Assessment & Hand in: How is your work marked?

How is your work marked?

The marking of student work is taken very seriously indeed and many safeguards are in place to ensure that your work is always assessed consistently and fairly. These are outlined in detail in the University’s Policies & Regulations (UPR AS12, Section 5) but the key points are provided below.

Grading Criteria and Marking Schemes

The School of Creative Arts uses a common Grading Criteria that is aligned to the University’s Grade Descriptors (ie. for Undergraduate work, grades in the 50’s = “Good”, 60’s = “very Good”, etc.). You will see this in the section concerning the 27-Point Scale.

Our Programmes/Courses within the School will all make use of the same Grading Criteria to assist in marking/assessment and to provide a statement of overall performance regarding student work.

However, we recognise that Grading Criteria alone is not detailed enough (nor able to cover the wide variety of courses in the School) to ensure our marking/assessment is consistent and accurate. To this end, our individual courses have produced detailed Marking Schemes. Marking Schemes are specific to each subject/assignment type, and are used by staff to provide fine-grained feedback reflecting performance/quality of work.

Your Course Tutors will supply you with the appropriate Marking Scheme in advance of you commencing work.

Anonymous Marking

The University has a policy that where possible, all summative student work should be submitted and marked anonymously (ie. tutors will not know the identity of the student at the point of assessment). However there are published exceptions to this policy for specific kinds of coursework and, given the particular nature of staff-student working and assessment methods within our School, it is recognised that it will not often be possible to mark all work anonymously in a fair or meaningful way.

The module guide provided for every module will indicate to you where any assessment is covered by the University’s published exemptions (and will therefore NOT be anonymously marked).

Examinations and In Class Tests

Please be advised that whilst none of the Programmes within the School of Creative Arts are assessed through formal examinations, you may at times be required to sit an ‘In-Class-Test’. In such cases the regulations concerning Examinations (for example, no collusion, no unauthorised materials, no mobile phones, etc,) will apply.

What happens to your work when you hand it in?

Your tutors will aim to mark your work promptly and return it to you as soon as possible with a grade and feedback.

What does this actually mean? How do we do this? Why do we do this? 

Please be mindful that your tutors will have a lot of marking to do – not just your work and the work from your entire class, but also the work from many other classes they may be teaching! Your tutors need time to ensure that they provide you with accurate marking and meaningful feedback.

Tutors are set a target of no later than 4 weeks after a submission deadline to mark your work and return grades and feedback to you.

Your tutors will adhere to the School-Level (and sometimes Programme-Level) Grading Criteria when assessing your work. They will also refer to individual Marking Schemes.

What does this actually mean? How do we do this? Why do we do this? 

In determining the appropriate grade to award to your work, your tutors will be referring to Grading Criteria, and to Marking Scheme that are provided on every brief when assignments are set.

  • The Grading Criteria is a listing of the characteristics that tend to distinguish the level of performance expected within each grade-band (e.g. for undergraduate assessment, Satisfactory Work = grades in 40s, Very Good Work = grades in the 60s).
  • The Marking Scheme(s) provides a more granular description of what will be expected of work in each grade band for each type of assessment (e.g. written, practical, presentation, etc.).

The Grading Criteria and Marking Scheme work together to ensure that consistency in marking is achieved.

This means that the grades and feedback returned to you are never the outcome of one tutor’s untested judgement.

All summative assessment is ‘internally moderated’.

What does this actually mean? How do we do this? Why do we do this?

The assessment process is always checked and confirmed by someone else, thus ensuring that marking is unbiased and fair.

By moderating the assessment activity we safeguard against any risk of favouritism because it is not possible for the grades awarded to a group of students to be the product of a single person’s judgement or opinion.

  • At Level 4, or for small / low-stake assessments, moderation involves a 2nd Marker who reviews a sample of the assessments made by the 1st Marker. The sample size will be equal to the square-root of the total number of assessments in the batch (but never fewer than 5) and will comprise a selection from across the range of grades awarded.
  • For larger / higher-stake assessments (e.g. Major Projects, Degree Essays or work which accounts for over 50% of the module as a whole), ‘full-blind-double-marking’ will take place. This involves the 1st and 2nd Markers assessing ALL of the work independently of each other, then confirming that their marks are aligned. If a disagreement arises at this stage, a 3rd person is brought in to compare marks and reconcile any differences.

A sample of the assessments are additionally checked and confirmed by an External Examiner.

What does this actually mean? How do we do this? Why do we do this? 

All of our courses appoint External Examiners. These are typically tutors from similar courses taught elsewhere, at a different university. The External Examiner visits the University at the end of each semester and reviews a sample of Level 5, 6 & 7 assessments by your tutors, selected from across the range of grades awarded.

The External Examiner is a member of the Examination Board, and their role is critical in confirming that our marking is consistent, fair, and comparable with the marking taking place in other Higher Education Institutions. Furthermore, many of our own tutors also work as External Examiners for other Universities, and this in turn helps to ensure that our marking is aligned to national standards.

At the end of the process, Module Boards of Examiners are convened to check and confirm final module grades. The Board’s membership includes the Module Tutors but additionally comprises the Programme Leader, the Subject Group Leader (as Chairman) and the External Examiner.

Together, the members of the Module Board of Examiners see all grades awarded to all students across all modules, and have an opportunity to check the spread and range of marks, again ensuring that the assessment process is fair for all students.

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