The Purpose of Assessment
Over your course of study you will be assessed using a variety of techniques. Assessment plays a significant role in your learning experience.
It aims to:
- Measure the outcome of your learning, in terms of the knowledge you have acquired, your understanding of a particular subject area and the skills you have gained;
- Provide you with feedback on your progress which will assist you in improving your performance;
- Enable the module lecturers, course managers and your tutor to monitor your progress and the quality of the course in general.
Types of Assessment
Typically, module assessments involve coursework of various kinds, assignments, reports, presentations, tests and examinations. Lecturing staff may, at their discretion, and within reason, modify the method of assessment to allow achievement of the learning outcomes in cases where a student has an identified learning need. All modules contain assessment in a form which is designed to guarantee that the work you produce is your own, unless it involves a team activity, in which case the extent you are allowed to collaborate and collude will be directed by your lecturer. The assessment should enable you to develop your knowledge base of a particular industry or vocational context and a range of subject specific skills and graduate attributes.
An outline of each module's assessment(s) will be provided by the module lecturer at the start of the teaching course.
Assignments and How to Submit them
Students must complete a range of coursework as part of their course; essays, reports, team-work and case studies are all types of coursework. We usually call all forms of written coursework (which are formally assessed) ‘assignments. Assignments are normally launched during lecture periods.
You may need to submit your work electronically via Canvas, for which you should follow the submission guidance on your assignment. You MUST ensure your assignment has been submitted to the correct area on Canvas. Your assignment tutor will advise on the process of e-submission if it is required.
Some assignments are submitted via ATS (Assignment Tracking System) and must be submitted to the Resource Centre (currently located in Summer Row) during the designated period. Use the 3-box ATS code on your assignment remit to access a frontispiece in ATS to attach this to your work for submission. No assignment will be accepted without the correct frontispiece; this is to ensure that your work goes to the right person and that your affairs are safeguarded.
Whether you are required to submit via Canvas or by hard copy to the Resource Centre, you must ensure that you leave ample time to submit your assignment. Work submitted after the designated hand in date and time will be considered ‘late’.
Late assignments should be submitted within 10 working days of the original due date, following submission of an Extenuating Circumstances Form, if appropriate. The Extenuating Circumstances Form is available on UCB Portal.
Please note that cut-off dates for late submissions apply and are set 10 working days after the original hand-in date of the work. After the cut-off dates, you will not be allowed to submit any late assignments, even if you have Extenuating Circumstances to cover them. Failure to meet this deadline will mean you may have to submit during the re-sit period at the end of your current level of study.
Please note that the cut-off period following re-sit periods is considerably shorter, usually one working day after the re-sit hand-in date.
The cut-off dates give the module lecturer time to mark your work and have your mark ready for consideration by the Board of Examiners. They are also there to ensure fairness for all students. If you have any queries, then please contact Registry@ucb.ac.uk.
Once you hand in your assignment, via ATS click on your ATS history button, where the exact time of your submission is logged. For electronic submissions on Canvas, a date and time log is shown to the lecturer. This provides you with proof that you handed in your work and may prove valuable in the rare cases when assignments are misplaced. The burden of proof of submission of a particular assignment will lie with you.
There may be exceptional circumstances when you will be permitted to send your assignment by post or email. You must follow carefully the instructions provided by the person approving this and you must keep a copy of the assignment.
University College Birmingham maintains a balanced approach to the use of 'anonymous' and 'identified' marking. All online assignment submissions and examinations will be marked without the knowledge of the student’s name, anonymously. Dissertations and similar independent study projects will be marked anonymously where appropriate. Other assessments may have the student’s name identified to the marker where it is impractical to extend anonymity. This is usually the case for practical assessments.
An assignment frontispiece is only needed for submissions via the Resources Centre (Assignment Tracking System). These are available by logging in to the Assignment Tracking System on the UCB Portal. The 'Help’ button provides you with full guidance and answers to typical questions which may arise. You do not usually need to access a frontispiece for any online submission.
Grading Late Assignments
All late work will be marked as any other piece of work. However, the final grade to be awarded will be decided only after the Board of Examiners has considered any extenuating circumstances. If the Board takes the view that your extenuating circumstances are genuine, then the original mark will stand; if not, then your work may be awarded a maximum mark of 40% for undergraduate work and 50% for postgraduate work, but could be awarded 0%. Your module leader should not be approached concerning Extenuating Circumstances. You should only contact the Registry. Extenuating Circumstances are discussed confidentially at a separate board meeting. The lecturer’s marks are based solely on the relative merits of the work. It is the Board of Examiners who determine the final mark.
Querying an an Assessment Mark
If you have a query about the mark awarded for an assessment or the feedback provided on it, please make an appointment to meet with your module lecturer (the name of the specific marker/assessor will be noted at the end of your feedback). During this time, the lecturer (marker) can go through the assignment with you and address any concerns that you have. Most issues can be sorted out at this stage. If, following discussion with the module lecturer (marker), your concerns have not been addressed, the next step is to contact the Head of Department.
Querying a Final Year or PG Dissertation/Research Project/Final Project Mark
If you have a query about the mark awarded for your Dissertation, Research Project or Final Project, or the feedback provided on it, please make an appointment with your supervisor. During this time, your supervisor can got through the assignment with you and address any concerns you have. Most issues can be sorted out at this stage. If, following discussion with your supervisor, your concerns have not been addressed, the next step is to contact the Head of Department.
There are two main University examination periods which take place at the end of each semester, normally January and May. There are also three resit periods and these are usually held in February, April and July. Dates for the main exam periods are available here and on Canvas. Examinations for awards with professional accreditation or which form part of an End Point Assessment on a higher or degree apprenticeship may be subject to different dates, This may also apply to short course awards additional to your higher education programme.
Please note that for all full-time students resit periods will take place at the end of the level of study. Resit Examination dates may vary for part-time, final year and postgraduate students. Practical exam periods may also vary. Full details of examination periods for your course can be found on Canvas. If you have any queries about examination dates contact the Examinations Unit.
Attendance at Examinations
Students should not make any holiday arrangements or book tickets to leave the UK before any published examination period, something that applies to students from the UK and abroad. It may not be possible to reschedule any examination a student may miss under these circumstances, which may result in failure of the examination. If this situation is unavoidable, then please contact the Examinations Unit as soon as possible.
Students are reminded that the completion of exams does not mean that they are completely free to begin holidays, etc. Within the published term dates, students may be required to attend resit examination or to provide additional information which would help a Board of Examiners in their decision-making process. You must make yourself available within the published dates for such activities.
Viva Voce Examinations
A student may occasionally be asked to attend an oral, or viva voce, examination. Viva voces are most commonly employed in the period between an internal examiners’ meeting and an external examiners’ meeting (late June or end of February), in cases where the examiners feel that they require a little more information in order to make a decision on the correct grade for a student. Make sure that your Year Manager/Tutor has up-to-date contact details should you be called to a viva voce examination.
Each semester the examination timetable is published by the Examinations Unit via Canvas. This timetable details the date, time and venue of the formal written examinations for all courses. Details of practical examinations will be made available by the relevant module leader. Exams may be paper-based or online. This will be detailed on the timetable.
The examinations will vary in length (usually between one and three hours) and in type. Some may require you to write essay-style answers while others may be based on case studies and focus on your problem solving or practical skills. This year the Semester One examination timetable will be published on Canvas. The Semester Two examination timetable will also be published on Canvas.
Resit timetables (for examinations held in February, April and July) will be published following the examination boards and students must access their resit examination timetable on Canvas. It is each student’s responsibility to check their results on Student Dashboard in My Results as soon as possible after the publication of results to ensure that re-sit exams are not missed.
Before each exam period, students should consult the published timetables on Canvas. It is the responsibility of each individual student to check the make sure that they are aware of the date, time, duration and venue of each of their examinations and to prepare for and to arrive in good time for each sitting. Concerns regarding the timetables should be raised with the Examinations Unit.
If students are scheduled to sit an examination in a location outside of the University College Birmingham Buildings, maps are available on the UCB website and from the Examinations Unit. Note that students with access arrangements for examinations may sit an exam at an alternative venue. This will be notified to the student in advance of the examination.
Some module assessments may use remote or virtual examination software. You will be advised, where this relevant, of the technical requirements, expected conduct during these exams and steps in place to ensure academic integrity.
Student Code of Conduct for Examinations
University College Birmingham places a great deal of importance on the conduct of examinations and in ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to do well. Each student should read the Student Code of Conduct for Examinations before taking any examinations at University College Birmingham. This will help students to be ready for their examinations. A few of the key points are listed below.
- Students must bring their University College Birmingham identity card to every examination that they attend.
- The use of smart phones, smart watches, mobile phones or other mobile devices that permit the storing of exam notes is not permitted.
- If a calculator is required for an examination, University College Birmingham will provide one.
- Students must bring their own pens but not pencil cases.
- Possession of any unauthorised material during the examination will be reported and will be considered evidence of an attempt by the student to complete the examination by unfair means.
- Only manual translation dictionaries are permitted for overseas students (e.g. Chinese to English).
- Only bottled drinks (labels removed) will be allowed in the exam venue.
- Students are required to use only approved examination booklets and stationery.
- A student can enter the exam room in the first 30 minutes of the start of an examination.
- A student is not normally allowed to leave the exam room within the first hour of the start or in the 15 minutes prior to the end of the examination.
- Any student who leaves the examination room without the permission of the invigilator will be deemed to have withdrawn from the examination and will not be readmitted to the examination room.
- If a student wishes to communicate with an invigilator, he/she should raise his/her hand and wait until the invigilator is able to attend him/her.
- No student will communicate with another student in the examination room or attempt to complete his/her script by unfair means.
- At the end of the examination students must remain seated until an invigilator has collected all the scripts.
Late Arrival to an Examination
If a student arrives within the first 30 minutes of an exam, he/she will be admitted but will not be allowed any extra time.
If a student arrives after the first 30 minutes of an exam he/she will be sent back to the Examination Unit where the student will need to complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form explaining the reasons for their lateness.
Cancellation or Postponement of Examinations
In the event of adverse weather, most likely during Semester One Exams, it should be assumed that exams will continue as timetabled unless notified otherwise. Where a student claims to be affected by such conditions and is unable to take the exam they should complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form obtained from the UCB Portal.
In the event of circumstances outside UCB’s control, that impact on the running of examinations, UCB may decide to introduce alternate arrangements for assessment in place of examinations. These are subject to an approval process to ensure fairness and the integrity of your award. Students will be notified of alternative assessment arrangements as soon as possible.
If a student requires additional support or reasonable adjustment to undertake an examination, such as additional time or large print, he or she should contact the Academic Skills Centre firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible so that suitable arrangements can be made. The ASC works closely with the Examinations Unit to support students. Full details can be found in the Code of Practice on Reasonable Adjustments for Students in Examinations.
Overseas Students’ Examination Results
You should not book tickets to leave the UK before your re-sit examination period since you may have to re-sit some assessment(s) as a condition of achievement or progression to the next stage of your studies. If this is unavoidable, then please contact the Examinations Unit as soon as possible for alternative re-sit arrangements to be made. Re-sit examination dates are outlined above and are also available on Canvas.
Students can access the examiner’s comments from their examination scripts by completing a Request to Access Examiners' Comments form, which can be requested by contacting Examinations Unit.
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