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Code of Practice on Assessment (Effective from AY22/23)

Executive Summary

 

1 The Code of Practice has been formulated as an authoritative statement of the philosophy and principles underlying the University’s assessment activities and of the University’s expectations in relation to the design, implementation and review of assessment strategies for all taught programmes of study.

2 The Code is intended to inform both staff and students, as well as individuals from outside the University, such as external examiners and external reviewers.

3 The Code refers to institution-wide assessment policy and also sets out guidelines within which academic units must design and operate their assessment strategies. It also refers to external reference points such as the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s (QAA) Quality Code for Higher Education, The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and subject benchmark statements.

4 Assessment is a “set of processes that measure the outcomes of students’ learning, in terms of knowledge acquired, understanding developed, and skills gained”. Section B describes assessment as diagnostic, formative or summative.

5 The assessment methods adopted should be rigorous, reliable and equitable and should facilitate differentiation between achievement at the threshold and at other levels. Section C sets out the factors to be taken into consideration in formulating assessment strategies and the requirements for such strategies to be approved and monitored.

6 Section D underlines the necessity of setting appropriate assessment criteria and of using qualitative marking descriptors. It sets out the requirements in relation to examiners and moderators. Assessment components that contribute 1 credit or more of the overall module mark, must be moderated, and at least 60% of the overall module mark must be moderated. 10% of all scripts for moderated components (but a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 40) must be moderated. Marks for modules should be released to students as soon as possible, and should be labelled as “provisional” where they have to be finally approved by an external examiner. Also, academic units must have in place systems for checking the computation of marks in individual assessments and for whole modules and for ensuring that marks are recorded accurately. Where marks are stored electronically provision should be made for appropriate back-up copies.

7 Section E refers to the rules governing the progression of students to the next stage of their studies and to the means of classifying degrees.

8 The Code refers to the necessity for students to submit their coursework for assessment by the deadline set by the examiner. In section F, the penalties to be imposed if work is submitted late are set out. There is also reference to the provision for ill-health and other special circumstances to be taken into account in assessing a student’s performance and for extending the deadline for submission of coursework.

9 Section G deals with formal examinations, whether written or practical. It refers to the University’s Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations, deals with the provisions relating to students who are prevented by illness or other special circumstances from sitting the whole or part of an examination, or whose performance in an examination may have been affected by illness or other special circumstances, and covers the issue of cheating in examinations.

10 Section H refers to the Academic Integrity Policy. The University aims to provide an environment which supports academic integrity and helps students to avoid committing academic misconduct such as plagiarism, collusion and fabrication of data.

11 Section I covers failure in examinations, the provisions relating to re-sit examinations and student progress procedures.

12 The principles and procedures relating to the provision of feedback on assessment to students are covered by Section J.

13 In section K the University’s requirements in relation to the retention of students’ assessed work are set out.

14 The function of Boards of Examiners is to be responsible for the assessment of candidates, for determining students’ module marks, their progression through the programme and for the final award. Section L refers to the constitutions of such Boards and sets out some of the general operational requirements in relation to their meetings. It also defines the purpose of the external examiner system which is set out in full in the University’s External Examiner System for Taught Provision.

15 Section M states the general principle that students should have clear information about all relevant aspects of the assessment of their performance and sets out the information about assessment which should be available to students.

16 Section N sets out the principle that staff who are responsible for carrying out assessment should be fully aware of the University’s policies, regulations and procedures relating to assessment. It places the responsibility on Heads of Department and the Head of Registry for ensuring that all individuals involved in the assessment of students and in the administration of assessment are competent to undertake their tasks.

17 Section O sets out the requirements placed on School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committees for monitoring the effectiveness of assessment strategies and states that the University will monitor and review periodically the University-wide procedures and regulations governing assessment.

The Code


A Introduction

18 This Code of Practice on Assessment has been formulated as an authoritative statement of the philosophy and principles underlying the University’s assessment activities and of the University’s expectations in relation to the design, implementation and review of assessment strategies for all taught programmes of study by those who have responsibilities for these. It covers all assessment activities for programmes of study leading to awards of XJTLU and of the University of Liverpool. It covers a range of matters within the scope of assessment and it refers, where appropriate, to other University codes, policies or regulations which pertain to assessment. It is intended to inform both staff and students, as well as individuals from outside the University, such as external examiners and external reviewers. In formulating this Code consideration has been given to the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

19 The University as an institution needs to be able to assure itself that the standards of its awards are consistent with the general expectations for such awards within the higher education sector nationally and, indeed, internationally, and that actual student achievement is consonant with those standards. In this respect, it uses as reference points the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and, for individual subjects, the appropriate subject benchmark statements. It has in place institution-wide policies and regulations relating to certain aspects of assessment, but it also recognises that academic units must have flexibility within accepted parameters to adopt the most appropriate assessment practices in the light of the particular needs of the subject discipline and the students concerned. This Code, therefore, not only refers to the institution-wide assessment policies which are in place but also sets out guidelines within which academic units must design and operate their assessment activities. The University will continue to develop its systems for monitoring the effectiveness of its assessment strategies. Periodically this Code of Practice will be reviewed to ensure its currency and usefulness and that it reflects developments within the higher education sector and more widely, the need to comply with the terms of relevant legislation.

B Definition of Assessment

20 Assessment forms an essential element of the learning process. Students learn both from assessment activities and from their interaction with staff about their performance in those activities. There are many different forms of assessment, serving a variety of purposes. These include:

(i) Promoting student learning by providing the student with feedback, normally to help improve his/her performance;

(ii) Evaluating student knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills;

(iii) Providing a mark or grade that enables a student’s performance to be established. The mark or grade may also be used to make progress decisions;

(iv) Enabling the public (including employers), and higher education providers, to know that an individual has attained an appropriate level of achievement that reflects the academic standards set by the awarding institution and agreed sector norms, including the frameworks for higher education qualifications. This may include demonstrating fitness to practise or meeting other professional requirements.

Assessment is categorised into two broad types – ‘examination’ and ‘coursework (or continuously assessed work). The former, usually written but sometimes practical, refers to those assessment activities that are normally scheduled to take place in a specified location at a specific time. It covers formal examinations scheduled and supervised centrally by the University including final and re-sit examinations, academic unit scheduled assessment activities such as in-semester examinations and speaking tests, and in-class tests run by module examiners within or outside class schedule. The latter are those assessments that take place over a period of time in the course of a semester or academic year and are usually associated with a deadline set by the examiner.

21 Assessment may be:

(i) diagnostic: assessment which provides an indicator of a learner’s aptitude and preparedness for a programme of study and identifies possible learning problems;
(ii) formative: designed to provide learners with feedback on progress and inform development, but does not contribute to the overall assessment;
(iii) summative: provides a measure of achievement or failure made in respect of a learner’s performance in relation to the intended learning outcomes of the programme of study.

22 Any assessment task can, and often does, involve more than one of these elements.


C Assessment Strategies

23 In designing and reviewing assessment strategies, consideration should be given to the role of formative and summative assessment and, if appropriate, diagnostic assessment. Care should be taken to ensure that there is an appropriate mix of formative assessment and summative assessment.

24 Assessment strategies should be formulated so as to ensure that the academic/professional standard for the award or award element is set and maintained at the appropriate level and that student performance is properly judged against this. In this respect the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and the appropriate subject benchmark statement(s) should act as points of reference.

25 A range of assessment techniques should be adopted which are appropriate to the teaching and learning methods and the specified learning outcomes. The assessment methods used should provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the achievement of the learning outcomes being assessed, whether at programme level or module/element of programme level. Assessment policies, practices and procedures should take account of the diversity of the student population and should not unfairly discriminate against any student. The assessment methods adopted should be rigorous, reliable and equitable and should facilitate differentiation between achievement at the threshold and at other levels.

26 At least 65% of a student’s overall module mark must be based on the individual assessment of that student. Where group work forms more than 35% of the module assessment, care should be taken to ensure that an individualised mark is determined for each group member in a way that meets this 65% requirement for the overall module mark. Individualised assessment of group work can be derived from either (i) student review and examiner, or (ii) examiner only. No more than 50% of the marks available for group work may be derived from student peer review.

27 Care should be taken to ensure that the amount of assessment for a programme or module/element of a programme is commensurate with the need for students to be able to demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes and is not excessive. Assessment strategies should also be formulated so as to allow students adequate time to reflect on their learning before being assessed.

28 Assessment strategies for programmes of study should be clearly indicated in programme specifications and for modules/elements of programmes in the appropriate module specification. The components of the assessment for a module/element of a programme (i.e. the assessment tasks) must be defined in the module specification. Assessment strategies should be carefully scrutinised by the relevant School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committee in the process for the approval of new programmes and revisions to existing programmes. The effectiveness of assessment strategies should also be monitored and reviewed by School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committees, taking advice, as appropriate, from the Boards of Examiners and external examiners, and as part of the annual programme monitoring/periodic review processes.

29 It is permissible to offer a choice of different types of assessment within a module only if the learning outcomes of the module can be shown to be demonstrable by all the proposed assessment options. Where options for assessment within a module are available these must be approved as part of the approval process for the module. It is not permissible for alternative assessment arrangements from those approved for the module to be made available on an individual basis. It may be possible that an approved alternative assessment be provided to students on exchange programmes who have a provable semester/ assessment period clash. In any circumstances where such arrangement is made, prior consent of the academic unit must be sought from the Chair of the University Learning and Teaching Committee, and reported by the Departmental/School Examinations Officer to the Registry Office within the first two weeks of semester.

30 Where a programme forms part of the qualifications regime of a professional or statutory body, clear information should be given in the programme documentation about the specific assessment requirements which must be met for progression towards the professional qualification, including the options/modules which must be passed and the level at which the programme or any part of it must be passed in order to meet the requirements of the professional or statutory body.


D Grading Criteria and Marking

31 For each module or element of a programme the assessment tasks should be clearly defined and should be related to the learning outcomes which they are designed to test. For each individual assessment task the following should be clearly defined: purpose; criteria to be used in allocating marks; the proportion of the marks allocated to different parts of the assessment (if appropriate); the proportion of the total marks for the module which the assessment represents (if appropriate); and whether or not failure in the assessment may be compensated for by higher marks in other components of the module. The information should enable students to understand what is expected of them to pass the assessment at the threshold and to obtain higher grades. Marks awarded should relate to the University and academic unit’s marks scale, marking descriptors and qualification descriptors. Where appropriate, marking schemes and model answers should be used.

32 For every assessment task which contributes to an award of the University or to determining whether a student may proceed to a subsequent stage of study, there must be one or more internal examiner(s) appointed from those approved by the relevant School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committee, one of whom shall be designated as the internal examiner responsible for the assessment as a whole. Postgraduate research students may act as examiners but only in accordance with the Teaching Assistant Policy. The internal examiner(s) shall be responsible for marking the assessment in relation to the stated criteria for the assessment, any agreed marking scheme and the qualitative marking descriptors and marks scale.

33 For some assessment tasks, there is a requirement for the work to be double-marked. Double-marking is the process whereby a piece of work for 100% of the student cohort is marked by two or more examiners, in the first instance. Double-marking is different from the process of moderation (see below) because moderation is undertaken for a sample of the marked work to ensure consistency of marking across a cohort and between different markers. Double-marking concerns the way in which marking is undertaken for all work. Double-marking must be undertaken in accordance with the University’s ‘Academic Protocol for Double-Marking’.

34 Moderation of the marking of the internal examiner(s) must be undertaken by internal moderators at XJTLU and normally by moderators at the University of Liverpool and external examiners, the extent of which may, from time to time, be adjusted. Moderation must be undertaken in the following circumstances and according to the following rules:

(i) Except in circumstances where there is a detailed marking scheme for the assessment which has been developed in conjunction with another examiner not involved in the setting of the assessment and which has the assent of the external examiner and whose operation is monitored by the Board of Examiners in consultation with the external examiner, any component of the assessment of a module (i.e. assessment task) that contributes 1 credit or more to the overall module mark must be moderated. Moderation must be applied to a sufficient number of assessment components of a module to ensure that at least 60% of the overall module mark has been subject to moderation.

(ii) All assessment tasks marked by postgraduate research students must be moderated. Postgraduate research students are not permitted to act as moderators.

(iii) Where moderation is carried out, 10% of all scripts should normally be examined by the moderator. Where there are fewer than 400 scripts, a minimum of 10 scripts should be examined. Where there are more than 400 scripts, a maximum of 40 scripts, or other maximum agreed to by Registry and External Examiner may be examined. Scripts covering the range of achievement should be considered. The moderator should check both standards and consistency of marking, particularly at the borderlines.

(iv) If there are two examiners for an assessment, each may mark half the assessments and moderate the other half.

(v) If the moderation indicates that the marking was inconsistent, all scripts must be re- marked. If the moderation indicates that the level of marks awarded for the assessment task was incorrect or inappropriate, the marks may be scaled by the Module Board of Examiners, with full approval of the relevant external examiner. The relevant School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committee must be satisfied that each module has defensible moderation arrangements.

35 Academic units must have in place systems for checking the computation of marks in individual assessments and for whole modules and for ensuring that marks are recorded accurately. Where marks are stored electronically provision should be made for appropriate back-up copies.

36 Boards of Examiners must ensure that a procedure is in place for the identification and investigation of any unusual patterns of distribution of marks (for example, a particularly low pass rate in a module) before any final decisions about individual students are taken.

37 A system of anonymous marking of examination scripts is in place and the University will consider the feasibility of requiring anonymous marking, where practicable, for any assessed coursework which contributes 30% or more to a module/element of a programme mark.

38 No formal assessment marks contributing to an award of the University and/or the University of Liverpool, shall be published outside the formal release of marks by the Registry and to any unauthorised third party. Except in the case of group work where all students in the group gain the same mark, the marks gained by an individual student should not be disclosed to other students, nor discussed with them. Formal graduation lists should be published with the names of successful candidates shown in alphabetical order within each school of study. The classification awarded should also be indicated, where appropriate.

39 Marks for all assessment components that take place during the semester shall be released to students by the examiner as early as possible after the marking is completed, but should be labelled as ‘provisional’, as they will be subject to moderation and the scrutiny of the Board of Examiners. Module marks, as well as marks for formal examinations, should be released to students by Registry as soon as possible after the meeting of the Board of Examiners with the scrutiny of the external examiner(s).

40 Students will be provided with a transcript of their marks following completion of their programme of studies or their withdrawal from the University, subject to their fee account being in good standing. Students and their academic advisers may also be able to access their own records, including the marks they have achieved, via the University’s student portal.


E Progression Requirements and Rules Governing Degree Classification

41 The progression of students to the next stage of their studies for an award of the University is governed by the Regulations for the particular award for which the student is registered. Details of the model for degrees undertaken at XJTLU are set out in the Framework for Undergraduate Programmes, the System for Classification of Four-Year University of Liverpool Undergraduate Degrees undertaken at XJTLU, and the Framework for Postgraduate Programmes.


F Submission of Coursework

42 The University requires all students to submit coursework which is to be assessed by the deadline set by the examiner. From the point of view of the student, this requirement encourages them to develop their time-management skills. From the point of view of the examiner, it enables them to plan efficiently the marking and assessment feedback process. In order to assist students to submit their work on time, examiner should ensure that there is sufficient time between the setting of the piece of work and the deadline for its submission for students to carry out the work, while providing some flexibility to them in arranging their study workloads. Wherever possible, the submission deadline should allow for the work to be marked and feedback given to students before the end of the semester. Clear information should be provided to students about the deadlines for the submission of work and where and/or to whom the work should be submitted. Academic units must have in place robust systems for receiving and recording the date of receipt of coursework and for the recording of any penalty that has been applied.

43 Except in circumstances where late submission would allow a student to benefit from feedback given to other students on an assessment, late submissions of work should be accepted for a set period beyond the submission deadline, but a penalty should normally be imposed. This policy reflects a belief that students who have misjudged the amount of work required or have failed to manage their study priorities properly should be given additional time to complete, but that students who do submit work late should not benefit from the additional time by being able to increase their mark. A standard system of penalties for the late submission of work for assessment is as follows:

(i) 5% of the total marks available for the assessment shall be deducted from the assessment mark for each working day 1 (or part thereof) after the submission date, up to a maximum of five working days (e.g. for work marked out of 100, five marks per day will be deducted; for work marked out of 20, one mark per day will be deducted); late submission of less than one working day will be counted as one working day1. However, the mark will not be reduced below the pass mark for the assessment. Work assessed below the pass mark will not be penalised for late submission of up to five working days.

1 A working day is defined as a day between Monday and Friday when staff would normally be available for work and thus also be available for contact by students, excluding Saturday, Sunday, National Holiday, and University Closed days.

 

(ii) Work received more than five working days after the submission deadline will receive a mark of zero. In such circumstances, where a student is required to re-sit the assessment, the re-assessment task must be different from the original assessment. Re-submission of the original piece of work is not permissible, except in the case of project work or dissertations.

(iii) The raw mark and the penalty imposed should be calculated by the examiner and marked on the script or cover sheet.

44 Exemption from the requirement to apply the standard system of penalties for late submission of work to a particular module or element of a programme of study may be granted by the University on submission of a reasoned case for consideration by the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee.

45 Dispensation (without penalty) for the late submission of coursework may be granted by the head of department or his/her designated nominee on the grounds of mitigating circumstances, in accordance with process for requesting extensions to coursework deadlines, as set out in the Mitigating Circumstances Policy.

46 It is the responsibility of students to keep their school/academy informed of illness or other factors affecting their progress during the year. In order for illness to be taken into account in assessing a student’s performance or in their ability to submit coursework by the set deadline, students are required to submit a request for extension of coursework submission deadline or a claim for mitigating circumstances, in accordance with the Mitigating Circumstances Policy.

 

G Examinations

47 Examinations, (as opposed to ‘coursework’) are governed by the University’s Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations. The Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations and associated guidance and notes are also contained in the University’s student portal which are drawn to the attention of examination candidates from the start of the autumn term of each academic year and which also contain the dates of the examination periods for the session concerned and details of how and when examination timetables will be promulgated. It is the University’s policy that, if a module is assessed by ‘formal examination’ such as final and re-sit examination, this should be scheduled by the Registry and take place during the published examination periods on the University Academic Calendar after the teaching of the module is completed, whilst academic unit scheduled assessment activities are usually scheduled by academic units at particular points throughout the semester other than the University formal examination periods.

48 The University recognises that students may be prevented by illness or other exceptional circumstances from attendance at the whole or part of an examination or that, while they may have attended the examination, nevertheless their performance in that examination may have been impaired by illness, any other form of disability or other exceptional circumstances. The student must complete the Mitigating Circumstances Form, as required by the University’s Mitigating Circumstances Policy. The Mitigating Circumstances Committee will report its recommendation of action to be taken to the Board of Examiners.

49 Due regard must be paid by those setting and marking examination papers to the security of the examinations process. The University has in place procedures relating to the printing and distribution of examination papers which are notified to those setting examinations at appropriate points in the academic year. All formal examinations must be properly invigilated, in accordance with the requirements of the Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations.

50 Breaches by examination candidates of the Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Regulations.

51 Cases of suspected examination misconduct will be dealt with by the University Student Board of Discipline.


H Academic Integrity

52 The University aims to foster an environment which produces students who embrace academic integrity, understand that they must produce their own work, are able to acknowledge explicitly any material that has been included from other sources or legitimate collaboration, and to present their own findings, conclusions or data based on appropriate and ethical practice. The Academic Integrity Policy sets out the definitions, penalties and procedures in dealing with poor academic practice or, if there is a clear intention to deceive examiners, unfair and/or dishonest academic practice.


I Failure in Assessment

53 In designing assessment strategies, School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committees shall have discretion to allow compensation between the elements of assessment of a module or to determine that a pass or minimum mark must be obtained in all or certain elements for the module to be passed.

54 Students who fail assessments such that they are prevented by the Regulations governing the award from progressing to the next stage of their studies shall normally be allowed to re- sit the failed assessment(s) on one occasion only within the academic year in which the assessments are taken. Re-sit opportunities should always be provided where it is practical to do so. However, for some assessments, the opportunity to re-sit may not be offered, provided that the approval of the University Learning and Teaching Committee has been obtained. In such circumstances, the School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committee concerned must make a case to the University Learning and Teaching Committee, as to why it would not be practical or appropriate to offer a re-sit opportunity. If exemption from the provision of a re-sit opportunity has been granted, students must be made aware of this when they register for the module concerned.

55 Where re-sit examinations/assessments are set, the assessment task must be different from the original assessment (except in the case of project work, dissertations or skills-based assessments) but the type of assessment should normally be the same. However, the use of a different type of assessment is allowed, provided that the re-sit tests the same learning outcomes as the original assessment.

56 Assessment/re-assessment arrangements should not encourage students to ‘opt out’ or fail to make a genuine attempt at each assessment component/task of a module. Where it is deemed by a Board of Examiners, on advice of the Mitigating Circumstances Committee, that a student did not provide good reason for absenting him/herself from an assessment, the Board of Examiners reserves the right to deny the student the opportunity to re-sit the failed assessment. Where permission has been granted for a re-sit opportunity not to be offered for an assessment, students who fail that assessment and fail the module to which it relates may be allowed to re-sit other assessments of the module which they have already passed in order to increase their mark and meet the progression criteria but the mark from the failed element is carried forward and used in the calculation of the overall mark achieved following the re-sitting of the assessment(s) unless the module specification explicitly states otherwise.

57 Re-sit examinations will take place during the re-sit examination period, normally in early August every year. Where students are re-assessed by coursework, the re-submission of coursework is arranged by academic units in August, and the marking and moderation of re- submitted coursework should follow the same timeframe as re-sit examinations. This applies to assessments relating to modules in both first and second semesters. However, resubmission of dissertations may take place in the following semester after the Board of Examiners determines the provision of the re-assessment opportunity.

58 Students who fail to satisfy the criteria for progression following re-sits may be allowed to register a proportion of modules at the higher stage whilst retaking the failed modules or be required to terminate their studies on the grounds of unsatisfactory progress according to the provisions of the Framework for Undergraduate Programmes or the provisions of the Framework for Postgraduate Programmes. The School Progress Committee may also make a recommendation to the University Progress Committee that the student’s progress is unsatisfactory. Details of the procedures in relation to student progress are outlined in Progress of Students: A Guide for Staff and Students.

59 Candidates who fail to meet the criteria for the award of the qualification for which they were registered may, nevertheless, be eligible for the award of a different qualification, provided that they have met the appropriate criteria.

60 Appeals by students against decisions of a Board of Examiners in respect of determinations of degrees or other awards shall be considered by the University, provided that such appeals are submitted on appropriate grounds, as set out in the Assessment Appeals Procedures.

J Feedback on Assessment to Students

61 Where appropriate as part of the formative function of assessment, feedback should be given to students on the outcome of assessment tasks which they have undertaken. Consideration should be given by School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committees and examiners to the most appropriate means of giving feedback, whether written or oral, to students so as to ensure that they gain the maximum benefit from it. Such feedback should be timely, informative and helpful and should be clearly related to the assessment criteria. Timescales for the return of work/feedback should be established and made known to students. Work should normally be returned within the stated timescale and if, unavoidably, there is to be a delay in the return of work this should be made known to the students concerned.

62 The Student Assessment Feedback Policy provides a framework which should be used for providing students with feedback on assessment. Standards for the quality and quantity of feedback should be established and mechanisms devised for monitoring the achievement of these standards by examiners.

63 Examination scripts are not returned to students. However, academic units must provide examination feedback in some form. This can be in the form of group or individual review sessions, an “examination summary” that analyses and discusses general module performance, as well as “examination reports” for each individual student in smaller classes. Examiners should bear in mind that, where they make written comments on examination scripts, students are entitled to see these comments and staff may show examination scripts to students in a controlled setting as part of feedback.


K Retention of Examination Scripts and Other Assessed Work

64 Boards of Examiners have a duty to retain all work undertaken under examination conditions and which contributes to a final award, for a period of one year from the date on which the award was determined by the Degree Evaluation Board. For internal and external review purposes, copies of a representative sample of all assessed work (including two each from the top, middle and bottom of the ability range) from all stages of the programme and all modules or elements of the programme should also be retained for one year after the determination of the award. This should include a small number of complete sets of students’ work, chosen as far as possible to demonstrate achievement across the ability range.


L Boards of Examiners and External Examiners

65 The function of Boards of Examiners is to be responsible for the assessment of candidates, for the determination of students’ module marks, progression through the programme of study and final award. In so doing, they are empowered to take into account illness and exceptional circumstances which may have affected a candidate’s performance as provided in the Mitigating Circumstances Policy. They also are responsible for determining action to be taken in cases of alleged academic integrity offences and for advising School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committees on the effectiveness of assessment strategies and procedures. They are responsible for considering and confirming that the moderation processes have been undertaken appropriately.

66 Boards of Examiners are appointed annually from among the members of the teaching staff of the University and other designated teachers of the University. The constitutions and quorums of the Boards of Examiners in each academic unit shall be as set out in the Terms of References of Boards of Examiners. The external examiners of the University shall be members ex officio of the appropriate Boards of Examiners.

67 Boards of Examiners are subject to the Terms of References of Boards of Examiners. Each Board of Examiners must also have a set of guidance notes which:

(i) draws attention to the provisions of the Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations;
(ii) sets out the marking descriptors and the University’s rules governing progression and the award (and, if appropriate, classification) of the particular qualifications within the Board’s remit;
(iii) sets out the courses of action which may be taken by the Board in the cases of candidates whose performance which have been deemed by the Mitigating Circumstances Committee, to have been affected by illness or other exceptional circumstances;
(iv) sets out what student work should be available to the Board to assist it in its decision making;
(v) draws attention to the requirement for members of the Board to declare any personal interest, involvement or relationship with a candidate being assessed.

68 All assessment decisions must be recorded and documented accurately and systematically. The Centre for Academic Affairs must identify an individual to act as Secretary to the Board, and who will be responsible for producing an accurate formal record of the proceedings and decisions of the Board. Copies of the formal record of the proceedings and decisions of the Board should be forwarded to the external examiners(s) and submitted to the Board at its next meeting.

69 External examiners are nominated by academic units at XJTLU and are recommended for approval by the Vice-President, Academic Affairs, to the University of Liverpool. External Examiners are appointed on an annual basis and in accordance with the University’s External Examiner System for Taught Provision. The purpose of the external examiner system is:

(i) to assist the University in monitoring the standards of its awards;
(ii) to verify that those standards are appropriate to the particular award or award element which the external examiner has been appointed to examine and are comparable with standards for similar subjects and awards in other universities;
(iii) to ensure that the assessment processes are appropriate, fair and fairly operated and are in line with both institutional regulations and published programme guidelines;
(iv) where appropriate, to ensure that the accreditation requirements of any professional or statutory body are met.

70 The University’s External Examiner System for Taught Provision governs the work of external examiners.


M Information for Students

71 Students should have clear information about all relevant aspects of the assessment of their performance in the programme of study. In particular, programme and/or module documentation should contain details, as appropriate, of:

(i) the purpose, methods and schedule of assessments during and at the end of the module or programme of study;

(ii) the criteria for assessment including, where appropriate, descriptors of expected standards of attainment, i.e. what is expected of the student in order to pass or gain a particular grade or classification;

(iii) the University’s definitions and rules on academic integrity;

(iv) the role of the Board of Examiners and, in particular, of the external examiner;

(v) the fact that Boards of Examiners are empowered to take into account mitigating circumstances such as illness or personal circumstances which may have adversely affected performance, as recommended by the Mitigating Circumstances Committee, and that:

(a) it is the student’s responsibility to keep their academic adviser or examinations officer informed of illness and other factors affecting their progress during the year and especially during the examination period;
(b) students who believe that their examination performance may have been impaired by illness, or other exceptional circumstances should follow the procedures set out in the Mitigating Circumstances Policy.

(vi) the circumstances in which students may be required to attend a viva voce examination, the purpose of such an examination, its implications in terms of possible mark adjustments and whether such examinations are compulsory or are held at the discretion of the examiners;

(vii) the marking criteria, grading descriptors and, where appropriate, the classification systems which apply;

(viii) the minimum requirements for proceeding through each stage of the programme of studies, including the extent to which borderline or fail marks may be compensated for by satisfactory marks gained in other assessed components;

(ix) which assessments will and which will not count towards progression and towards the final award and, where appropriate, the weightings applied;

(x) timescales and arrangements for the submission of assessed work and for the giving of marks and feedback to students, and the release of results. Students should be informed that no formal examination marks contributing to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate will be published to any unauthorised third party and that all such marks gained by an individual student will not be disclosed to other students;

(xi) the rules governing the late submission of work and the penalties involved;

(xii) the rules relating to the re-sitting of assessments. In particular, if the opportunity for the re-sitting of an assessment is not available, this should be highlighted;

(xiii) the student progress procedures;

(xiv) the criteria for the award of a different qualification in the event that a candidate fails to meet the requirements for the qualification for which s/he is registered;

(xv) the alternative arrangements in relation to assessments which may be made for disabled students and the sources of support and advice within the University for such students.

72 All students will have drawn to their attention at the beginning of each academic year the guides and notes associated with the conduct of examinations on the University’s student portal, maintained by the Registry, setting out the arrangements for the publication of examination timetables, together with information about the conduct of examinations.


N Information for and Training of Examiners

73 Heads of Departments should ensure that all staff responsible for carrying out assessment are fully aware of the University’s policies, rules and procedures relating to assessment, as summarised in this Code of Practice. To assist them, each academic unit should appoint an Examination Officer whose role is to be a point of contact with the central University on all matters relating to assessment policy, to be a source of advice to staff and students on assessment issues and to be responsible to the head of department for the implementation of this Code of Practice. Examiners must be completely conversant with all the appropriate assessment information for the programme/module concerned. Particular attention should be given to ensuring that placement and practice examiners have the information and support necessary to conduct assessments in line with requirements. External Examiners must also be provided with all the necessary information (as detailed in the External Examiner System for Taught Provision) to enable them to carry out their duties effectively.

74 Heads of Departments must satisfy themselves that all individuals, particularly newly- appointed staff, involved in the assessment of students are competent to undertake this role and that any training needs in this respect are identified and met. They should also encourage reflection on assessment issues and the sharing of best practice by staff. school/academy administrative staff who, for example, receive coursework for assessment from students should also be made fully aware of the appropriate policies and procedures.

75 The University will provide staff development sessions aimed at promoting understanding of the theory and practice of assessment and its implementation within the University.

76 The Head of Registry will ensure that central and school/academy administrative staff involved in examinations’ administration are appropriately trained and conversant with examination processes and procedures. S/he is also responsible for ensuring that examination invigilators are fully informed of their duties and responsibilities.


O Monitoring and Review

77 It shall be the responsibility of School/Academy Learning and Teaching Committees, taking advice as appropriate from Boards of Examiners and External Examiners, to monitor on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of assessment strategies. Such monitoring should also be informed by student feedback. Where changes to assessment strategies or requirements are proposed, an appropriate period of notice of their implementation should be given to staff, students, external examiners and, if appropriate, professional or statutory bodies. The Annual Programme Review process is outlined in the Guidance on Annual Programme Review.

78 As part of the Annual Programme Review process, the programme specification for each programme of study is required to be updated annually and included in the Annual Programme Review report. Changes made to assessment strategies and requirements should be incorporated into programme specifications through this process and, if necessary, approved through the University’s established procedures for the approval of new programmes and amendments to programmes.

79 Consideration should also be given as part of the annual programme monitoring system to comparative statistical information (both internal and external) relating to student entry qualifications and assessment outcomes in order to identify and evaluate trends relating to the achievement of standards.

80 The University shall, through its University Learning and Teaching Committee, monitor and review periodically the University-wide procedures and regulations relating to assessment, taking into account both feedback from academic units, especially through the annual programme review, and external developments. Proposals for major changes shall be subject to consultations with academic units and an appropriate period of notice of the implementation of such changes shall be given to staff, students and other interested parties.

81 The University will conduct Internal Periodic Reviews of all academic units on a four-yearly cycle which aims to review all provision from an holistic perspective, during which Annual Programme Reviews and action plans will be scrutinised, as well as the operation of this Code of Practice by the academic unit.

82 Enquiries relating to this Code of Practice should be directed to the Head of Registry.

83 This Code will be updated from time to time. Readers of this Code should, therefore, refer to Academic Policy Portal on XJTLU Intranet for the most up-to-date edition.

*Please download the attachment for Glossary of Terms

(Last review Date: 16-Mar-2022; To be effected from AY22/23)

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