Regulation D1: Assessment

(formerly Regulation 8: General Regulations for University Examinations and Assessments)

1. Scope

1.1 This regulation sets out the main rules that apply to assessment of students on modules leading to University awards. The rules set out in this Regulation apply at all taught levels of study but some programmes may have some variations or additional rules in place which apply to their modules. Such variations or additions will be notified to students in the relevant Programme Specification.

2. Learning Principles

2.1 The University’s approach to assessment is set out in its Learning Principles which are published on the University’s website and can be found here.

3. Setting and Submission of Assessment

3.1 It is the responsibility of the relevant examination board to agree the most appropriate approval process for assessment tasks for modules that count towards students’ degree classification. It must also consider the way in which external examiners can be involved to confirm the comparability and appropriateness of academic standards of coursework and examination tasks.

3.2 The nature and weighting of the assessments for each module are set out in the relevant module specifications and will be published to students in advance.

3.3 Schools[1] will make available to their students, where appropriate, examples of previous examination materials.

3.4 The deadline for the submission of assessed coursework for taught students is standard across the University. It is set at 1pm on the date of submission. Students are normally required to submit their coursework electronically only. Where this is impossible or impracticable for a particular assessment task, students will be informed in the relevant handbook of the alternative submission format.

4. Assessment Criteria

4.1 The University has sets of Generic Assessment Criteria for undergraduate and taught postgraduate work that are published here.

4.2 The pass mark for modules is agreed at the time the module is first approved. The pass mark is set as follows: at undergraduate level, the pass mark is normally set at 40% and for taught postgraduate modules at 50%. Exceptions may be approved based on the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies. All such exceptions will be notified to students in the relevant programme documentation. 

5. Anonymous Marking

5.1 Anonymous marking is where the marker has no knowledge of the identity of the student who produced the assessed work until after the marking process is complete.

5.2 All examinations and coursework assessments, with the exception of the types of assessment listed below, will be marked anonymously. This applies to all levels of study.  Wherever possible, anonymity should not be lifted until all of the assessment process, including moderation, second marking and the reconciliation of discrepancies between markers, has been completed.

5.3 The following assessment types have been identified as approved exemptions from anonymous marking. It is not necessary to apply for exemption from anonymous marking for assessment components of these types:

  • Observed assessments such as presentations (individual and group), OSCEs-style assessments or role plays;
  • Reports/projects associated with observed assessments, for example where the examiner is assessing the presentation as well as the report/project;
  • Laboratory work;
  • Practicals;
  • Fieldwork;
  • Oral (e.g. language) assessments and vivas;
  • Placements and placement reports;
  • Portfolios of personal work submitted as evidence of attainment which would be difficult to anonymise without a great deal of effort;
  • When the summative assessment builds on earlier formative assessment, and where the examiner assesses the effectiveness of the student’s response to feedback received on the formative assessment.
  • Research dissertations and theses.

5.4 Faculty Education Committees can approve the exemption of a programme, module or assessment component from the requirement for anonymous marking if a sufficient case is made. Approved exemptions apply until the nature of the assessment component is changed.

6. Moderation

6.1 The University sets out its approach to the moderation of assessed work in its Marking and Moderation Policy which can be found here: Marking and Moderation Policy‌.

7. External Examiner

The Senate of the University appoints external examiners for all taught programmes. The roles and responsibilities, as well as the relevant processes are set out in the External Examiners Code of Practice.

8. The Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning

The University’s approach to the recognition of prior learning leading to credit which contributes to the required credit thresholds for taught programmes is set out in the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

9. Treatment of Marks

9.1 Module marks will be calculated based upon the mark/s students are awarded for each assessment component of that module, together with the weighting that assessment component contributes towards the module mark.  The mark will be rounded to the nearest integer, with marks of 0.5 or above rounded up.

9.2 If the module mark is calculated as 39 and the pass mark of the module is 40, then the mark will automatically be raised to 40 and the module will be passed. If the module mark is calculated as 49 and the pass mark of the module is 50, then the mark will automatically be raised to 50 and the module will be passed. However, such marks will not automatically be raised where the module is a Qualified Fail (see paragraph 9.3).  All other module marks calculated as ending in a ‘9’ will stand.

9.3 In addition to achieving the required pass mark, some modules also require a minimum mark to be achieved on one or more of the assessment components in order to pass the module. These are called Qualifying Components and a fail in such a component will result in the module being a Qualified Fail.

10. Scaling of Marks

10.1 Examination Boards may in exceptional circumstances agree to scale the marks for an assessment component or for a whole module of all or part of a module cohort. Such a decision will always be made in consultation with the relevant external examiner(s) and the reasons, process and results of such scaling exercise will be recorded in the minutes of the examination board. Further detail can be found in the Marking and Moderation Policy.

11. Turn Around Time

11.1 Feedback on assessed work, with the exception of examinations, can be provided to students in a variety of ways and formats but should be available to students in a timely manner that allows students to benefit from such feedback. Students can normally expect to receive feedback on their assessed work within 15 working days. Where feedback cannot be provided to students within the normal timescale, this will be made explicit to students at the earliest opportunity.

12. Reassessment

12.1 Eligibility for Reassessment

12.1.1 If a student fails an assessment component within a module and this leads to the module being failed overall, then they will normally be allowed one further and final assessment attempt by the examination board.  Certain professional programmes may allow an initial exemption attempt on pass / fail competency assessments. Where this is the case, it will be set out in the relevant programme specification.

12.1.2 If a student fails an assessment component within a module but passes the module overall, the student will not be allowed a further assessment attempt unless they have valid exceptional circumstances.

12.1.3 Students who have passed a module and been awarded credit for it by the examination board are not allowed to undertake further assessment in that module in order to improve their mark unless they are subsequently repeating study on that module as part of a repeat year. See also Regulation D2 Progression and Classification.

12.1.4 Students are normally required to undertake both assessment attempts before any of their failed modules can be condoned in line with the relevant condonement rules as set out in Regulation D5 Condonement and Compensation.

12.1.5 There is no limit to the number of modules a student may be reassessed in although a student may forfeit the right to reassessment if they are deemed not to have engaged appropriately with assessment. For more information see Regulation B8 Termination of Studies.

12.2 Consequences of Reassessment

12.2.1 Students who pass a module they have previously failed will receive a mark that is capped at the pass mark for that module, irrespective of the actual mark achieved.

12.2.2 Students who are allowed a further assessment opportunity as a first attempt, usually as a result of valid exceptional circumstances, will not have their mark capped.

12.3 Structure and Content of Reassessment

12.3.1 Reassessment will normally, unless the relevant Board of Examiners decides that this is not practical, be of the same structure and be based upon the same syllabus as the assessment at the time of the initial failure, but will not include those assessment components that the student has already passed.

12.3.2 Where a student is permitted to be reassessed in one or more failed modules without attendance on the module(s), the following arrangements apply:

(i) the reassessment should be, unless the relevant Board of Examiners decides that this is not practical, of the same structure and be based upon the same material as the assessment at the time of the initial failure;

(ii) for reassessment beyond one year from the initial failure, where the structure of the assessment is different from that at the time of the initial failure and/or the reassessment is to be based upon a different syllabus, the Head of School is responsible for ensuring arrangements are made:

(a) informed of changes in the structure of the assessment and the material content; and

(b) offered, for an appropriate fee, the opportunity of attending relevant classes.

12.4 Timing of Reassessment

12.4.1 Students are normally expected to undertake reassessment of failed Semester 1 modules in the assessment or reassessment period at the end of Semester 2 unless they have valid exceptional circumstances that prevent them from undertaking reassessment at that time.

12.4.1 Failed Semester 2 modules are reassessed in the reassessment period prior to the start of the next academic year.

13. Late Submission

13.1 If students  are late submitting assessed work at the first attempt (or for reassessment at the first attempt), but the work is received within seven calendar days after the submission deadline without valid exceptional circumstances, the maximum that can be awarded is the module pass mark (typically 40% for an undergraduate programme and 50% for a postgraduate programme) or qualifying mark if higher.

13.2 If a student is late submitting assessed work at the first attempt (or for reassessment at the first attempt) more than seven calendar days after the deadline or non-submission of work, without valid exceptional circumstances, the work will not be accepted and they will receive a mark of ‘0’ for that component of the module, which may lead to failure of the module as a whole.

13.3 If students are late submitting work as reassessment and there are no exceptional circumstances, the work will receive a mark of ‘0’ with no further reassessment opportunity.

14. Requests for Alternative Assessments

14.1 In a situation where a student is, for medical reasons, temporarily unable to undertake the assessment tasks prescribed for their modules, their School may apply on their behalf for approval to vary the assessment tasks as long as the alternative assessment arrangements allow the student to demonstrate that they have met the module learning outcomes. There cannot normally be any long term or permanent exemptions from any assessment modus beyond one academic year and instead the student will either be referred to the Support to Study process as set out in Regulation B4: Fitness to Study or a case conference will be convened as set out in paragraph 14.4 below  On programmes that are subject to professional accreditation, it may not be possible to provide alternative assessment tasks.

14.2 Applications for temporary alternative coursework assessments should be made to the Faculty Dean of Education, who may approve them on the advice of the School’s Director of Education, provided relevant evidence to support the application has been submitted.

14.3 Applications for temporary alternative assessments to examination should also be made to the Faculty Dean of Education who will consider them in consultation with the Head of Academic Standards and Student Conduct.  They may approve such applications, provided relevant evidence to support the application has been submitted and the application has the support of the School.

14.4 Where such applications are intended to exempt students from the standard assessments for more than one semester, the Faculty Dean of Education and the Head of Academic Standards and Student Conduct will convene a case conference typically involving the student’s School, Disability Services and relevant Professional Services to consider the case. They will make their decision based on the advice received from the case conference which will be based on the understanding that there cannot be any permanent exemptions from any assessment modus.

[1] ‘School’ as used in this regulation should be understood to include the Languages Centre and the Foundation Year Centre