absence Request Form via the portal indicating the name of the dissertation supervisor, and the newly agreed submission date, uploading supporting evidence at the same time. Academic Registry will confirm that the leave of absence has been agreed with the Faculty Chief Examiner.  The student will be advised directly of the outcome of their request and where approved, the student record will be updated accordingly. In addition, the dissertation supervisor will advise the student on the process for the allocation of a new topic. Students retain access to the library whilst on leave of absence. It should be noted that there may be financial implications where leave of absence is requested later than 14 days from commencement of the dissertation.

Marking

68. The University’s Common Marking Schemes (CMS) for undergraduate and postgraduate taught work must be used for marking. The undergraduate CMS is provided in Appendix 1 and the postgraduate taught CMS in Appendix 2.

69. The relevant CMS must appear in all student and module information provided by the Faculty.

70. The CMS marks, and only these marks, are to be used in denoting the levels of student achievement on returned assessments, at all examination boards, in all Faculty and University records and on any public notices. This is unless a module has been approved through the relevant institutional procedure as being exempt from the Common Marking Schemes and assessed on a pass or fail basis only due to the nature of the content of the module and the learning outcomes and competencies to be achieved and assessed. Academic Council delegates authority to the Education and Student Experience Committee, during the specified programme approval processes, to designate modules as exempt from the Common Marking Schemes where its application is inappropriate. The circumstances in which cases are to be considered must relate to the nature of the academic discipline and to the learning outcomes and competencies being assessed.

71. A student registered on a module will be given a mark for each element of assessment.

72.Assessment should be judged based on the level of achievement of the learning outcomes based on the descriptors set out in the Common Marking Scheme before selecting the relevant 0-100 scale mark.  The assessment must not be judged in an opposite process of attributing marks to elements of an assessment (such as with multiple choice tests) and reading across to the criteria, which may imply a level of learning outcome achievement which cannot be warranted by the content of the assessment.

73. The University is committed to preserving the confidentiality of personal information and therefore in all discussions of student performance and public notices of achievement it seeks to avoid the identification of individual students. In all records and public notices of marks and awards students will be identified only by registration number or username.

74. To protect students from unfair or partial assessment and staff from accusations of bias, anonymous marking must be used in assessing all coursework and examinations, including essays, laboratory work and field work, save where this is quite impossible (for example, in live oral language examinations, dissertations and group work). When anonymous marking is not practiced, the reason(s) must be explained clearly in module information provided by the Faculty, and appropriate steps taken to safeguard the impartiality of the assessment process. The sections within this policy on Moderation and Second Marking are relevant to this point.

75. To ensure consistency, faculties/divisions should have clear guidelines for the assessment of incomplete work and where students have failed to follow assessment instructions such as on submission, formatting, word count, referencing style or where a handwritten script is illegible. These guidelines should be available to students.

Moderation and Second Marking

Pre-Assessment Moderation

76. The purpose of pre-assessment moderation is to ensure that: summative assessment is appropriately designed, in an academically rigorous manner with reference to the agreed module learning outcomes and marking criteria; the assessment question(s) and instructions are clear and unambiguous; students can be provided with assurance in relation to the design of their assessments.

77. Pre-assessment moderation takes place before the summative assessment is released to students.

78. Pre-assessment moderators are expected to have experience of teaching and learning and have relevant subject knowledge. Moderators need not be involved in the delivery of the relevant module, but where detailed subject knowledge is essential to determine the suitability of an assessment, then the use of staff teaching on a module is appropriate.

79. Pre-assessment moderation should take place on the basis of: this policy; the stated assessment, the common marking scheme; and the module descriptor, including the learning outcomes, and should consider whether:

a) The assessment(s) design is appropriate and tests the stated module learning outcomes at the appropriate level; AND

b) The assessment’s question(s) and instructions are clear and unambiguous

Second Marking

80. Second marking is operated with the purpose of ensuring: objectivity of marking when anonymous marking cannot be used or where markers are inexperienced; appropriate standards have been applied; the development of markers inexperienced in the approach adopted at the University is supported.

81. All summative assessments, which account for more than 10% of the overall module grade, are second marked where they also meet one or both of the following criteria:

a) Where summative assessments were not anonymously marked in the first instance (this includes all dissertations or the equivalent; orals and practicals); AND/OR

b) The first marker has not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate familiarity and competence in the application of the appropriate standards at the University e.g. a new member of staff, a teaching assistant or other practitioner (e.g. placement provider/supervisor).

82. Second markers are expected to have sufficient subject knowledge to assess a student’s performance in the assessment; they may have been involved in the design or delivery of the module.

83. Second markers are provided with the following information by their Faculty:

a) The module descriptor

b) The assessment question(s) as provided to the students

c) Any guidance relating to the marking of the assessment(s) in the module

d) The guidance issued to the students to enable them to complete the assessment(s)

84. Second markers are required to familiarise themselves with: the policy on Moderation and Second Marking; the stated assessment(s); the common marking scheme; and assessment criteria prior to undertaking second marking.

85. Where second marking is taking place because it has not been possible to anonymise a student’s work, the second marking should be undertaken based on all of the following:

a) It is ‘blind’; therefore the second marker will not have access to the first marker’s comments or marks and individual records of their assessment and conclusions should be kept.

b) At least 20% of all relevant pieces of submitted work should be second marked, except in the case of dissertation (or equivalent) when 100% of scripts should be second marked. The choice of scripts for second marking should be made by the second marker, though the first marker may request that additional scripts are added to the sample. The Divisional Chief Examiner has oversight responsibility for ensuring that an appropriate range and volume of scripts are second marked and as such may require a higher proportion of scripts to be second marked at their reasonable discretion.

c) Appropriate methods of second marking are used for oral and/or practical assessments such as asynchronous marking using video/audio recording; random selection synchronous marking or peer marking.

d) The percentage of scripts that have been second marked should be advised to the relevant Module Board of Examiners and noted in the minutes of the meeting.

86. Where second marking is taking place because the first marker is an inexperienced marker at the University of Stirling, it is expected that:

a) the second marking will not be carried out ‘blind’ to give the second marker the opportunity to assess the marking and feedback and give guidance to the first marker

b) the first portion of second marking takes place initially after a small portion (around 10%) of scripts have been marked by the first marker and feedback is provided by the second maker to the first marker to help inform their marking of the remaining scripts.

c) This process will be complete when, in the second marker’s judgment, the first marker has demonstrated sufficient familiarity and competence in applying the appropriate standards to both marking and feedback.

87. A record of both marker’s decisions should be kept by the relevant Division or Faculty. Feedback from both markers may be shared with the student, if appropriate, though only the final mark should normally be communicated to the student.

88. Where there are conflicting marks arising between first and second marker, in the first instance both markers should discuss the differences and agree a final mark.  Where agreement cannot be reached the Divisional Chief Examiner must be informed and must then appoint a third marker who is independent, in that they have not previously been involved in the marking process.  The results of all three assessments must then be considered by the Divisional Chief Examiner to arrive at a final decision. All such decisions should be reported to the relevant module or award Board of Examiners.

Post-Assessment Moderation

89. The post-assessment moderation process ensures that (first and second) marking is consistently robust and undertaken appropriately in line with assessment criteria on a module. The aims of post-assessment moderation are to: ensure a module has been marked in line with the stated assessment criteria; ensure internal consistency and fairness of assessment within a module; provide assurance for students of fairness and equality of grading.

90. Post-assessment moderators should have experience of teaching and learning and some directly relevant subject knowledge.

91. Post-assessment moderation across all components of summative assessment on a module must take place prior to the meeting of the Module Board.

92. Post-assessment moderation is undertaken through sampling and focuses on EITHER a sample of assessed work from each component of assessment as the assessments occur during a module OR a sample of the full set of assessed work for a module, when that becomes available.

93. A post-assessment moderation sample comprises:

a) the assessments of 10% of the module enrolment, or a minimum of five students, whichever is greater; including

b) all fails which are within 10% of the pass mark; and

c) a selection of the highest marks awarded; and

d) a random selection of students’ assessments across the full range of module marks.

In some instances, a post-assessment moderation sample may include more than 10% of the module enrolment.

94. Post-assessment Moderators are provided with the following information by their Division/Faculty:

a) The module descriptor

b) The assessment question(s) as provided to the students

c) Any guidance relating to the marking of the assessments in the module

d) The marks of all students on the module to enable them to see the spread of marks across the module

e) And where assessments have been second marked, the records of this process should be provided to the moderator.

95. Prior to reviewing students work, post-assessment moderators are required to familiarise themselves with: this policy; the stated assessment(s); the common marking scheme and its criteria; and the record of the distribution of marks.

96. Moderators undertake a review of the students’ completed assessments and the marks awarded to determine if, overall, the marks are fair and consistent across the sample provided.

97. The post-assessment moderation of oral and/or practical assessments can be undertaken via the use of video/audio recordings and/or the review of assessment records completed by the first and second markers.

98. In undertaking post-assessment moderation, the moderator is not permitted to suggest amendments to any individual student mark, they may only make recommendations on the sample as a whole or parts thereof.

99. Once the moderator has completed their review, they should either:

a) Confirm that the marks awarded are fair and consistent across the module (see paragraph 100); or

b) Recommend that all marks be increased by a specified amount along with the reasons for the recommendation (see paragraph 101); or

c) Recommend that all marks be decreased by a specified amount along with the reasons for the recommendation (see paragraph 101).

100. Where the moderator decides to confirm the appropriate fairness and consistency of the marks, they should complete the ‘Post-Assessment Moderation Report Form’ and arrange for the completed report to be provided to the Module Board.

101. Where the post-assessment moderation process results in a recommendation being made to change the assessment marks or final module grades, this should in the first instance be discussed and agreed with the Module Coordinator. Where agreement cannot be reached between the moderator and the Module Coordinator, the relevant Board of Examiners (module or award) must be invited to consider the post-assessment moderator feedback and reach a final decision. Any suggested amendments must be applied to the whole module enrolment or part thereof and with the approval of the Module Board and External Examiner.

Module Marks and Grades

102. A student registered on a module will be given a mark/grade for each element of assessment.

103. In cases where a student fails to submit a piece of coursework on time, or within an extension period approved by a Faculty, penalties will be applied by the Faculty. Coursework will be accepted up to seven calendar days after the submission date (or expiry of any agreed extension) but the mark for the late item of coursework will be lowered by three marks on the common marking scheme per day or part thereof. After seven calendar days, the piece of work will be deemed a non-submission and will be given 0.  For the avoidance of doubt, Saturday and Sunday each count as one calendar day.

104. Where a student fails to submit or complete an assessment and/or attend an examination which is not a Compulsory Module Requirement, but has completed other assessment on the module, a mark of 0 should be awarded for the assessment/examination. Where a student fails to submit or complete an assessment and/or attend an examination which is a Compulsory Module Requirement, the X grade should be awarded for the assessment/examination.

105. The overall mark for a module is calculated from the sum of weighted marks for each of the elements of assessment rounded to the nearest whole number, taking into account the provisions of paragraphs 124 and 125 where required. A pass is not required in each element of assessment. This module mark represents a summary of performance on that module. However, where a Compulsory Module Requirement has been awarded an X grade, the overall module grade will be X.

106. Exceptionally, a subject may use an ad-hoc aggregating procedure in an individual student’s case. For example, the weighting may be reduced of an element of assessment affected by a student’s illness. In each such case the procedure must be consistent with the procedure set out in the Boards of Examiners Policy and Procedure and must be recorded in the Board of Examiner minutes.

107. The final module mark or outcome will determine the grade. Grade codes are set out in Appendices 1, 2 and 3.

Access to Reassessment Opportunities

108. A student who, on completion of a module, has passed the module, is not allowed to repeat or be re-assessed on that module.

109. A student who fails a module will only be re-assessed on the elements of the module assessment on which they achieved a mark of 39 or less for undergraduate modules or a mark of 49 or less for postgraduate modules.

110. Students are automatically entitled to be reassessed on elements of assessment (including a dissertation or equivalent) that have been completed and failed in the first instance and are not required to take any further steps to be eligible to do so. In these circumstances, the ‘Reassess Exam’ (RE), ‘Reassess Coursework’ (RC) or ‘Reassess All’ (RA) codes should be used as appropriate in the final module grades upload process, to record the student’s grade in instances where an element of assessment has been failed.

111. Where a student either:

a) fails to submit or complete an assessment and/or attend an examination which is a Compulsory Module Requirement as published in the module information provided by the Faculty, but has completed other assessment on the module; or

b) has not engaged with any assessments within a module,

an XE (Discretionary reassessment of exam), XC (Discretionary reassessment of coursework) or XA (Discretionary reassessment of all elements of assessment) grade should be noted as appropriate by the Faculty within their module assessment records.

112. Further to paragraph 111, where a student has been an awarded an XE, XC or XA grade, the student will not have an automatic opportunity to undertake reassessment, but may be given a discretionary opportunity. They should be advised in writing by the Faculty that they have an opportunity to request a further attempt, when this becomes apparent and in any case, no later than seven days after the date of the original assessment / assessment submission deadline. Students should make any such request in writing to the Faculty within seven days of being notified of the opportunity to request a further attempt. If the student does not make such a request, no reassessment opportunity will be offered to them and an X grade should be awarded as the final grade for the module.

113. A student found, through the Academic Misconduct procedure, to have performed academic misconduct, may be precluded from reassessment opportunities.

Reassessment of a Student’s Work

114. Modules and assessments should be designed to ensure reassessment can take place as required, in line with this policy and procedure. Some professional accreditations and practice-based scenarios make reassessment impossible, in which case, module information provided by the relevant Faculty must alert students to this at the outset.

115. Where reassessment is to take place, appropriate staff within the Faculty will determine the nature of the re-assessment required. It will be equivalent to the original in terms of difficulty, learning outcomes addressed and educational benefit. Resubmission of existing coursework is usually appropriate, except where it is pedagogically inappropriate to do so.

116. The maximum mark for the module that can be awarded for a second attempt is the pass mark (i.e. 40 for undergraduate modules and 50 for postgraduate modules).

117. Where an element of assessment that requires to be re-assessed is a piece of coursework that received a fail mark due only to the application of late submission penalties (see paragraph 103), upon the student failing the module, the piece of coursework should be automatically awarded the relevant pass mark (40 or 50), an outcome which will represent re-assessment.

118. Where an element of assessment that requires to be re-assessed is a piece of coursework that the student did not submit at the first attempt, the student should normally be required to submit the piece of coursework that was originally set, as a re-assessment, with the mark that can be awarded being capped at the relevant pass mark (40 or 50). However the provisions of paragraph 115 should be noted and considered in terms of appropriateness.

119. The student should be given a minimum of two weeks to complete the resubmission of coursework. Academic judgement and practical considerations should be considered in setting deadlines for submission. Consideration should be given to student’s overall workload. If the student has an ARUAA which recommends extended deadlines, or the student requests a discretionary extension for good cause, then academic judgement should be used to ensure the student is treated fairly.

120. Re-submitted coursework should be marked in line with the provisions of this policy relevant to marking, and therefore on the basis of the level of achievement of the learning outcomes. It should not be marked on whether the student has engaged with any feedback provided previously. Where the mark awarded for the re-submitted coursework is lower than that given for the original submission, the original mark should be used in the calculation of the overall module mark. Re-submitted coursework is not exempt from the requirements of the Feedback Policy, but minimal feedback can be offered where full feedback has been provided on a first submission.

121. Any reassessment attempt must be taken within the next scheduled examination period or reassessment period as appropriate.

122. A dissertation (or equivalent) which is to be reassessed, must be resubmitted within three months from confirmation of failure. The support students should be given is feedback and one meeting with their supervisor (or an appropriate alternative member of staff if the supervisor is not available).

123. Where a student requires a reassessment exam or deferred exam but will be absent from the University at the relevant time due to an approved study abroad arrangement, the faculty may liaise with the partner institution or set an alternative assessment, as appropriate.

Final Grades following Reassessment

124. Following a re-assessment:

a) If the student has engaged with all reassessment, a mark should be awarded as appropriate for each element of assessment. The marks will then be used to determine the overall module mark and grade.

b) If across all assessment attempts, a student has not engaged with either, any assessment, or assessment of an element of assessment which is a Compulsory Module Requirement, the grade X should be used as the final grade for the module.

c) If a student has not engaged with an element of assessment which is not a Compulsory Module Requirement, a mark of 0 should be awarded for the element of assessment.

125. Subject to paragraphs 116 and 124, the final module mark should be awarded by aggregating the best marks for each element of assessment which have been achieved across the first assessment and reassessment attempts.

Repeating a Module

126. If a student has failed a module they may repeat the module in its entirety on one further occasion, including all relevant assessment opportunities. This has financial, visa and progression implications and students should discuss with their Adviser of Studies.

127. A student must repeat the module at the next scheduled offering. Not every module is delivered each academic year, and even where a module continues to be offered, learning outcomes and other aspects may change and therefore it may be appropriate or necessary for a student to select a different module.

128. A student repeating the module is subject to the same attendance and participation requirements as a student taking the module for the first time.                             

129. There are no restrictions to the full range of marks or assessment opportunities available on a repeated module.

Compensation

130. Compensation is a means by which the university awards credit for a module in which a passing grade was not achieved.  There are strict criteria applied to determine whether compensation can be granted.

Undergraduate Programmes

131. In respect of undergraduate programmes, the basic criteria for compensation to be considered are that compensation can only be applied: to option modules, not compulsory modules; where a student marginally fails a module (a marginal fail is one where a mark for the module is in the range 30 to 39). However, these basic criteria must be understood in connection with the further criteria set out in paragraphs 132 to 136.

132. Not all modules are eligible for compensation and whether compensation is appropriate is dependent upon the module type, the student’s year of study and a student having passed a certain number of credits each year.

  • Year 1 of a full-time programme of study, and part-time equivalence
    A student may have compensation applied for a marginal fail in 20 credits of the first 120 credits, provided that at least 80 of the 120 credits have been passed.

  • Year 2 of a full-time programme of study, and part-time equivalence
    A student may have compensation applied for a marginal fail in 20 credits of the second 120 credits, provided that at least 80 of the 120 credits have been passed.

  • Years 3 and 4 of a full-time programme of study, and part-time equivalence
    A student may have compensation applied for a marginal fail in 20 credits of the final 240 credits (i.e. across both Year 3 and 4), provided that the remaining 220 credits have been passed.

133. Compensation cannot be applied to a module which is: a pre-requisite to another module to be taken later in the programme of study; a dissertation module; or a module which must be passed for professional or accreditation purposes in a programme of study.

134. Where more than one module is eligible for compensation, the module with the higher/highest mark will be compensated.

135. The result of a pass by compensation will appear as ‘PC’ without a mark on a transcript.

136. Where a student has marginally failed a module, and the module is eligible for compensation to be applied, the student may still choose to re-take the module assessment(s) to prove academic ability and achieve a mark. Where more than one module has been failed, the University’s strong recommendation would be for a student to undertake reassessment.

Postgraduate Programmes

137. In respect of postgraduate programmes, the basic criteria for compensation to be considered are that compensation can only be applied: to a maximum of 30 credits towards a Masters or Postgraduate Diploma, and a maximum of 20 credits towards a Postgraduate Certificate; where a student marginally fails a module (a marginal fail is one where a mark for the module is in the range 40 to 49). However, these basic criteria must be understood in connection with the further criteria set out in paragraphs 138 to 143.

138. Where a student has up to 30 credits that have been marginally failed, compensation will be automatically applied at SCQF level 10.

139. Where a student has more than 30 credits eligible for compensation they will be able to choose the module(s) for which they are awarded compensation. Should a student not make a choice, compensation will be automatically applied to the modules with higher/highest mark.

140. Compensation cannot be applied to a dissertation or equivalent project.

141. The result of a pass by compensation will appear as ‘PQ’ without a mark on a transcript, as SCQF level 10.

142. Where a student has marginally failed a module, and the module is eligible for compensation to be applied, the student may still choose to resit the module assessment(s) to prove academic ability and achieve a mark. Where more than one module has been failed, the University’s strong recommendation would be for a student to undertake reassessment.

143. Where the maximum available compensation has been applied, and a student has failed to achieve the necessary learning outcomes for outstanding module credit, students will be permitted to undertake reassessment as outlined in the postgraduate taught regulations. 

Study Abroad

144. All students who undertake a period of study abroad will be awarded block credit for the successful completion of the study abroad.  Grade translation is not undertaken.

Appendix 1: Undergraduate Common Marking Scheme

Mark

Equivalent

Grade

Result

Descriptor of Attainment of Learning Outcomes

90+

1st

Pass

Meets all the requirements to attain 80 – 89 but in addition demonstrates an exceptional degree of originality and exceptional analytical, problem-solving and/or creative skills.

80 -89

 

 

Meets all the requirements to attain 70 – 79 but in addition demonstrates outstanding quality evidenced by an ability to engage critically and analytically with source material, exhibits independent lines of argument, is highly original and uses an extremely wide range of relevant sources where appropriate.

70 - 79

 

 

Excellent range and depth of attainment of intended learning outcomes, secured by discriminating command of a comprehensive range of relevant materials and analyses, and by deployment of considered judgement relating to key issues, concepts or procedures

60 - 69

2:1

Pass

Attainment of virtually all intended learning outcomes, clearly grounded on a close familiarity with a wide range of supporting evidence, constructively utilised to reveal an appreciable depth of understanding.

50 – 59

2:2

Pass

Attainment of most of the intended learning outcomes, some more securely grasped than others, resting on a circumscribed range of evidence and displaying a variable depth of understanding.

40 – 49

3rd

Pass

Acceptable attainment of most intended learning outcomes, displaying a qualified familiarity with a minimally sufficient range of relevant materials, and a grasp of the analytical issues and concepts which are generally reasonable, albeit insecure.

30 - 39

Fail -

Marginal

Fail

Appreciable deficiencies in the attainment of intended learning outcomes, perhaps lacking a secure basis in relevant factual or analytical dimensions.

0 - 29

Fail -

Clear

Fail

No convincing evidence of attainment of intended learning outcomes, such treatment of the subject as is in evidence being directionless and fragmentary.

X

Fail

Fail

Failure to comply with Compulsory Module Requirements or engage with the module, leading to no automatic right to reassessment.

 

Appendix 2:  Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme

Mark

Equivalent   grade

Descriptor of attainment of learning outcomes

90+

Distinction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pass

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fail – Marginal

 

 

 

 

Fail – Clear

 

 

 

 

Fail

Meets all the requirements to attain 80 – 89 but in addition demonstrates an exceptional degree of originality and exceptional analytical, problem-solving and/or creative skills.

80 -89

Meets all the requirements to attain 70 – 79 but in addition demonstrates outstanding quality evidenced by an ability to engage critically and analytically with source material, exhibits independent lines of argument, is highly original and uses an extremely wide range of relevant sources where appropriate.

70 - 79

Excellent range and depth of attainment of intended learning outcomes, secured by discriminating command of a comprehensive range of relevant materials and analyses, and by deployment of considered judgement relating to key issues, concepts or procedures.

60 - 69

Merit

Attainment of virtually all intended learning outcomes, clearly grounded on close familiarity with a wide range of supporting evidence, constructively utilised to reveal appreciable depth of understanding.

50 – 59

Pass

Attainment of most of the intended learning outcomes, some more securely grasped than others, resting on a circumscribed range of evidence and displaying a variable depth of understanding.

40 – 49

Fail -Marginal

Appreciable deficiencies in the attainment of intended learning outcomes, perhaps lacking a secure basis in relevant factual or analytical dimensions.

0 - 39

Fail -Clear

No convincing evidence of attainment of intended learning outcomes, such treatment of the subject as is in evidence being directionless and fragmentary.

X

Fail

Failure to comply with Compulsory Module Requirements or engage with the module, leading to no automatic right to reassessment.

 

Appendix 3: Codes used to indicate deferred examinations, reassessment opportunities, and final module fail grades

Deferred Exams (Uploaded by Academic Registry only)

DE           Deferred Exam

Reassessment Opportunities

RE           Reassess Exam

RC           Reassess Coursework

RA           Reassess All

XE           Discretionary reassessment of exam

XC           Discretionary reassessment of coursework

XA           Discretionary reassessment of all elements of     

                assessment

Final Fail Grades

X             Module requirements not met

FM          Marginal fail

FC           Clear Fail

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