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					                                           DRAFT CHSS Quality Report for 2006-7


                                          HSS QAE COMMITTEE PAPER 07/09
                                                                   For discussion

Draft College QAE report

The draft College QAE report is attached. The Committee is invited to:

   comment on this document
   agree that the Convener can finalise this document and submit it to Senatus
    Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee, taking into account CQAEC’s
    comments.

Alan Ducklin/ Tom Ward
March 2008




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                 College of Humanities and Social Sciences

 College Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (CQAEC)
 Report to Senatus Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee
                      (SQAEC) for 2006-07

1. Summary

The report details the Quality Assurance and Enhancement procedures employed
within the College and how they have been implemented in 2006-07. This covers
monitoring by Schools of about 1350 UG courses and over 200 UG programmes, and
about 140 PGT programmes, as well as programmes and courses in the Office of
Lifelong Learning (OLL). The report is based on CQAEC’s review of the annual
QAE reports submitted to the College by the Schools within the College and by OLL.
The report also takes account of External Examiners’ reports, external reviews and
accreditations of programmes including Teaching Programmes Reviews and
Quinquennial reviews. It provides the opportunity to reflect on issues raised through
the QAE processes, and to share good practice, in particular in relation to the College
Learning and Teaching Strategy, and thereby to enhance the quality of learning and
teaching in the College.

In general it is clear that Schools and OLL have broadly appropriate QAE procedures
in place for undergraduate and taught postgraduate provision in line with College
QAE requirements. There is evidence of improvements over the past year in relation
to some Schools’ QAE procedures, with marked progress in some Schools in relation
to the monitoring of postgraduate taught provision. The Committee is seeking to
broaden its overview of QAE procedures to include Continuing Professional
Development and the taught element of research postgraduate.

The report also covers the QAE monitoring arrangements of Edinburgh College of Art
(eca) which has a Memorandum of Agreement with the University for the
accreditation of eca awards by the University. On the basis of the institutional QAE
report submitted by eca, the Committee is content that eca continues to have
appropriate QAE systems in place.

2. Aims and Objectives

This report indicates the extent to which Schools within the College, and OLL, have
Quality Assurance and Enhancement procedures that can be said to be appropriate,
comprehensive and effective, and the extent to which the relevant material and
statistics have been returned. It also provides the College the opportunity to review
the appropriateness of its quality assurance and enhancement procedures. Appendices
2 to 3 provide detailed commendations and recommendations on all QAE reports.

The report identifies any issues and trends arising from QAE reports, especially those
that might have wider bearing for teaching across the College and University as well
as within any particular review area. The report also provides the opportunity to


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acknowledge and share good practice, particularly in relation to the College Learning
and Teaching Strategy.

The report also reviews eca’s institutional QAE report in the context of the
Memorandum of Agreement between the institutions for the accreditation of eca
awards by the University.

3. The operation of annual College Quality Assurance and Enhancement
   Procedures

Responsibility for the implementation of Quality Assurance and Enhancement is
devolved to Schools and OLL and is overseen by the College Quality Assurance and
Enhancement Committee (CQAEC) through the Schools’ and OLL’s annual QAE
reports.

Each year the College sets out the requirements for QAE reports in a guidance
document. CQAEC agreed the guidance for 2006-07 at its meeting on 15 November
2007. In most respects the draft guidance is similar to that which applied for reporting
on 2005-06. The main change is that Schools and OLL are now asked to report on
their progress in implementing the College Learning and Teaching Strategy. The
guidance is located at:

www.hss.ed.ac.uk/AcademicAdmin/QualAssurance/QAEGuidance.htm

Sections 3.1 to 3.7 analyse the nature of engagement with QAE procedures across the
College. Appendix 2 provides detailed commendations and recommendations for each
School in respect of its QAE report, and Appendix 3 provides equivalent material in
relation to OLL.

3.1 Procedures for reviewing School QAE reports

Each annual QAE report is reviewed by the CQAEC, both through focussed subgroup
meetings and through a main meeting of CQAEC. As part of this process, a member
of CQAEC is allocated as lead reviewer for each QAE report. The lead reviewer
identifies areas of good practice for dissemination within the College and any
concerns arising out of the report. CQAEC then discusses these issues, and sets out
specific and general issues arising from each QAE reports in this report.

In the past, the Committee has allocated each review area a different lead reviewer to
the one allocated the previous year. This year, the Committee decided that, where
possible, it would allocate the same lead reviewer to a review area for two
consecutive years. This was not possible in all case, due to changes in School
representatives on the Committee. However, where this was possible, the feedback
has been positive.

3.2 Location of responsibility for QAE within Schools

The vast majority of Schools in CHSS now have well-established structures of
responsibility for QAE issues, and do not have immediate plans to make substantial
changes. Schools generally conduct the detailed work of reviewing Course

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Monitoring Forms at subject area level, typically through Teaching Review meetings,
though in some cases these are also reviewed at School level by the QAE Committee
or Director of Quality. Some Schools then consider the outcomes of this review
process at a formal QAE Committee meeting, whereas other Schools have a
designated individual responsible at School level for collating the outcomes of subject
area review into a single School QAE report. In the case of most Schools, QAE issues
are referred to a range of different formal Committees even where there is a formal
QAE Committee. One School (Education) is in the process of a fundamental review
of the governance, management and Committee structures for handling QAE
processes. Another School (Health in Social Science) recognises the potential benefits
of further standardisation of its QAE procedures across its different subject areas, and
is currently working to address this issue.

As was the case in the previous session, in 2007-08 some Schools have had
difficulties in achieving continuity of representation on the CQAEC Committee as a
result of staff sabbaticals. It is necessary to stress the importance for Schools to have
continuity of representation, in order that their representatives can participate fully in
the process of peer reviewing of School QAE reports and in the activities of the
Committee more generally. Whilst the School representatives have performed
admirably under the circumstances, the College will continue to encourage Schools to
as far as possible nominate the same QAE representative for the full year, and over a
number of years. However, it is unlikely that the pressures on Heads of Schools to set
up these arrangements will diminish in 2008-09.

3.3 Course and Programme Monitoring

The College has well established procedures for course monitoring based on standard
templates, which it did not change for 2006-07. From School QAE reports, it is clear
that Schools made further improvements during 2006-07 in terms of obtaining
completed CMFS for courses, with eight out of ten Schools now achieving a full or
almost full return rate for undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses. Of the two
Schools that did not quite achieve this rate of success, one has provided a clear
explanation for the circumstances and has made recommendations for addressing
these issues, and the other plans to implement revised course monitoring
arrangements for Honours courses than run in 2007-08 in order to address the
procedural weaknesses that have been identified.

QAE procedures at PGT level have historically not been as systematic as the
arrangements at UG level. The number of PGT programmes in the College has
increased substantially in recent years, from about 115 in 2005-06 to about 140 in
2006-07 and is expected to rise to about 170 by 2008-09. The number of PGT
students in the College has increased during this period from 1248 FTE in 2002-03
(the year in which the College was established) to 1590 in 2005-06 and 1902 in 2006-
07. This expansion in PGT activity will increasingly require Schools to have in place
systematic QAE procedures. Substantial progress on this agenda was achieved in
2006-07, particularly in two Schools, and as a result all Schools now report that they
have systematic arrangements for PGT course monitoring, though in some cases these
arrangements may need to be consolidated.



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In 2005-06 the College for the first time asked Schools to extend course monitoring to
include the taught element of postgraduate research degrees. One School (Social and
Political Studies) introduced arrangements for this in 2005-06 and has continued to
operate them in 2006-07. The College is not aware of any other School having
addressed this issue. The Committee will continue to reinforce the need for
monitoring the taught elements of PGR degrees, and will make this an item for
discussion at its meeting in May 2008.

The Committee has suggested that the College amend its QAE reporting Checklist so
as to encourage Schools to report separately on the satisfactory return of CMFs for
UG courses, CMFs for PGT courses, and CMFs for the taught elements of PGR
programmes.

3.4    Presentation and analysis of statistics

For the 2005-06 review process the College substantially revised the aspects of
guidance that relate to course and programme monitoring, and the production of
statistics. This guidance remained largely unchanged for 2006-07. In general Schools
are following this guidance, and there is a greater degree of compliance in 2006-07
than there was in 2005-06. However, several Schools still have significant
opportunities to make further progress in terms of the completeness of statistics.
Whilst some Schools are using their QAE reports to demonstrate excellent practice in
reflecting on patterns and trends of course and programme outcomes, a minority of
Schools provide a very limited amount of reflection and remain uncertain regarding
how to go about this.

The production of statistical information for QAE reporting purposes can be laborious
and in some respects is hampered by the limitations of the current student record
systems. For example, it is difficult to produce DACS reports on course results that
allow Schools to reflect on the implementation of the Extended Common Marking
Scheme by breaking the A grade into A1/A2/A3. As was the case last year, the
College has worked with Registry to provide Schools with standard information on
joint degree outcomes, since some Schools have found it difficult to collate this
information in relation to joint degrees for which they are not the lead School.
CQAEC has also discussed and agreed a set of standard reports that it would like
EUCLID to provide to meet School QAE reporting requirements. The Committee has
encouraged some Schools to make further improvements in aspects of the collation
and presentation of statistics ahead of introduction of EUCLID, though it does not
consider it an efficient use of Schools’ time to put disproportionate time into these
developments.

3.5 Student engagement with QAE processes

School QAE reports demonstrate that there is considerable good practice across the
Colleges regarding obtaining feedback from students on the learning experience,
varying from the use of standard mechanisms of Staff Student Liaison Committees
and course questionnaires, to having student membership on other School
Committees, holding open fora for students, and running programme level
questionnaires. It is clear that many Schools are actively reflecting on whether there
are ways to enhance these arrangements.

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Over the past year, CQAEC has discussed in depth the issue of the design and
management of student course feedback questionnaires, and has considered in detail
the different questionnaire instruments in use across the College. It has agreed that the
College should develop a standard course questionnaire, drawing on good practice in
the College and beyond. Schools would be free to use this standard questionnaire
(modified or supplemented with additional questions if necessary), or to continue to
use alternative instruments if they consider them more appropriate to their disciplines.
The Committee will discuss this draft questionnaire at its meeting on 13 March 2008.

In addition to operating course questionnaires, there is evidence of a gradual shift
towards an increased use of Schools operating programme-level questionnaires. The
College is aware of this practice within six Schools, and it is possible that this practice
is operating in other areas. There are further opportunities to expand the use of
programme questionnaires in the College, and this could give Schools valuable
information regarding their provision. However, there are risks that if Schools
introduce programme questionnaires in an uncoordinated way then this could lead to
survey fatigue among students, particularly in the context of the increasing
prominence of the National Student Survey. Academic Policy Committee discussed
the idea of a University undergraduate programme questionnaire at its meeting in
December 2007, and it would be helpful if APC could clarify whether it is likely to
pursue this concept further, in order that Schools can take this into account in
developing their own plans.

3.6 Peer Observation of Teaching

CQAEC is of the view that POT can be a helpful and developmental practice both for
the observer and observed, and should be a significant part of Schools’ learning and
teaching strategies. It has therefore actively encouraged Schools to implement
systems for POT, where they did not already operate, and has actively monitored
Schools’ progress in this respect.

CQAEC reported last year that there was progress across the College in relation to
POT, with three Schools (History and Classics, MSE, and PPLS) having taken steps
to increase POT activities, two further Schools (SPS and Education) having plans to
increase POT activities. The evidence from this year’s QAE process confirms that
most of these Schools have made progress in implementing POT, though MSE does
not consider its system to be working effectively. In addition, two other Schools (Law
and Health) have decided to introduce School-wide approaches to POT. OLL has also
taken steps to formalise its peer observation activities. In general, therefore, the
College is moving towards more formalised POT activities. However, participation
levels remain low in some subject areas within Schools that have formal policies, and
three Schools (Divinity, LLC, ACE) do not have formal policies, though POT does
occur at subject area level in two of these Schools.

It is clear that the formal University position on POT, that all teaching staff should be
observed once per year, is considered too onerous by a large number of Schools. The
Committee is aware that SQAEC has responded positively to approaches to POT that
give priority to the development of staff early in their careers at the University.
Several of the Schools that have developed their formal approaches to POT in the past

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year have done so on the basis of providing annual observation for staff early in their
careers at the University, and the potential for a lesser frequency of observation for
staff later in their careers at the University. Several other Schools have aimed for
different approaches that are also light-touch in comparison with the formal
University position.

3.7      QAE procedures for the Office of Lifelong Learning

OLL became part of CHSS during 2004-05 and as a result became subject to CHSS’s
quality procedures. The nature of OLL’s work differentiates it from Schools in CHSS
but since becoming part of the College it has made steady progress towards
harmonising with the underlying principles of the CHSS QAE guidelines, though in
some cases its actual procedures differ from those operating in Schools. Over the past
year OLL has undertaken extensive work to develop and implement new QAE
procedures for gathering and reflecting on feedback from students, tutors and external
examiners for CPE courses in line with CQAEC guidelines, yet tailored to ‘fit’ with
specific OLL teaching and learning objectives and practices. This includes the
introduction in Summer 2007 of Course Monitoring Forms (CMFs) and the annual
use of online student questionnaires for all courses. OLL has also reflected on ways to
engage students in QAE procedures, despite the difficulties in doing this with its part-
time student body, through initiatives such as student feedback meetings and
including student membership on the Interim Validation Board for Continuing
Studies. The College views OLL’s progress towards harmonisation with its QAE
procedures very positively. It will monitor the implementation of these developments.

The College is in discussion with OLL and the Institute of Applied Language Studies
regarding structural changes to bring together the two units, and it will be important
that QAE procedures are considered as part of these developments.

4.     External Examiners

The procedures for dealing with undergraduate external examiners’ reports are as
follows:

     External Examiners send their reports directly to the Head of College.
     The Associate Dean (QAE) reads and acknowledges reports on behalf of the Head
      of College.
     The Associate Dean (QAE) marks up the reports with starred points requiring
      responses or actions, and forwards them to the relevant Head of School.
     Schools respond directly to the External Examiner with copies to the Associate
      Dean (QAE). (Heads of Schools may delegate this task to a member of staff with
      an appropriate remit within the School.)
     The Associate Dean (QAE) writes directly to External Examiners where they raise
      issues of relevance to the College or University.
     The Associate Dean (QAE) provides Heads of Schools with more detailed
      analyses of the External Examiners Reports, and produces a College report on
      External Examiners Reports for the Head of College and University Director of
      Quality Assurance and Enhancement, which identifies themes and issues within
      the College which may require actions.


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   Through the annual QAE reporting process, Schools indicate any relevant School-
    wide issues arising out of the external examining process, and confirm that
    appropriate action is being taken in response to all external examiners’ reports.

Last year’s report indicated that the College had not managed to obtain two external
examiners’ reports for 2005-06. The College subsequently obtained one of these
reports. It did not prove possible to obtain the report from the other external
examiner, due to the long-term illness of the examiner. In 2006-07 the College
obtained reports from all 145 [confirm figure] Undergraduate External Examiners. In
general, the reports confirm that the quality and standards of undergraduate
programmes and courses within the College are of an appropriate level, and that
assessment processes were being followed. Where the reports raised any particular
issues which may require action at School level, the College has raised them with
Schools. Appendix 5 sets out the Associate Dean (QAE)’s findings from his review of
these reports.

The College Postgraduate Office conducts a broadly similar process for postgraduate
taught external examiners’ reports as that with applies at undergraduate level. The
Postgraduate Office has for the first time produced a report summarising themes in
postgraduate external examiners’ reports. This report, which covers 2005-06 reports,
is attached as Appendix 6. The report indicates that overall the level of teaching and
learning opportunities is comparable to those at other institutions, and in some cases
exceeds them. Whilst the majority of feedback from external examiners was positive,
the report does identify some issues which may require action, the most frequent of
which related to consistency of marking in relation to the Postgraduate Common
Marking Scheme. In 2005-06 there were 106 external examiners for PGT
programmes, of which the College received reports from 94. The report also indicates
that there was an apparently substantial shortfall in formal School responses to the
external examiner reports. The College has strengthened the procedures for obtaining
reports from external examiners, and the College Postgraduate Studies Committee has
stressed to Schools the importance of responding formally to external examiners. Due
to the timescales of PGT examination board arrangements, and the necessity to follow
up some external examiners to obtain their reports, it has not yet been possible for the
College to produce the report for 2006-07 PGT external examiner reports though its
work on this is underway. When the report is complete it will be submitted to the
College PG Studies Committee and included as an Appendix in next year’s CQAEC
report.

In 2007-08 CHSS introduced a standard structure for setting undergraduate
external examiner fees, which it had developed in partnership with the College
of Science and Engineering and the College of Medicine and Veterinary
Medicine. This new approach, under which external examiners are allocated to
fee bands on the basis of the number of credits that they are responsible for
examining, will provide a consistent and transparent approach to setting fees
for undergraduate external examiners. At the same time as introducing this new
fee structure, the College has devolved to Schools the budgets for
undergraduate external examiner fees and expenses, which should give Schools
incentives to reflect on the number of external examiners they require for their
programmes. The College continued to operate its existing fee structure for


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postgraduate taught external examiner fees.

5.      Internal and External Reviews of Programmes
Teaching Programme Reviews

The CQAEC report on 2006-07 indicated that the School of Philosophy, Psychology
and Language Sciences had not yet submitted formal responses for the 2005-06 TPR
of English Language. The School has now provided a formal response.

The following TPRs took place in 2006-07 in CHSS:

    Classics
    Economics
    History of Art
    Philosophy

Schools have provided formal responses in relation to all these TPRs. These formal
responses, which are satisfactory in addressing the recommendations in a constructive
manner, are attached as appendices.

CQAEC considered the outcomes of the 2006-07 TPRs at its meeting on 15
November 2007. CUGSC will consider these outcomes at its meeting on 17 April
2008. In addition to recommendations and commendations particular to the review
area, the following specific issues and themes arose from the 2006-07 TPRs:

    Substantial change underway in academic staffing and / or curriculum design in
     the majority of the areas.
    Considerable reflection underway regarding possible approaches to direction of
     studies and pastoral support for students, and the value of support staff
     involvement in this.
    Both commendations for existing good practice in feedback to students on
     assessment and recommendations for improved feedback delivery.
    The commitment of staff at all levels to deliver research-based teaching.
    Increased use of e-learning to enhance the learning experience, despite some
     issues regarding support for these developments.

The first issue is primarily a matter for the individual review areas to address. The
latter four issues are covered in depth in Section 8 below.

Quinquennial Reviews

The CQAEC report on 2005-06 indicated that the College had not yet received a
formal response for the QQRs of ACE (2004-05). ACE have now submitted a formal
response. The only Quinquennial Reviews of postgraduate programmes held in 2006-
07 was for the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. The report indicated
that the panel was impressed overall with the commitment and dedication of the
School staff and the high quality of their courses and students. The Panel made a wide
range of recommendations for the School to consider, particularly with regard to the


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need for greater cohesion within the School. The School is in the process of
formulating its response.

Professional and Statutory Body Reviews

The following external bodies accredited programmes in the College in 2006-07:

         The Nursing and Midwifery Council reviewed the BN (Hons) Nursing.
         The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland reviewed the MA (Hons)
          Economics and Accounting, MA (Hons) Business Studies and Accounting,
          and LLB Law and Accountancy.
         AMBA (Association of MBAs) reviewed the full-time and part-time MBA and
          the MBA in International Business.

The College has informed CQAEC of the positive outcome of each of these
accreditations, and of the schedule of Professional and Statutory Body reviews in
2007-08 and later.

6.       QAE arrangements for Continuing Professional Development provision

In its last report, CQAE signalled that it planned to work with relevant areas of the
College to develop appropriate QAE arrangements for CPD provision, where they are
not already in place. Whilst the College has undertaken some preliminary discussion
regarding this matter, it has not yet taken it forward. It plans to submit a paper on this
matter to SQAEC’s meeting on 22 April 2008, and then take the matter forward in the
course of 2008.

7.       Issues identified through QAE processes

From a review of Schools’ and OLL’s QAE reports, TPRs, External Examiners’
reports, and the results of the National Student Survey, the following issues appear
particularly worthy of attention and require action. Most of them have been raised in
previous years, and the College or University is already coordinating action in relation
many to them. There is no evidence of new issues emerging.

7.1 Introduction of Extended Common Marking Scheme and Honours Degree
    Classification by Mean Mark

The majority of Schools reflect on the impact of the ECMS in their QAE reports, as
do a large number of undergraduate external examiners. In general, it appears that the
ECMS has as yet only had limited effect on marking habits, with little evidence of
increased use of the full 30 point range of the A grade, and a degree of inconsistency
between areas in terms of marking practice. The vast majority of external examiners
do not comment directly on the appropriateness of the Scheme. However, those that
do comment tend to be critical of aspects of the Scheme, particularly its nonlinearity.
Senatus should take into account these comments when it reviews progress in
implementing the Scheme. It is not clear whether the full implementation of the
Scheme simply requires time for markers to become accustomed to new marking
practice, or whether more practical activities should be undertaken at School or
College level to stimulate discussion about appropriate marking practices within the

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new Scheme. The College will continue to review Schools’ progress in implementing
the Scheme, and encourages Schools to consider ways to stimulate discussion
regarding appropriate marking practices, for example along the lines of the Away Day
held by Classics.

There is little evidence in School QAE reports that the new approach to classification
by mean mark has led to any practical difficulties for examination boards. Whilst
some external examiners raise concern that operating a system of classification by
mean mark in conjunction with the ECMS could lead to an upward drift in first class
degrees, there is no evidence that any significant shifts in patterns regarding student
degree outcomes have occurred, though there may have been changes at the level of
individual programmes.

These issues have also been discussed at the College UG Studies Committee on 22
November 2007, and it reached similar conclusions.

Whilst discussion regarding the implementation of the Extended Common Marking
Scheme has tended to focus on the undergraduate ECMS, PGT external examiners
reports suggest that there are similar issues regarding the use of the postgraduate
Common Marking Scheme.

7.2    Approaches to Moderation

The comments of undergraduate external examiners suggest that the use of double-
marking remains widespread in the College. The Committee encourages Schools to
consider moving from double-marking to alternative forms of moderation which
safeguard academic standards while utilising teaching resources more effectively.
Moving away from double-marking to more efficient forms of moderation can assist
Schools in providing prompter return of coursework to students and in coping with
the tight turnaround times for marking following the May examination diet. The
Committee is therefore encouraged that one School and two subject areas indicate that
they are planning to increase the use of moderation, rather than double marking for
coursework. Double marking is still appropriate for dissertations.

7.3 Library resources

As in the last two years, some Schools have used their QAE reports to express
concerns about the provision of Library resources and the implications for teaching.
In addition, the College receives separate annual Library statements from Schools.
From these statements, and the QAE reports, it is clear that in general Schools
continue to face upward pressures on their Library materials budgets and this is
constraining their ability to provide appropriate Library materials to support their
learning and teaching. It is also clear that a minority of Schools have concerns
regarding the implementation of the new College Library materials allocation model.
The College will pass the comments in the QAE reports to the College Library
Committee.




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7.4 Teaching accommodation

Concern regarding teaching accommodation remains a common issue in School
reports. Half of Schools raise concerns regarding aspects of teaching accommodation,
particularly regarding the limited availability of teaching rooms for seminars and the
consistency of equipment in these rooms. The University’s Learning & Teaching
Spaces Study Project also stressed the importance of achieving a common standard of
furnishing and equipment of small teaching rooms.

7.5    Student attendance at tutorials

One School (SPS) reports on the operation of the School-wide policy of penalty
marks for non-attendance in ordinary level courses that it introduced in 2005-06.
Discussion with School representatives during the QAE review process suggests that
this issue has wide resonance across Schools in the College, and that since the
abolition of the Due Performance system Schools have introduced a range of similar
strategies, such as assessing tutorial contribution, to encourage students to attend
tutorials. The College Undergraduate Studies Committee will explore this issue with
Schools, in order to identify the pros and cons of different approaches. It is also
possible that the EUCLID project may result in changes in assessment practice in this
respect.

7.6    Study abroad

In 2006-07 the University introduced arrangements whereby students that study
abroad in year three are classified solely on the basis of their year four work. The
Committee had agreed that in 2007-08 it would carefully review the impact of this
major development in terms of programme outcomes. It plans to consider this issue at
its meeting in May 2008.

A substantial number of UG external examiners criticise the University’s policy of not
counting marks for non-compulsory study abroad towards degree classification.
However, while these concerns are understandable, there are considerable issues
regarding the reliability of translating marks from other institutions onto the
University of Edinburgh scale, and consequent equity issues for students in attempting
to do this. For these reasons the College does not plan to invite Senatus to reconsider
its policy on this matter.

7.7 Impact of increases in student numbers

As was the case for the previous two years, almost half of Schools refer to the impact
on staff workload of increases in student numbers, largely in relation to increases in
postgraduate taught student numbers. However, while one School reports an increase
in pressure on teaching staff as a result of these pressures, another School reports
reduced concern on this front. There is therefore no evidence in School QAE reports
that these pressures are increasing across the College as a whole.




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7.8 External examining of pre-Honours courses

Undergraduate external examiners are required to review and formally sign off the
outcomes of pre-Honours as well as Honours courses. However, the College
understands that some externals examiners may be focussing their efforts on Honours
courses and may not in all cases be giving sufficient attention to pre-Honours
provision. Some undergraduate external examiners’ reports confirm this situation. The
College QAE Committee will discuss this issue at its meeting in May 2008.

8.    College Learning and Teaching Strategy and related Quality Enhancement
      matters

In December 2007 the College Planning and Resources Committee approved the
College’s Learning and Teaching Strategy, which is attached as Appendix 7. In March
2007 the College held a well-attended event to formally launch the Strategy. The
Strategy consists of nine particular implementation points, and a wider framework of
principles. In April 2007 the College issued guidance to Schools and OLL on
implementing the Strategy. It asked that Schools and OLL engage with the specific
implementation points, and that they consciously and systematically reflect on the
Strategy as a whole and on how they plan to implement it in ways most compatible
with their particular disciplines and contexts. The College asked Schools and OLL to
report back in their QAE reports on progress in implementing the Strategy.

The College will undertake its first annual review of the implementation of the L&T
Strategy in April 2008 with the assistance of a review group composed of
representatives from the College’s Undergraduate Studies, Postgraduate Studies, and
QAE Committees, and a student representative. Whilst this QAE report does not seek
to pre-empt that review or to provide information regarding progress on all aspects of
the Strategy, Sections 8.1 to 8.9 do provide some information regarding activities in
support of the Strategy, and other learning and teaching enhancement activities in the
College.

8.1    Coverage of the Strategy in QAE reports

The vast majority of Schools do comment in their QAE reports on how they are
responding to the Strategy, as does OLL. It appears that Schools are predominantly
focussing their attentions on the issues of research-teaching linkages, induction and
study skills, Personal Development Planning, and e-learning. However, there is
considerable variability regarding the extent to which Schools have actively discussed
the Strategy and developed plans in response to it.

8.2    Personal Development Planning and employability

Introducing Personal Development Planning is an important element of the College’s
L&T Strategy. The College held a well-attended workshop in December 2006 to
initiate a College-wide debate regarding the form that PDP should take in the College
and how it could be implemented and supported on an ongoing basis, in parallel with
the introduction of e-portfolio software. Subsequent to this workshop the College
discussed a proposed approach to implementing PDP at its UG, PG and QAE
Committees in April / May 2007, and is now in the early stages of implementing this

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approach, which focuses on integrating PDP into discipline-specific learning and
teaching activities. The College has set up an E-Portfolio Steering Group to assist it in
implementing its plans for PDP. The group has met four times during 2007-08 and
has agreed an e-portfolio template to be used in a programme of pilots at
undergraduate and postgraduate taught level across the College. Two relatively
modest pilots are running in 2007-08, and the College is working with subject areas
regarding plans for three or four further pilots for 2008-09. Since the majority of the
pilots will not run until 2008-09, the College has delayed its plans to make the e-
portfolio available to UG and PGT students across the College until the beginning of
2009-10 in order that it can learn from these pilots. The College has asked the Careers
Service, which is coordinating the University’s Scottish Funding Council-funded
Employability project, to use the project to assist Schools to introduce Personal
Development Planning, as well as to support other initiatives related to employability.

The College has also assisted the Employability project in its work to develop a
University statement on graduate attributes, by holding focus groups for staff and
students.

8.3 Provision of feedback to students on assessment

During 2006-07 the College worked with Schools to find ways to enhance aspects of
assessment and feedback, one of the nine themes within the College Learning and
Teaching Strategy. The College discussed the issue widely during 2006-07 at CUGSC
and CQAEC. In addition, many College and School staff attended the EUSA
workshop on Enhancing First Year Feedback Together in February 2007. These
extensive discussions have led to an increased awareness within the College of the
importance and benefits of providing student feedback in relation to examinations,
and led to four subject areas agreeing to run pilots approaches to examination
feedback. In line with Academic Policy Committee’s position, the College
encouraged Schools to introduce a ‘staged approach’ to feedback to students on level
7 and 8 examination performance.

However, in the light of the results of the 2007 survey, the College Planning and
Resources Committee considered that the College should give greater impetus to
enhancing this aspect of learning and teaching. CUGSC subsequently agreed guidance
covering feedback on examinations for first and second year courses, promptness of
feedback on courses, and providing greater clarity on assessment and feedback in
course handbooks. The College also provided Schools with sources of good practice
and ran a session on feedback and assessment at its February 2008 meeting. Schools
are in the process of considering how to implement the College’s guidance, and the
College is monitoring their progress. It is notable that where external examiners do
comment on feedback to students their views are overwhelmingly positive regarding
practices in the College. This suggests that there are examples of good practice within
the College, which could be rolled out more widely.

8.4    Research-teaching linkages

The College’s Associate Dean (QAE) has surveyed research-teaching linkages in the
College in his role as the University’s Institutional Coordinator for the relevant
Enhancement Theme. Almost all Schools sent representatives to the Centre for

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Teaching, Learning and Assessment’s Colloquium on Research-Teaching Linkages in
June 2007, and the College has also encouraged Schools to send representatives to the
EUSA Colloquium on the topic to be held on 19 March 2008.

8.5    E-Learning

In June 2007 the College Planning and Resources Committee approved a formal
College E-Learning Strategy, and in 2007-08 the College appointed Dr Charlotte
Waelde (School of Law) as its E-Learning Advisor to take forward the Strategy. As
an early priority she has focussed on mapping support structures for e-learning in the
College and identifying ways to improve this, and developing an online discussion
forum. She has also sought to encourage the use of e-learning in relation to
assessment in particular, for example through coordinating discussions regarding
possible pilots using computers to provide students with feedback on assessment. It is
clear from School QAE reports that all Schools are actively engaging with the e-
learning agenda, with many of them reporting increased use of WebCT, and some of
them reporting very innovative approaches to e-learning.

8.6    Appraisal

As part of its Learning and Teaching Strategy, the College has encouraged Schools to
widen the use of appraisal. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some Schools have made
progress in widening the use of appraisal over the past year. The College E&D
Committee is overseeing this development, and has asked Schools to report formally
on progress.

8.7    Teachability

The College has continued to encourage Schools to undertake Teachability reviews,
and has provided advice and support to individual Schools in relation to this. Schools
have made further progress on Teachability since last year, with HCA, OLL and MSE
producing Teachability reports, and ACE having completed their review though they
have yet to produce a final report. The College is aware that Education and LLC have
also made good progress in relation to their Teachability reviews.

8.8    Enhanced System for Direction of Studies

The College introduced a new system for Direction of Studies in 2007-08. Under this
system, Schools have appointed Student Support Officers to conduct many of the
administrative functions previously carried out by Directors of Studies, such as
confirming the presence of students within University and registering students on
courses. Under the new system, most members of academic staff will be DoSs. The
College has set up a group to formally review the new system. The group is due to
conduct its review during March and April of 2008. In conducting this review, the
College will take into account the University’s wider review of academic and pastoral
support.




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8.9      Examples of good practices

From Schools QAE reports, and the report of OLL, it is clear that there is great variety
of Learning and Teaching practices. Identified examples of good practices include:

     The School of Arts, Culture and Environment’s plans to enhance induction
      processes for students.
     The School of Divinity’s plans to run a pilot using laptop computers for traditional
      essay-based examinations at undergraduate level on a mock basis, with support
      from the Principal’s Teaching Award Fund.
     Proactive approaches to gathering student feedback in the School of Education,
      including holding ‘open fora’ at the end of courses.
     The use of Strategic Away Days in the School of Health in Social Science.
     The introduction of feedback on third year examinations by Economic and Social
      History.
     The School of Law’s project to track student progression and to examine the
      relationship between entrance qualifications and student performance.
     The development of online language exercises in the School of Literatures,
      Languages and Cultures.
     The creation of a new Help Desk for MSc Economics students, following on the
      success of a Help Desk in undergraduate Economics
     The development of a Personal Development Portfolio for first year Psychology
      students.
     The introduction of a dedicated session on ‘Working at Honours level’ in the
      School of Social and Political Studies.
     The improvement of procedures for student involvement in QAE procedures in
      the Office of Lifelong Learning.

9. A Forward Look

During the remainder of 2007-08 and into 2008-09 the College will continue to focus
on implementing its Learning and Teaching Strategy. The priorities and specific
activities may be influenced by the scheduled review of the Strategy. The College
anticipates that they will include:

     A programme of E-portfolio pilots
     Developmental work in relation to peer support for learning, with particular
      reference to year one
     Good practice sharing activities in relation to research-teaching linkages
     Support for e-learning developments
     Continued monitoring of Schools’ progress in relation to feedback on assessment

The College will also continue to engage with the EUCLID project, and the
Assessment Administration Working Group, which, put together, will result in a
major process of change in the management of teaching and assessment. It will
inevitably be challenging for the College, and for individual Schools, to give their full
attention to the learning and enhancement agenda at the same time as helping deliver
these crucial projects.


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10.    eca

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the University of Edinburgh and
eca for the accreditation of eca awards by the University came into force in 2004-05.
Under these arrangements, the CHSS CQAEC has responsibility for detailed review
of the operation of eca’s QAE arrangements, and the eca/ University Accreditation
Committee monitors the overall operation of the MoA. CQAEC is content that eca’s
institutional QAE report on 2006-07 demonstrates that eca has robust systems in place
to review the form and quality of teaching and learning across the institution. In its
third report (June 2007), the Accreditation Committee concluded that the two
institutions are operating within the MoA, and that the terms of the MoA remain
broadly appropriate. During 2007-08, the Accreditation Committee has identified
some aspects of the MoA that it would like to revise, particularly in relation to the
process for appointing external examiners, the nature and level of scrutiny of
proposed new programmes and changes to existing programmes, annual QA
procedures and reporting arrangements, and the membership of eca Validation Panels.
The Accreditation Committee is keen that the MoA should clarify that eca’s annual
QA procedures should be appropriate to the nature of eca’s provision and aligned with
Quality Assurance Agency requirements, but not necessarily the same as Edinburgh’s
own QA procedures. The main issue here is that the University requires annual
monitoring to be undertaken at course (ie module) level, whereas many of eca’s
programmes are designed at programme level rather than having a modular structure
The institutions will be seeking formal approval for the proposed changes to the MoA
during 2007-08.

The College also receives copies of external examiner reports for eca’s
undergraduate and postgraduate provision. Since eca’s external examiner reports
are subject to scrutiny in eca by the Academic Registrar as well as the Head of
School / Department, CHSS would not routinely raise issues regarding eca
external examiner reports, though it has the option to do so where appropriate.
[Add brief comment regarding these external examiner reports]




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Appendices

Appendix 1  Remit and Membership of the Committee
Appendix 2  Review of School Quality Assurance and Enhancement reports
Appendix 3  Review of Office of Lifelong Learning Quality Assurance and
            Enhancement report
Appendix 4 Review of Edinburgh College of Art (eca) institutional QAE report
Appendix 5 Associate Dean (QAE) report on Undergraduate External Examiners’
            Reports on 2006-07
Appendix 6 College Postgraduate Office report on Postgraduate Taught External
            Examiners Reports on 2005-06
Appendix 7 CHSS Learning and Teaching Strategy
Appendix 8 Formal response to Classics Teaching Programme Review
Appendix 9 Formal response to Economics Teaching Programme Review
Appendix 10 Formal response to History of Art Teaching Programme Review
Appendix 11 Formal response to Philosophy Teaching Programme Review




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Appendix 1

Remit and Membership of College Quality Assurance and Enhancement
Committee

Convener       CHSS Associate Dean (QAE)
Secretary      Head of College Academic Office

Membership 10 School QA Directors; representative from the Office of
           Lifelong Learning; representative from eca; representative
           from College of Science and Engineering; ex officio Dean
           (PG); ex officio Dean of UG studies, ex officio Associate
           Dean(UG); ex officio Associate Dean (Learning and
           Teaching Innovation); Deputy College Registrar; 2 student
           representatives

Remit             to oversee the implementation across the College of the
                   University's strategy for quality assurance of teaching,
                   including procedures to ensure that: a. all award-bearing
                   courses and programmes have in place staff-student
                   liaison committees which meet regularly and report
                   action taken in response to issues addressed. b. all
                   award-bearing courses and programmes of study are
                   subject to periodic monitoring and review in accordance
                   with College and University requirements. c.
                   arrangements for external examining are securely in
                   place, and appropriate action is promptly taken where
                   necessary to address issues raised in external examiners'
                   reports.
                  to receive reports from the School QA&E Committees
                   and to act as a College Quality Audit Committee
                  to take a proactive role in promoting Quality
                   Enhancement and to monitor changes and innovation in
                   Teaching and Learning within the College.


Current     Alan Ducklin; (Convener); Tom Ward (Secretary); Dr Martin
membership: Hammer (ACE); Dr Mike Purcell (Divinity); Brian Martin
               (Education); Dr David Gillanders (Health); Dr James Fraser
               (HC&A); Dr Catriona Carter (Law); Dr Bill Webster (LLC); Dr
               Tina Harrison (MSE); Dr Peter Ackema (PPLS); Dr Luke March
               (SPS); Irene Bruce (eca); Graham Venters (OLL); Anne Clark
               (student rep); Elle Clark (student rep); Dr Andrew Coulson
               (CSE); Professor Jake Ansell; Professor Chris Clark; Janet
               Rennie; Stephen Tierney




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Appendix 2: Review of School QAE Reports

School: Arts, Culture and Environment

Checklist

All elements of the checklist are ticked positively. Whilst Archaeology was within
ACE in 2006-07, the operation of its QAE procedures has been covered within the
History, Classics and Archaeology report in order to assist the integration of the
subject area into the School. The School has provided a formal response to the
History of Art Teaching Programme Review.

Good Practice

   Report indicates that the School has addressed some of the recommendations that
    CQAEC made in relation to the previous School QAE report, and further dialogue
    has confirmed that action has been taken on additional issues.
   The care which is taken to ensure that student feedback is obtained, and the way in
    which such feedback from students is acted upon.
   Establishment of a Postgraduate Staff-Student Liaison Committee covering
    History of Art.
   The introduction of systematic reporting on postgraduate courses and
    programmes.
   The extension of the use of moderation, rather than double-marking, in History of
    Art.
   Plans to enhance induction processes for students.
   Enhanced feedback on exams and project work in History of Art.
   The formal response to the History of Art Teaching Programme Review, which
    demonstrates a positive engagement with the recommendations.
   The coverage and presentation of statistics on course and programme outcomes is
    an improvement on the previous year, though not yet fully in line with CQAEC
    guidance.

Areas for further consideration

   Provide a rather more detailed report, with greater analysis of the outcomes of the
    QAE procedures and more systematic reporting on progress against CQAEC
    recommendations.
   Discuss further the possibilities for more integration within the School both
    pedagogical and in relation to QAE procedures.
   Report on the planned formulation of an ACE QAE Policy document, and develop
    and monitor an ACE QAE policy framework to support its implementation.
   Monitor impact of increasing PG numbers on the quality of the learning
    experience.
   Review the QAE implications of introducing a School Common Workload Model.
   Take further steps to encourage markers to use the full range of the Extended
    Common Marking Scheme, particularly in relation to pre-Honours courses in
    which in 2006-07 there was very limited use of the upper reaches of the A band.


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   Provide more complete set of statistics on course and programme outcomes in line
    with CQAEC guidance, and provide greater evidence of reflection on patterns and
    trends in this data. Tabular statistics and bar charts can be useful for identifying
    trends and patterns but require numbers as well as percentages in order to enable
    interpretation and comparison.
   Assess the added value of introducing autonomous learning groups in History of
    Art.
   Report on the outcome of the School’s discussions regarding Personal
    Development Planning.
   Continue to look at ways to enhance uptake of Peer Observation in Teaching
    across all areas of the School.
   Continue to work with eca to put appropriate QAE procedures in place for the
    planned joint eca / University of Edinburgh Architecture degrees.
   Provide additional information regarding the ways that the School is engaging
    systematically with the College Learning and Teaching Strategy.




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School: Divinity

Checklist

The School achieved a 100% return rate for completed Course Monitoring Forms for
undergraduate courses, and a high return rate for postgraduate courses. The report
provides a detailed analysis of the reasons for difficulties in obtaining completed
CMFs for some courses, and recommends ways to address these issues. All other
elements of the checklist are ticked positively.

Good Practice

   The report demonstrates that in general the School’s QAE procedures are
    operating well.
   Extensive use of e-learning tools, in sensible ways designed to enhance the
    learning experience.
   The use of pro-forma marking sheets assists in ensuring consistent marking
    practice.
   The appointment of a ‘Dissertation Manager’ to help ensure that the dissertation
    writing process for Honours students is well-supported for students and smooth
    for both students and staff.
   There are strong links between research and teaching, especially at postgraduate
    level.

Areas for further consideration

   Continue to encourage staff to participate in Peer Observation of Teaching, for
    example by front loading it relatively early in the academic year.
   Consider implementing the proposals in the report as appropriate in order to seek
    to achieve a full return of CMFs for postgraduate courses.
   Provide further information regarding the mechanisms for engaging students in
    the QAE processes and for providing feedback to students on the outcomes of
    QAE processes, such as the results of liaison committee meetings.
   Provide a more complete set of statistics, including breaking down data on A
    grade results into A1/A2/A3, and provide greater reflection on the patterns and
    trends of course and programme outcomes. In doing so, reflect on the reasons for
    relatively high proportions of students in the lower pass bands for some first year
    courses (Christian Theology 1, Christian Ethics 1).
   Report on progress in relation to plans to introduce programme monitoring at PGT
    level, which should accompany rather than supplant monitoring at course level.




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School: Education

Checklist

Not all undergraduate and postgraduate courses supplied a Course Monitoring Form,
though there was a considerable improvement on previous years and the School has
provided an explanation for the missing forms and indicated that it is taking steps to
ensure full compliance in 2007-08. All other elements of the checklist are ticked
positively.

Good Practice

   Having conducted a Quality Audit in the summer of 2007 with a view to taking a
    more strategic approach to QAE, and plans to follow this up with a stage two
    report in spring 2008.
   Implementing simplified QAE practices for UG courses and programmes, plans to
    take a more systematic approach to QAE for postgraduate programmes and
    courses, and continued efforts to close the QAE reporting cycle.
   Proactive approaches to gathering student feedback, including holding ‘open fora’
    at the end of courses and recognising the need to develop alternative ways of
    involving part-time and e-learning students as student representatives in the QAE
    processes.
   Moves to achieve greater consistency in the word length among honours
    assignments.
   Adoption of innovative teaching methods and willingness to adapt and evolve
    teaching methods.

Areas for further consideration

   Clarify the role of the School QAE Director in relation to School Committees, and
    associated governance questions.
   Report on the impact of new QAE arrangements at PG level.
   Continue to seek ways to enhance feedback on marking and assessment, both at
    undergraduate and postgraduate level, seeking to build on the reported good
    practice in certain areas.
   Build on the positive scoping work by completing a Teachability review during
    2008-09.
   Clarify and evaluate aspects of the new approach to peer observation of teaching
    which involves a formal system of annual peer observation of teaching for all
    early-career University teachers and bi-annual observation for all other staff. In
    particular, clarify the meaning of ‘early-career’ teachers, and evaluate whether the
    new approach leads to an increase in participation rates.
   Ensure that the taught elements of the Doctorate in Education comply with
    University QAE requirements.
   Reflect on the distribution of degree classes across different degree programmes
    in the context of the implementation of the mean mark system for classifying
    Honours degrees.
   Raise staff awareness of procedures for the detection and referral of plagiarism
    cases.

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   Review the distribution of award of Distinction across PG programmes in order to
    ensure that there is consistency or practice.
   Report on how the School is engaging with the College Learning and Teaching
    Strategy.




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School: Health in Social Science

Checklist

The checklist indicates that most requirements have been met, with the exception of
the range of statistics, where figures for postgraduate programmes in Counselling
Studies were incomplete and trend data for pre-Honours courses was absent. The
School achieved a 100% return rate for Course Monitoring forms.

Good Practice

   A succinct and well-focused report that communicates a full commitment to the
    QAE process and progress towards a School-based approach to QAE processes in
    the commendable quest for economies of scale and consistency.
   The development of e-learning and the identification of areas where this can be
    seen to have had a direct impact on the quality of student performance.
   The introduction by Counselling Studies of changes to enhance
    Teaching/Research linkages.
   In Clinical and Health Psychology, the development of research supervision
    contracts to address problems identified in the presentation of theses.
   The use of Strategic Away Days in Health and Clinical Psychology, and
    Counselling Studies.
   The flexible and varied approach to gathering feedback in Counselling Studies.
   The close and co-operative relationship the School’s Subject Areas have
    developed with their respective professional accreditation agencies.

Areas for further consideration

   Report on actions to address variable levels of student feedback.
   Report on the advantages or otherwise of adopting School-level approaches to
    aspects of QAE, in particular the plans for a School Staff-Student Liaison
    Committee.
   Provide a more complete set of statistics on student outcomes and provide greater
    reflection on statistics, including comparison of trends across courses.
   Consider ways to further developing the feedback loop in order that students are
    aware of the outcomes of course and programme monitoring, taking into account
    the part-time nature of the student cohort on some of the School’s programmes.




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School: History, Classics and Archaeology

Checklist

The School has achieved an almost complete return of CMFs, and has successfully
reduced the already small proportion of missing forms compared to the previous year.
The School has provided almost all the required statistics in the appropriate form of
presentation, which represents substantial progress on the previous year. The School
has formally responded to the 2006 Classics Teaching Programme Review. Whilst
Archaeology was within ACE in 2006-07, the operation of its QAE procedures has
been covered within the History, Classics and Archaeology report in order to assist
the integration of the subject area into the School.

Good Practice

   The report is admirably detailed and rigorous, and the evidence reviewed suggests
    that QA procedures in the school are effective, and fairly comprehensive in their
    application.
   Activities to keep students informed of the efficacy of their feedback, and the
    procedures employed to procure it.
   The more systematic QAE culture that is being introduced into PGT programmes
    in the School.
   The rigorous approach to encouraging markers to apply the Extended Common
    Marking Scheme for example through clarifying the descriptors for the three first-
    class bands.
   The increasingly School-wide introduction of moderation as an alternative to
    double-marking.
   The careful attention paid to Teachability, which the School will be building on
    with additional work during 2008.
   The positive and thoughtful approach taken to the inclusion of Archaeology
    within the School.
   The increasing exploitation of WebCT as a teaching tool.
   The introduction of feedback on third year exams by Economic and Social
    History.

Areas for further consideration

   Consider further standardising the process of CMF submission, so that
    experiences from the previous session can feed into teaching in the current year.
    In particular, ensure that the timing of the Archaeology review team meeting is
    aligned with the schedule for the submission of CMFs.
   Further scrutiny of the contrasting levels of student performance in pre-honours
    courses across the School.
   Ensure a consistent approach to preserving anonymity of students in the
    examination process.
   Consider undertaking Away Days in areas other than Classics to assist in applying
    marking practices in line with the ECMS.




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   Reconsider the issue of overlap between essay and exam questions in History, for
    example by requiring Course Organisers to submit both examination and essay
    questions to a review board at the start of the semester.
   Seek a more systematic approach to Peer Review of Teaching across all areas.
   Report on how the School is engaging systematically with the College Learning
    and Teaching Strategy.




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School: Law

Checklist

The School obtained completed Course Monitoring Forms for all but a very small
proportion of courses, for which it provided an explanation. All other aspects of the
checklist are ticked positively.

Good Practice

   Robust, systematic and rigorous QAE procedures in place and operating
    effectively, with engagement from the whole School.
   Progress in relation to most of the recommendations that CQAEC made in 2006-
    07.
   The School’s engagement of students in QAE activities through student
    representatives as full members of the School’s QAE Group, the Law Students’
    Council, and course and programme level staff-student liaison.
   The continued use of course audit files and continuity forms.
   The introduction of Peer Observation of Teaching on a voluntary basis.
   The project to track student progression and to examine the relationship between
    entrance qualifications and student performance on a year by year basis.

Areas for further consideration

   Agree how to ensure that the University’s normal QAE expectations, including
    monitoring at course level, operate for the Diploma in Legal Practice, whilst
    taking into account the non-standard features of this programme.
   Reflect on the changing patterns of awards of first and third class degrees for the
    School’s programmes.
   Clarify student expectations regarding feedback on assessment and consider
    further responses to College guidance in the context of this additional information.
   Report on progress on the project to track student progression.
   School QAE report to attach timescales to its forward plans and recommendations.
   Provide additional evidence of active and systematic School engagement with the
    College Learning and Teaching Strategy.




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School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Checklist

The School obtained a high proportion (roughly 90%) of completed Course
Monitoring Forms for level 8 and 11 courses, a higher proportion than in previous
years. The School is taking steps to put in place more systematic arrangements for
monitoring Honours courses.

All other aspects of the checklist are ticked positively.

Good Practice

   Favourable student feedback on the new dissertation arrangements in English
    Literature.
   Willingness to address the issue of feedback to students on assessment, in the light
    of the National Student Survey findings, for example by explaining to students
    why feedback takes time, and giving provisional feedback where assignments
    results have not been confirmed.
   Positive e-learning developments - DELC’s initiative on developing online
    language exercises, and the appointment of E-learning project officer by the
    Islamic & Middle-Eastern Studies.
   Recognition in External Examiners reports of the ‘quality of care’ demonstrated in
    the marking & administration of examinations, though External Examiners also
    raised concerns regarding the administration of examinations in one area.
   Progress in obtaining completed CMFs at levels 8 and 11 and plans for more
    systematic and formalised course monitoring arrangements for Honours courses.
   The School’s initial steps to raise awareness and stimulate discussion regarding
    the College Learning and Teaching Strategy among colleagues.

Areas for further consideration

   Report on progress in implementing new arrangements for course monitoring of
    all Honours courses at subject area level, and evaluate the effectiveness of these
    new processes in assuring the quality of the provision.
   Disseminate the good practice on essay feedback in English Literature across the
    School to other subject areas.
   Complete School Teachability review by the end of 2007-08.
   Provide further comment on statistics with respect to course outcomes,
    particularly with reference to the implementation of the Extended Common
    Marking Scheme. In order to do this, the School will need to break down the
    statistics for A grade results into A1/2/3.
   Report on progress in establishing plans in relation to the College L&T Strategy,
    and consider more proactive means to implement the strategy.
   Explore possible approaches to Peer Observation of Teaching which could
    facilitate reflection on teaching in small subject areas without connotations of
    appraisal.
   Indicate actions taken in the light of previous TPRs (e.g. implementation of the
    recommendations of the 2005-06 English Literature TPR).

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School: Management School and Economics

Checklist

Course Monitoring Forms were completed and returned for virtually 100% of courses,
and the School provided an explanation for the three missing forms.

The School has provided a formal response to the Economics Teaching Programme
Review.

Good Practice

   The report provides assurance that the School’s QAE procedures are robust and
    effective.
   A complete and user-friendly range of statistics on course and programme
    outcomes, and substantial evidence of reflection on and response to this data.
   The planned introduction of poster sessions on Business Studies 1 building on the
    success of poster sessions used in Economics.
   Plans to enhance the effectiveness of specific level 8 and 11 courses in response to
    student achievement rates and feedback.
   Plans to introduce a degree programme questionnaire for all graduating
    postgraduate students.
   Use of an (electronic) Issues Management System to deal with ‘hygiene issues’ in
    the MBA.
   A robust system of student representation on committees at all levels within the
    School in Economics.
   The use of Graduate Teaching Assistants (usually PhD students) in Economics
    and Business Studies
   The extensive use of WebCT, including making WebCT materials available 48
    hours before the lecture they relate to, and the use of WebCT for online tests in
    some areas.
   The development of plagiarism training for students on several programmes.
   The creation of a new Help Desk for MSc Economics students (following on the
    success of a Help Desk in undergraduate Economics)

Areas for further consideration

   Reflect on the reasons for poor feedback levels on new core third -year
    Econometrics courses.
   Monitor the operation of Graduate Teaching Assistants in Economics and
    Business Studies, and ensure that the students have appropriate training and
    support.
   Report on the outcomes of further consideration regarding ways to address
    relatively high failure rates in the Industrial Management course.




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School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Checklist

All elements of the checklist are ticked positively. The report is clear and
straightforward, is structured according to College guidance and contains reports on
all the relevant sections, and confirms that appropriate QAE procedures have occurred
across the school.

The School has formally responded to the March 2007 Teaching Programme Review
of Philosophy.

Good Practice

   The positive response to the Philosophy Teaching Programme Review, including
    formulating a strategy and process for curriculum reform, and the devotion of
    more time for staff meetings to assist in managing the large scale changes
    involved.
   The use of electronic resources, particularly in administration and management of
    course materials.
   The development of a Personal Development Portfolio for first year Psychology
    students.
   The wide implementation of Peer Observation of Teaching.
   Particularly positive comments of Psychology External Examiners regarding the
    relationship between assessment practices and programme aims and learning
    objectives.
   Linguistics and English Language’s consideration of the timing of student
    evaluations of courses and the provision of class time for this, and the
    consideration of possible ways to close the feedback loop.

Areas for further consideration

   Consider the QAE implications of the planned changes to the Philosophy
    curriculum, and identify how they will evaluate and report on whether the
    curriculum reforms have been a success.
   Report on the outcome of Psychology’s review of the reasons for low attendances
    at pre-Honours Psychology lectures at the end of the semester for both first and
    second year courses
   Provide further information regarding the aims and methods of the introduction of
    Personal Development Portfolios in Psychology, and evaluate the impact of this
    development.
   Provide more detail regarding the School’s implementation of the College
    Learning and Teaching Strategy.




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School: School of Social and Political Studies

Checklist

All elements of the checklist are ticked positively.

Good Practice

   A very comprehensive report, which demonstrates considerable background
    consultation, the careful collation of statistical information, and clear engagement
    with the recommendations that CQAEC made in 2006-07.
   Positive student feedback on the quality of teaching and the diversity of teaching
    methods employed in courses across School. Student feedback is particularly
    positive in relation to level 10 and PGT courses.
   The introduction of a ‘light-touch’ approach to Peer Observation of Teaching.
   The deployment of School staff into focus groups to address learning and teaching
    issues, which can maximise the teaching and research capacity of the School by
    minimising unnecessary multiplication of full Committee meetings.
   The expanded use of WebCT, including the introduction of pod-casting for first
    year lectures on a pilot basis.
   A structured approach to obtaining feedback from students as part of the QAE
    process.
   Imaginative and innovative teaching and assessment methods for Level 10
    courses.
   Introduction of a dedicated session on ‘Working at Honours level’.

Areas for further consideration

   Further consideration may be given to the devolvement and routing of decision-
    making within School, without compromise to the principle of collegiality.
   Continue with the ‘light touch’ approach to Peer Observation of Teaching, and
    review its impact in the context of varied participation rates across the School.
   Continue to consider ways in which level 8 courses which provide a platform for
    level 10 study can be made more accessible and enjoyable for students.
   Give ongoing consideration to the balance between independent and supported
    learning in the context of the increasing use of WebCT, and review the impact of
    the use of pod-casts in particular.
   Give further consideration to the educational value that is added to tutorial
    attendance, participation, and input, perhaps in terms of assessment enhancements
    rather than assessment penalties.
   More complete statistical information on course outcomes, breaking down the A
    grade results into A1/A2/A3, in order that the impact of the Extended Common
    Marking Scheme can be explored.
   Seek further progress in standardising QAE procedures for PGT courses and
    programmes.




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Appendix 3: Review of Office of Lifelong Learning QAE report

Checklist

OLL did not operate Course Monitoring Forms and course questionnaires for all
Continuing Personal Education courses in 2006-07, though it has now put in place
arrangements for this.

Good Practice

   Clear engagement with the recommendations that CQAEC made in 2006-07.
   Extensive work to develop and implement new QAE procedures for gathering
    feedback from students, tutors and external examiners for CPE courses in line
    with recommendations made by CQAEC in its review of 2005-06, yet tailored to
    ‘fit’ with specific OLL teaching and learning objectives and practices. This
    includes the introduction of Course Monitoring Forms (CMFs) and the annual use
    of online student questionnaires for all courses.
   The introduction of the ‘tutor response form’ for the Open Studies summer
    programme.
   The improvement of procedures for student involvement in QAE activities.
   The tracking of the progress of students on the Credit for Entry programme.
   Production of a positive Teachability report.

Areas for further consideration

   When continuing to design mechanisms for enhancing student feedback on
    courses to focus as much on improving the structures for dialogue with students as
    on the gathering of information through surveys, though accepting the difficulties
    in achieving this due to the nature of OLL’s student body.
   Reflect on the reasons why completion rates of the second written assessment are
    lower than those for the first, drawing on feedback through dialogue with students.
   Review the effectiveness of the introduction of online student questionnaires, and
    report on response rates to inform on-going discussions within the College on the
    effectiveness or otherwise of on-line student feedback;
   In next year’s report, provide additional reflection on the issues raised through the
    enhanced QAE procedures.
   Consider introducing a Forward Look section to the report.
   Put in place dialogue between OLL and the Institute of Applied Language Studies
    regarding future QAE procedures in the light of the planned structural changes.
   Continue to reflect on opportunities for Peer Observation of Teaching, so that
    part-time tutors have opportunities for staff development.




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Appendix 4: Review of Institutional QAE report for Edinburgh College of Art
(eca)

Summary

It seems evident from this report, as was the case in 2005-06, that eca has robust
systems in place to review the form and quality of teaching and learning across the
institution. In addition the various annual and periodic reviews which are undertaken
internally are followed through and reported upon within the report. During 2007-08,
eca and CHSS will determine the format and schedule of the next cycle of eca Internal
Reviews of Academic Provision, and clarify the associated arrangements for Annual
Programme Monitoring Review.

Good Practice

   Clearly signposted report
   Clear focus on fostering of staff development opportunities
   Effective operation of the Annual Programme Monitoring Review process, which
    has a strong focus on Quality Enhancement as well as Quality Assurance, and
    which offers staff development benefits through ‘Critical Friend’ approach.
   Significant progress in relation to a variety of institutional QE initiatives,
    including good progress in developing and implementing a new Code of
    Assessment.
   The use of staff away-days and workshops in the area of Architecture, to assist in
    the development of plans for the Architectural Alignment project.
   Continued priority given to the induction of External Examiners and staff
    development regarding the appropriate role of External Examiners.
   Thoroughness of eca’s review of External Examiners’ reports.
   Reviewing the underlying causes of plagiarism cases, and putting dedicated
    support in place to address factors related to cultural and linguistic difference.

Areas for further consideration

   Continue to work with CHSS to put appropriate QAE procedures in place for the
    planned joint eca / University of Edinburgh Architecture degrees.
   Consider rolling out the good practice whereby student representatives in the
    Schools of Design and Applied Art and Visual Communications play a key role in
    managing student feedback, and review approaches to student feedback
    questionnaires.
   Consider ways to make the statistical appendices more easily understood by a
    reviewer (for example, the significance of the patterns of progression), while
    recognising that the nature of statistical analysis and reflection should be
    appropriate for an institutional report.
   Report on the implementation of the new eca Code of Assessment.




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Appendix 5: Associate Dean (QAE) report on Undergraduate External
Examiners’ Reports on 2006-07

1. Introduction

This report has been compiled by the Associate Dean (QAE) in CHSS and provides
an overview of the comments that undergraduate External Examiners made in their
reports on 2006-07. It seeks to identify areas noted for good practice that can be
disseminated widely and to highlight areas which may warrant attention at College or
University level. The Associate Dean (QAE) will also provide a separate report to
each Head of School regarding the comments of their External Examiners.

2. Overall assessment of degree quality and standards

External Examiners are asked to comment upon the courses and degrees at Edinburgh
in terms of their comparability of quality and standards with comparable Higher
Education Institutions across the United Kingdom. All external examiners confirm in
their reports that the quality and standards of provision are appropriate. Whilst not all
Externals provide detailed comment in this area those that do provide useful
testimony to the high standards applied in the College, which in many cases are
higher than comparable institutions in the UK or abroad. The following are examples
of the positive comments that external examiners have made regarding quality and
standards:

       “The standards on this course are above those that I have had recent
       experience of at other Institutions in Scotland and England”. (ED3)

       “The Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh is
       continuing to build its reputation as a major academic unit with international
       credentials and is among the best on offer in the UK”. (SPS12)

       “A good mix of social, biological and medical science but also academically
       challenging, leading to the unique outcome, which is the Edinburgh graduate”.
       (HSS2)

       “All programmes achieve a high standard in terms of quality compared with
       Aberdeen, Dundee, Strathclyde, Queens Belfast and York”. (OLL2)

       “When comparing to other institutions where I have acted as external
       examiner, Edinburgh is by far the best”. (LAW 9)

       “The academic standards in the Linguistics programme at Edinburgh are
       exceptionally high…graduates rank among the best in the discipline
       worldwide,” (PPLS10)

       “The quality and standards of provision was certainly comparable to that of
       other institutions, including Cambridge where I teach and Oxford where I have
       often examined”. (LLC11)



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       “History of Art at Edinburgh has a long-established reputation for excellence”.
       (ACE7)

       “High quality course, taught and assessed to a high standard”. (HCA9)

       “This is a very impressive degree programme …” (PPLS6)

       “The aims of the courses, their structures and content in relation to these aims,
       and degree structure and teaching methods are all of appropriate quality and
       on par (perhaps slightly above average) to comparable institutions where I
       have had experience of this (on par with Oxford and Durham, better than
       Birmingham)”. (D3)

A large number of external examiners also comment very favourably on the high
standards of students’ work:

       “High standard achieved by students. I would relate this primarily to the effort
       devoted by staff to this aspect of their duties”. (MSE7)

       “The best students’ work is as good as any I have seen in two hemispheres and
       four continents…”. (LLC 17)

       “… the quality of student work here is at the very top range”. (HCA11)

       “The best year graduates from Psychology produce superb work… students
       are not afraid to tackle challenging material …” (PPLS2)

       “This is my final year… once again I have been impressed by the overall
       quality of the students’ material and by the range of topics they have been able
       to answer on”. (HCA12)

       Some students work is “of publishable quality”. (PPLS7)

       “There are some very capable candidates doing meaningful work.” (MSE5)

       “I had the privilege of reading two outstanding dissertations…” (LLC4)

       “I have current or recent knowledge of standards at four other UK institutions
       and one US institution. The work produced by students at Edinburgh is at
       least as good as the work at all the other institutions”. (LLC16)

       “The standard of candidates compares well with those from my own
       institution, Oxford…” (HCA10)

3. General comments on the characteristics of the curriculum

A large number of External Examiners comment positively on how the provision is
assisting students to develop their skills and attributes:



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       “…the course is well structured, and students are effectively encouraged to
       develop their critical thinking, communication and other transferable skills.”
       (HSS3)

       “In addition to being prepared for academic research, students are also
       provided with a range of transferable skills which will help them in many
       other professions.” (LLC10)

       “… the legal methods course required Edinburgh students to display more
       critical awareness than many equivalent courses elsewhere”. (LAW 7)

       “The Scottish system is well served by these high-calibre students who are, in
       turn, well served by the quality of the Edinburgh courses”. (ED32)

       “Students leave Edinburgh with a series of skills that they probably do not yet
       fully appreciate. The ability to think critically, conduct penetrating analysis,
       construct complex yet coherent arguments, and express their ideas with flair
       and sophistication”. (LLC5)

       “You are to be congratulated on the achievements of the students, as usual.
       They display a high degree of knowledge but are generally able to construct
       essays well, use source material well, and manipulate arguments well.”
       (LAW5)

Other external examiners comment favourably on other aspects of the curriculum and
the learning experience:

       “Partnerships with schools remain very strong and The Moray House School
       of Education continues to maintain an excellent reputation within the field”.
       (ED33)

       “As a means of connecting the University with its local community, these
       courses are excellent”. (OLL2)

        “Creative Writing in particular had excellent feedback, encouraging, critical
       and informative”. (OLL2)

       “… excellent Religious Studies degree with a good range of relevant courses.
       Good content and signs of outstanding teaching”. (D3)

       “The students are clearly receiving high quality teaching and guidance on how
       to structure their work, and also very helpful, targeted feedback. In work I
       have seen, students have sometimes been able to overcome a rather mediocre
       or flawed initial essay and turn in excellent second essays and/or exam
       performance.” (LAW5)

       “European History offers a wonderfully diverse menu of courses that are
       clearly taught by an exceptionally able body of inspirational teachers”.
       (HCA4)


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4. Assessment Procedures and Practices

4.1 Range of Forms of Assessment

Many external examiners praise the balance of forms of assessment operating within
programmes, and the alignment of assessment with learning outcomes. Some
examples of positive comments are:

       “Across the whole degree there is an interesting mix of assessment.” (HSS2,
       MSE5)

       “There was a good mixture of theoretical work and reflection on practice.
       (ED28, 29)

       “Overall, the University can be satisfied that members of the School use the
       widest range of assessment methods, but always with a view to the specific
       learning outcomes of each course.” (HCA17)

       “…the overall mix of assessments seems fine now. In the past I have been
       concerned about over assessment.” (HCA16)

       “This variety of assessment modes is greater than comparable institutions
       where I have acted as external examiner for the equivalent degrees…” (D1)

       “I found the type of assessment and examination as well as the formative and
       summative assessments contribute towards the overall/final mark to be
       appropriate; a lot of thought has gone into achieving a good balance between
       various components of assessment so as to give a realistic picture of a
       student’s learning extent and experience.” (MSE4)

       “In addition to analytical essays and other kinds of written tasks, interviewing
       techniques and other aspects of field work were included.” (LLC10)

       “Seminar performance is particularly well described on feedback sheets and
       the practice of awarding both very high and very low marks to indicate
       differential effort put in by students means that this element can have a real
       impact on the final mark for the course,” (SPS8)

       “Variety of assessment modes greater than at Birmingham, Oxford and
       Durham”. (D1)

       Much assessment “tests the whole range of skills a student needs”. (LAW11)

However, some external examiners suggest that there are opportunities for subject
areas to enhance their programmes by widening the range of assessments further.

       “As I noted last year the department appears to use only the long essay or
       essay-exam assessment method. I still think it might like to consider other
       types of assessment…” (PPLS4, HCA1, MSE8)


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       “I would invite colleagues to consider other means of assessing
       students…more document work.” (HCA4)

       “…it might be useful to see a slightly greater range of types of assessment…”
       (ACE12)

       “I have consistently argued that the School should increase the proportion of
       overall marks allocated to coursework…’ (LAW10)

4.2 Marking Criteria

The vast majority of external examiners confirm that marking criteria were clear,
appropriate and consistently applied. Many external examiners comment positively
regarding the clarity of marking descriptors and the fairness and consistency with
which markers applied them, with some external examiners giving particular praise
for the documentation to support marking practices:

       “Assessment criteria were clear and were applied consistently by markers.”
       (HSS1, PPLS2)

       “Throughout, the marking criteria…were applied in a manner consistent to the
       aims of the respective courses.” (D1)

       “I continue to be impressed by the fairness and consistency of the departments
       marking.” (HCA17)

       “Clear course outcomes and clear assessment criteria – that are well publicised
       in course documentation – were crucial starting points.” (ED32)

       “Particularly noteworthy was the detailed information provided to examiners
       about assessment criteria and how they were to be applied in relation to
       specific questions and the information provided about the marking and
       moderation processes to achieve consistency amongst individual examiners.”
       (SPS3)

However, in some cases external examiners raised concerns regarding the clarity of
descriptors and the adequacy of supporting documentation. In these cases, the subject
areas should review their documentation on these matters. One external examiner
questioned the appropriateness of setting marking criteria at all.

       “It would be helpful for the External to have some guidance notes on the
       criteria for marking the dissertations…” (ACE6)

       “…there were some instances where exam answers did not have marking
       schemes…” (MSE7)

       “…not all of the information [received] contained marking criteria.” (PPLS4)

       “Marking criteria were not entirely clear to me in every case.” (PPLS10)


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       “I would recommend more detailed grade descriptors to help both internal and
       external markers ensure consistency in grading across courses.” (HCA6)

       “I am afraid that I remain sceptical about the value of explicitly set out
       “marking criteria”…and would certainly have ignored any such criteria that
       were sent to me.” (PPLS7)

4.3 Extended Common Marking Scheme (ECMS)

The vast majority of external examiners do not comment directly on the
appropriateness of the Scheme. Of those that do comment, some are supportive of the
Scheme but more frequently they are critical of aspects of the Scheme, particularly the
nonlinearity of the scale. Comments on the implications of the ECMS for degree
classification are covered in section 4.11 below.

       “The Extended Common Marking Scheme continues to provide the benefits at
       A/B and D/E boundaries that I noted last year.” (PPLS1)

       “The recently introduced Extended Common Marking Scheme and the
       relevant descriptors and marking bands were all very clearly laid out and were,
       in my view, appropriate to the assessment aims.” (LLC15)

       “I am still worried about the design of the scale and, in particular, its
       nonlinearity.” (PPLS11, PPLS9, HCA4, HCA1, ACE2, 12)

A large number of external examiners comment on the extent to which the scheme is
being implemented. Their comments suggest that in many areas of the College the
Scheme is not yet being fully implemented, with external examiners commenting on
the reluctance of markers to use the upper parts of the A scale, and to a lesser extent
the lower range of the scale:

       “In last year’s report I observed that the extended common marking scheme
       was implemented consistently and faithfully…” (PPLS11)

       “I note also the use of the extended range of marks. This is welcome, but since
       aggregate marks are so significant it is important that the lower end of the
       marking range is also fully utilised…” (LAW2)

       “I commend the introduction of three ranges of marks in the First category…in
       my view there are still problems with marks at the very low end of the
       range…further consideration should be given to the guidelines…towards the
       lower end of the scale.”(HCA16)

       “…a reluctance to use the full range of marks available, especially in the
       region from 80 upward.” (PPLS6, 7, 9, HCA3, HCA4, HCA7, LLC12, 13,
       SPS3, ED25)

       “I certainly found evidence that markers were trying to use the top end of the
       0-100% scale, although the majority of first class marks remained in the lower
       half of the 70% bracket.: (SPS1)

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       “There is still, I think, more willingness to apply the ECMS to certain parts of
       the degree…” (HCA5)

4.4 Double Marking/Moderation

Some external examiners are supportive of the practice of double marking where it
operates, and one external examiner argues that it should be introduced where it does
not currently operate:

       “…I do have some reservations in relation to the robustness of the quality
       assurance mechanisms in relation to assessment, specifically, the practice of
       single marking work that contributes to a student’s honours degree
       classification…It is my view…that all…should be independently marked by
       two internal markers,” (HSS1)

       “All scripts came double marked, with helpful comments, and the internal
       marks were normally agreed. The standards of marking are admirable…”
       (PPLS8)

       “…The custom of ‘double-blind’ marking ensures that the possibility of error
       or of misjudgement is kept to an absolute minimum.” (LLC23)

       “I do, however, have concerns about the term essay being single-marked, by
       the course tutor.” (LLC15)

       “Less exemplary; transparency of double marking: there needs to be
       consistency throughout, if possible.” (D1)

However, double marking is not an efficient way to manage the marking process, and
the University does not require subject areas to double mark most work (though it
may be desirable for dissertations), as long as some appropriate form of moderation is
in place. Some external examiners argue that subject areas should move away from
the practice of double marking:

       “...the department might want to consider monitoring modules rather than
       second marking…” (PPLS 4) “…abandon the practice of double blind
       marking…” (PPLS 5) “I believe the University may have to reconsider its
       procedures (specifically double blind marking)…” (MSE6)

Several external examiners indicate that they were not clear what approach the subject
area had taken to moderation:

       “I would also welcome clearer indications of whether work has been double-
       marked, as in some cases this was not evident.” (PPLS10, ACE2, 5)

       “I would have liked to have received…more on some of the marking
       procedures within the School…which courses are single marked” (D1)



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One external examiner makes some useful suggestions regarding the specific form
that moderation should take:

       “I think in future some internal moderation might be practised at an earlier
       stage, and that there might be subsequent mentoring for less experienced
       markers.” (LLC 16)

4.5 Plagiarism

Some external examiners suggest that the University reviews aspects of its approach
to plagiarism, though some of the recommended developments are already in place:

       “Plagiarism continues to be a difficulty but this risk must be weighed against
       the opportunity that coursework provides for getting feedback during the
       course as well as ‘getting stuck in’ to a particular issue which can make all the
       difference for students’ motivation and confidence.” (MSE7)

       “I am surprised by what I understand to be the University rules on plagiarism.
       Specifically, at all other institutions that I know of, as soon as a suspected case
       of plagiarism is discovered then all other pieces of assessed work (including
       unseen exams) are immediately checked for evidence of plagiarism. In many
       cases this action uncovers further evidence of plagiarism. I recommend that
       Edinburgh adopt this procedure.” (SPS1)

       “Following discussion of a plagiarism case at the Exam Board, it appears that
       staff have some difficulty with the University’s plagiarism policy, which
       appears to permit a significant degree of plagiarism to little detriment to the
       student…I would recommend a review of plagiarism policy…” (SPS6)

       “Finally, the University should consider investing in anti plagiarism software
       such as Turnitin…” (ED3, 2, 25)

       “Attention has continued to be given to issues identified in the area of
       plagiarism.” (HSS3)

       “Procedures for dealing with plagiarism were highlighted by some examiners
       as worthy of attention.” (ED34, 5)

4.6 Anonymity

Some external examiners comment on the way that boards of examiners handled the
anonymity of candidates. Whilst some external examiners commend the practices
they had observed, others raise concern which the relevant examination boards will
need to address:

       “The anonymous marking system was operated thoroughly and
       conscientiously and special circumstances were treated with fairness and
       sensitivity.” (LLC10)



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       “…anonymity at the Board re student identity is crucial to fair assessment
       procedures.” (LAW 1)

       “However, I must point out that not enough was done to protect the privacy of
       the candidates.” (HCA3)

       “A second more serious (because potentially long term) problem was the lack
       of anonymity at the Examination Board.” (HCA9)

4.7 Feedback to Students on Assessment

The National Student Survey suggests that there are opportunities for the College to
enhance aspects of feedback to students on assessment. In this context it is interesting
to observe that where external examiners do comment on this matter their views are
overwhelmingly positive regarding practices across Schools. This suggests that there
are examples of good practice within the College.

       “Feedback to students is deemed to be constructive and helpful.” (HSS1)

       “I would draw attention to the excellent feedback students get on their group
       projects in SA2.” (SPS2)

       “Again, I found the feedback provided to students to be of a very high
       quality.” (PPLS11)

       “…the level of comments offered to students was generally good, in some
       cases very detailed.” (SPS7, ED3, 12, 14, 32, 33, 34)

       “The level of feedback is impressive, and all students receive full and frank
       feedback to their essays and presentations.” (ACE3)

       “The use of a standard feedback sheet, which corresponds to the assessment
       criteria identified in the handbook, also encourages consistency in the
       application of the criteria by different markers and is to be commended.”
       (ED10)

       “Some colleagues need to be encouraged to write more on the essays
       themselves.” (HCA9)

4.8 Year Abroad

A substantial number of external examiners criticise the University’s policy of not
counting marks for non-compulsory study abroad towards degree classification, and
other external examiners make some suggestions for improving other aspects of the
management of study abroad.

       “It is however in my opinion entirely unacceptable that marks obtained during
       the year abroad are not reported or taken into account.” (LAW 3, 2, 1, 8,
       HCA5, MSE7, SPS1, 7, 14)


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       “The placement abroad is not assessed.” (LLC21)

       “Assessment of the year abroad is based on the Chinese university
       examinations for language plus two literary essays supervised by email from
       Edinburgh…some British universities set their own examinations, either to be
       sat in China or in the UK following their return. Edinburgh could consider
       this.” (LLC26, 5)

       “Some issues remain with the requirements for the third year abroad
       portfolios, particularly with regards to students obtaining copies of examined
       work for inclusion…review the requirements for the portfolio.” (LLC2, 3, 10,
       19)

       “…the inadequate supervision of their Year Abroad work for their subject…”
       (LLC7)

        “Either the University agrees that students go abroad and treats the results in
       the same way…or it withdraws from all student exchanges…” (LAW3)

4.9. Special Circumstances

Some external examiners commented positively on the appropriateness and effective
operation of the special circumstances system:

       “The care given in the discussion of special circumstances and degree
       classifications at the Board of Examiners meeting was exemplary.” (D1)

       “The conduct of the Special Circumstances Board I attended was both clear
       and appropriate.” (ACE1)

       “The system whereby a pre-meeting reviews special circumstances and makes
       recommendations to the examiners’ meeting seems to me to work well.”
       (PPLS8)

Other external examiners raised concerns regarding the system and its operation:

       “There is a tendency for Board members who may not have seen the material
       to argue for outcomes when they are not necessarily fully appraised of the
       facts.” (LAW2)

       “…communications between departments were less than perfect.” (PPLS 7)

       “I remain unhappy about the University’s system for Special Circumstances.
       As I commented last year, the lack of an August re-sit diet…means that there
       is no standard provision for the very standard circumstances of students
       missing exams for genuine…reasons.” (HCA16)

       “It would be helpful if the same identifiers for students…could be used in the
       MEL Special Circumstances Committee and in the Examination Boards.”
       (LLC7)

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       “…there was some uncertainty about the status of special circumstances…I
       did not have full confidence that special circumstances had been fully taken
       into consideration in all cases.” (LLC8)

       “…but it was clear from attendance at one of the Joint Boards that the
       mechanisms for handling special circumstances were not always interpreted or
       implemented in different departments in the same way.” (LLC21)

       “I would recommend that the university consider the wording of its regulation
       to exclude special circumstances leading to a raising or a lowering of a mark.”
       (D1)

4.10   Overlap between components of assessment

Some external examiners have raised concerns regarding the overlap between
different components of assessment, particularly the overlap between essay and
examination questions. To avoid this issue, Schools should ensure that external
examiners receive copies of all assessment tasks and examination papers together in
order to enable them to take an overview of the questions as a whole.

       “The overlap between course work and examination work was a frequent
       feature in the scripts I examined…the problem was expressed also by my
       predecessor.” (HCA3)

       “I have previously made comments about the overlap between exam questions
       and assessed essay questions. However, most members of the department have
       not responded to this concern and have continued to use the same questions
       for exams and essays…In the interests of both equity and rigorous assessment,
       I think it is important that this practice is not continued.” (HCA7)

       “My more firm reservation is to do with repetition of material…students may
       write on the same text more than once…” (LLC16)

       “…coursework/essay questions be supplied to external examiners at the time
       they are asked to consider exam papers. This would help us identify any
       duplication of essay and exam questions.” (HCA6)

4.11 Final degree Classification

2006-07 was the first year in which degree classification was based on a mean mark.
A minority of external examiners comment on this development. Some make positive
comments, but a greater number raise concern that operating a system of classification
by mean mark in conjunction with the ECMS could lead to an upward drift in first
class degrees. One external examiner considers that the new system may reduce the
proportion of first class degees.

       “I was impressed with the efficiency with which the Exam Board meetings
       were conducted. This may to some extent have been facilitated by the new


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       scheme for degree classification, which in my view is a clear improvement on
       the old one in terms of both ease and fairness.” (LLC14)

       “I do have some disquiet with regard to the extended common marking
       scheme, which does seem to me to be encouraging a slight upward drift in
       marks which could have a distorting effect on the number of students
       graduating with firsts.” (HCA17; LLC2)

       “I am also a little concerned that candidates who have one single very high
       mark may get an average of over 70…I am not sure this is right…” (LAW2,
       HCA5, SPS1)

        “…an unreasonably high number of first class and upper second degrees.”
       (ED5, 12, 15, 16)

       “…it does seem likely to make getting a first a little bit more difficult…”
       (PPLS4)

       “… some of European History stronger 2.1 candidates would be receiving
       First-Class degrees in other institutions”. (HCA4)

       “The new University system has not eradicated the element of arbitrariness
       and potential unfairness in any summary classification scheme…The sooner
       Universities move to the issuing of a profile only the better.” (PPLS16)

       “The areas where I remain unsatisfied are matters of University policy…”
       (HCA16, 15)

       “In my judgement the Examination Board must be given wider discretionary
       powers.” (D4)

5. Attendance at examination boards

The University’s Code of Practice for External Examiners requires that External
Examiners attend at least one Board of Examiners meeting during each academic year
to enable them to comment on the assessment process. External examiners’ reports
indicate that external examiners are generally meeting this requirement. However, it
appears that in some areas of the College a significant minority are not doing so.
Where the College is aware of this, it will bring it to the attention of the relevant
Heads of Schools.

6. Induction of External Examiners

Several new external examiners suggest that aspects of the induction arrangements
could be improved. When Schools appoint new external examiners they should reflect
on the induction arrangements that they put in place.

       “However, as a first-time External I would have appreciated a clearer
       indication of my remit – in particular the extent to which papers should be
       ‘sampled’ and the sort of problems I should be looking for.” (HCA3)

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       “The assessment process was not entirely clear to me and I needed to clarify
       this with the head of department on arrival in certain respects.” (MSE6)

7. Administrative Issues

In general, external examiners’ reports confirm that the administration of the external
examiner process was effective. Where External Examiners offer specific comment in
this area they are full of praise for the way in which the administrative processes were
conducted as the following quote illustrates.

       “All procedures were handled with the utmost professionalism, and were far
       more efficient than in other institutions.” (SPS11)

However, external examiners do raise some issues regarding aspects of the
administrative process, as set out below.

7.1 Examination Timetable

There are mixed views among external examiners regarding whether the examination
timetable allowed sufficient time for marking, though the majority view is that the
turnaround time is too tight. The University should take this into account in its review
of the structure of the academic year, and Schools should reflect on whether they can
take any steps to streamline their marking processes.

       “This year the whole examination process was back to normal…However the
       timetable seemed even tighter this year with some large courses being
       examined rather late.” (D2)

       “…the turn around time between receiving scripts, essays and dissertations
       and the exam board meetings is too tight.” (D3, D4, HCA4, LAW 7, LAW3,
       LAW2, LAW1, LAW8, PPLS8, HCA1, 5, 6, LLC2, 4, 6, 10, 19, ACE3, 12,
       SPS4, 13, ED27, 28)

       “As always, some of the marking deadlines were very tight, but significantly
       improved over previous years.” (LAW6)

       “The time available for marking was generally acceptable, although some
       work did have to be turned round very quickly.” (SPS1)

       “In particular, the time available for marking was in my view and experience,
       adequate.” (HCA3, 10, ED2, 3)

7.2 Information to External Examiners and students

In general, external examiners are satisfied with the adequacy of information they
received for the courses that they were responsible for. However in some cases,
external examiners did not receive all the documentation they would have liked:

       “The information supplied was again pretty comprehensive…” (D2)

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       “The documentation given by colleagues at Edinburgh to the students are
       exemplary in their explanation of aims, objectives and learning outcomes, and
       the process of assessment, whether on coursework or examination, is carefully
       described.” (HCA17)

       “I think it would be helpful to see all of the course handbooks annually.”
       (ED3)

       “I wonder whether it would be possible for serving Externals to receive paper
       copies of all the reports of the previous year.” (HCA3, LLC12)

Some external examiners did however raise concerns regarding completeness of the
scripts and mark-sheets that they were provided with, and the uncoordinated way in
which they received them:

       “I have requested that, for those scripts which are sent to me, the mark for
       each answer is also provided to enable me to form an opinion of how the
       overall mark has been arrived at.” (MSE4)

       “…failure to provide question papers and properly completed mark sheets in
       some subjects.” (LAW6, ED31)

       “I think it would be helpful if the department could make slightly more data
       available to externals in the form of comments justifying marks…” (PPLS4)

       “It would be helpful if…sample course work is flagged up to the examiner,
       and that all course work is present.” (ACE3)

       “However, course work (exam scripts, essays, dissertations, design work) and
       mark lists were not complete, and kept coming in during the examination
       period.” (ACE3)

       “In one instance I received materials for a course on 25 January and was asked
       to report on them by the 26th January.” (SPS14)

       “The practice of sending all scripts and assessed essays to externals is
       ABSURD!” (HCA4)

       “I would suggest that the external examiner should have the opportunity to
       review some individual student samples in their entirety…particularly where
       students fall in the borderline or fail category.” (LLC9)

       “…helpful if internal markers agreed marks before they sent them to the
       external.” (PPLS5, SPS6)

7.3    Standard external examiner Report Form

A number of Externals commented either that they did not have access to an
electronic version of the External Examiner Report Form or that it was not easy to

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utilise. Schools are encouraged to direct external examiners to the form, which is
located on the CHSS internet:

www.hss.ed.ac.uk/AcademicAdmin/UnderAcadeAdmin/ExternalExaminers.htm

8. Useful Feedback from External Examiners

       “It would be useful, if time permitted, to compile a ‘marker profile’ for each
       examiner, to be taken account of when the final assessment placed a candidate
       on a crucial borderline.” (HCA10)

       “The only slight query I have is with the status of exemptions. I have not come
       across this practice elsewhere and wonder if it is appropriate in an age of
       transcripts where all marks tend to count.” (LLC26)

       “The practice of convening a meeting where all lecturing staff on level 1 and
       the External examiner are present to discuss course issues is exemplary.”
       (SPS11)

       “I continue to think that a meeting with module leaders and markers ahead of
       the main meeting would be valuable…” (PPLS4, ED19)

       “I feel that the University mark system needs to distinguish between non-
       submission and…failure in submission…it seems improper that a candidate
       can, in effect, choose when to submit a piece for assessment.” (HCA16)

       “In order to try to reduce the number of borderline marks, internal markers
       should endeavour to award marks firmly in the class and use the 59-61
       borderline exceptionally…” (SPS4)

9. Responses of Schools or College to issues previously raised by external
 examiners

Where external examiners raise issues for which Schools are responsible, Schools
should consider these matters or cover them in their formal responses to external
examiners. For the most part, School responses to external examiners do suggest that
they are responding appropriately. Similarly, where the comments are directed at the
College or University, it is the practice of the Associate Dean (QAE) to write to the
external examiner to explain the University’s position in relation to the issue. One
external examiner comments positively on the way that the University has responded
to their comments:

       “I have raised a number of issues over the last few years… and these have
       always been responded to in a timely and constructive fashion”. (LAW2)

However, in a small number of cases, external examiners express dissatisfaction
regarding the way the University has responded to their comments.

       “I have had very little feedback to the reports I have written.” (MSE8)


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“I don’t think I received a formal response to my previous comments…”
(LLC12)

“This report contains references to a number of previous reports where a
response does not appear to have been forthcoming,” (ED31)

“As indicated earlier, some of my strong recommendations from last year’s
report have not been addressed.” (ED40)

“A fuller response from the University [for 2005-06] to my concerns about the
effects of the extended common marking scheme…would have been
welcome.” (HCA17, HCA4)




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Appendix 6     College Postgraduate Office report on Postgraduate Taught
               External Examiners Reports on 2005-06

1    Summary

    This report is a review of the external examiners’ Reports for taught postgraduate
    programmes in the College of Humanities and Social Science for the academic
    year 2005/6.1 The intention of this report is to highlight areas of best practice as
    well as issues of general concern across the College.

    There were 106 external examiners in the College for postgraduate taught courses,
    and we have obtained reports from the great majority of them. At least one report
    has been received for 91.5 per cent of the 130 programmes in which students were
    examined during the 2005/6 academic year. Twelve reports are still being chased
    by the College and Schools involved.

    External examiner’s reports, when received at the Postgraduate Office, are
    scrutinised by the Dean. Schools are asked to write a letter of response to the
    examiner’s report, paying particular attention to comments annotated by the Dean.
    Of the 94 external examiner reports that were received, apparently only 55
    received responses from the appropriate PG/Programme Director, leaving 40
    reports apparently without replies.

    Throughout the College, the external examiners’ reports indicate that the level of
    teaching and learning opportunities are comparable to those at other institutions,
    and in some cases exceed them. Where criticisms were made, in most cases there
    was evidence that Schools were responding positively to feedback and that year
    on year, examiners were noticing improvements.

    General areas of concern to examiners will be addressed in the following sections;
    discussions will include specific criticisms and suggestions from the external
    examiner reports.

2    Overall Assessment of Degree Standards

    Throughout the College, the external examiners’ reports indicate that the level of
    teaching and learning opportunities are comparable to those at other institutions,
    and in some cases exceed them.

    Some common themes that emerged where:
        Students’ work reflected a high standard of teaching/tutorials
        The range of work submitted was appropriate
        The level of courses and methods of assessment were appropriate
        Marking standards were appropriate

1
 Examiners are appointed to serve from 1 November to 31 October. For master’s
programmes the final board meeting of the cohort is usually in September or October,
and examiners should complete their report soon thereafter. Thus, the reports for the
academic year 2005/6 are those that were submitted in regard to the exam boards held
in the spring and autumn of 2006.
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          Marking was consistent across examiners
          Markers provided students with quality feedback

3    Assessment Procedures and Practices

    While the majority of feedback was positive, several issues of concern were
    raised, and these will be addressed in the following sections.

3.1 Use of the Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme

    The biggest issue of concern for external examiners was inconsistency in marking.
    Twenty-three examiners commented on an inconsistency in marking, 13 of which
    commented specifically on the usage of the full range of the marking scale. One
    examiner (ACE) was concerned that ‘on the surface, a badly spelled piece cannot
    achieve above grade ‘C’, no matter how good it is in other respects’. These
    comments indicate that in some areas more effort must be taken to explain the
    University’s Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme, both to external examiners
    and to those marking postgraduate work.

3.2 Inconsistency Between Markers

    In addition to the above concerns, thirteen examiners were concerned about
    inconsistency between markers. Two suggested that providing markers with
    indicative answers would be helpful. Seven commented that specific assessment
    criteria were needed, with two more calling for more consistent and stringent
    penalties for dissertations that either exceed the word-limit or are significantly
    under length. Of particular concern for some interdisciplinary courses was the
    need to have clear guidelines to ensure that interdisciplinary work was marked
    fairly and consistently.

3.3 Anonymous Marking

     One external examiner for the School of ACE voiced concern that marking was
     not consistently anonymous. This is a serious concern, and the School is
     currently taking steps to address the issue.

3.4 Feedback

    There is a need to ensure that students get appropriate feedback so they can
    improve their work. While 19 external examiners expressly commented that
    markers were providing high quality feedback, four noted a lack of constructive
    feedback. This indicates that while in general marking standards in the College
    are of a sufficient, and in some cases high, standard, it is important for Programme
    Directors to continue to encourage markers to ensure each script is granted
    constructive feedback. This is of particular importance when markers are new or
    inexperienced.

3.5 Programme Documentation



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   Ten external examiners commented that the programme information they were
   provided was insufficient. In many of these cases the documentation existed, but
   had simply not been provided to the external. This underlies the importance of
   ensuring that all externals are provided with a complete set of programme
   documentation annually. Additionally, for those programmes where real gaps
   were identified in their documentation urgent action is required. Again, the
   programmes involved have responded that these issues would be addressed for the
   next academic session.

3.6 Weightings of units of assessment

   While 47 external examiners expressly stated that the level of courses offered
   and/or the method of assessment was appropriate, a few examiners offered
   specific suggestions for improvement. Four suggested a wider range of
   assessment types, three suggested that the structure and content of a programme
   should be reviewed, and one had concerns about the weighting of courses.

3.7 External Examination Process

   Several external examiners voiced suggestions for improving the examination
   process. The examiners hoped that in future they could:
       Compare dissertations and course work
       Be sent a consistent number of dissertations
       Receive work to be assessed that was clearly organised and given cover
          sheets
       See all borderline cases
       See all distinctions
       Be given more time
       Be allowed to approve exam questions
       Be warned in advance if required to adjudicate marks at an Exam Board

   All these issues highlight the importance of clear communication between the
   Programme Director and the external examiner to ensure that expectations are
   managed properly and that externals are provided with sufficient information to
   feel confident in the quality of the examination process.

3.8 Double Marking/Moderation

    Related to the issue of inconsistent marking is the need for double marking
    and/or moderation. Three examiners were concerned that internal moderation of
    marks was needed in order to ensure fairness and consistency. Where
    moderation was practised, four examiners thought that moderated marks should
    be more transparent, to ensue that it is clear how an adjusted mark was
    determined and to ease external examiner difficulties when making an
    assessment as an outsider.

    Another concern was the practice of having student’s supervisors serving as
    internal markers. A suggestion was made that in future at least one marker for
    each dissertation will not have been involved in the supervision of that project.


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3.9 Plagiarism

    Plagiarism did not feature as a significant issue in the reports. Three examiners
    suggested that better guidelines were needed, two of whom were from PPLS. It is
    therefore recommended that all Programme Directors in this School ensure that
    their programme documentation accurately reflects the University’s plagiarism
    policy in order to avoid any future problems in this area. One examiner in H&C
    suggested that the University should invest in plagiarism software.

3.10 Student Achievement

     Throughout the College, the majority of comments regarding the overall quality
     of student achievement were positive. However, four examiners commented on
     a lack of high quality work or distinctions. In all cases they believed the marking
     had been conducted fairly. In one case (SPS) the examiner suggested that ‘The
     department needs to clarify in the Student’s Handbooks, and also in any covering
     documents, the parameters of a “dissertation”, and offer more guidance for
     students’. Another (DIV) noted, ‘The average performances of students this year
     may point to the need for greater staff assistance in formulating a research topic
     and in the process of writing’. One (DIV) suggested that the standard of
     teaching was not in question, but that more attention should be paid to the
     admissions selection criteria.

3.11 Operation of Exam Boards

    A surprising 11 external examiners noted that they had been unable to attend the
    Exam Board. This is of particular concern in the Schools of Education (3) and
    LLC (5). It is not clear from the reports whether in each case all eight conditions
    were met to allow the Board to meet without the external in situ. All Schools are
    encouraged to ensure that all Exam Board Convenors are familiar with section 9.2
    (p. 12-13) of the Postgraduate Assessment Regulations, to ensure that they are
    compliant.

    The most common complaints from externals regarding Exam Boards were that
    the exam board should be familiar with the criteria for distinction (5), and that,
    when possible, marks should be agreed before the board (3). One examiner (SPS)
    felt that the Board did not pay adequate attention to his views, stating ‘The board
    seemed to make several ad hoc decisions not in accordance with written
    requirements under the aegis of discretion and seemed unwilling to grant much
    weight to my opinions’.


4    Administration

    Despite the interruption caused by the strike action, which affected most
    examiners, 38 commented that the School/Programme administration had been
    helpful or satisfactory. Nevertheless, a few administrative errors came to light
    through the process of reviewing the reports.



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    One examiner claims he was not given proper information from the College PG
    Office. Five reports from the School of Law did not reach the College PG Office,
    although in some cases the examiners claim to have submitted them. It is unclear,
    however, whether the reports were submitted to the College or the School. The
    situation was further confused by the fact that external examiners in Law often
    serve on both undergraduate and postgraduate boards, and some were inclined to
    send only one report. These issues should be addressed by the ongoing efforts in
    the College PG Office to revise and improve processes and procedures in this
    area.

5    School Responses to External Examiner Reports

     Of the 94 external examiner reports that were received, the PGO received copies
     of only 55 responses from the appropriate PG/Programme Director, leaving 40
     reports apparently without replies. The majority of these reports lacked any
     negative feedback (and a large proportion had no written comments). In cases
     where the PG Dean did not specifically note anything in the report as requiring
     attention, the PG/Programme Directors seem reluctant to respond. In those few
     cases where substantive comments were made by externals the College will
     continue to chase a robust response from the School.

6    Award of Distinction for MSc by Research and MSc Taught Programmes

     One examiner (H&C) voiced concern about the threshold for the award of
     distinction for both MSc by Research and taught MSc programmes across the
     University. It was mentioned that in the School of History & Classics the current
     threshold relating to the award of distinction is 70% on the dissertation and 67%
     on the coursework, which was accepted practice in the former Faculty of Arts.
     One examiner was concerned that this did not clearly match the Assessment
     Regulation 8.4, which states: ‘To achieve a distinction, a student must have been
     awarded at least 70% on the University's Postgraduate Common Marking
     Scheme for the dissertation and must also have been awarded a mark for the
     coursework element that is also at least, or very close to, the 70% standard’.

     The Dean’s view is that, on the basis of Assessment Regulation 9.10, a
     distinction threshold of 67 is conceivably defensible, but only in limited
     circumstances. The regulation states:

           Boards of Examiners must consider students whose marks are
           borderline for progression or award purposes. Borderline marks
           are defined as marks from three percentage points below the
           class or grade boundary up to the boundary itself, e.g. 37.00% to
           39.99% for a Diploma award. Boards of Examiners must publish
           in advance the factors that will be taken into account for
           borderline decisions, which can include:
           (a) cases in which a student has performed better in courses at a
           higher level;
           (b) cases where the amount of credited assessed work to be used
           for classification is less than the norm (e.g., where credits have


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           been awarded for progression purposes only in recognition of
           special circumstances); and
           (c) profiles of performance. (See section 3.1)

     It is suggested that Schools who formerly operated under the regulations of the
     old Faculty of Arts) should now consider whether they wish their distinctions to
     be seen as in some sense ‘easier’ than those earned elsewhere. Boards that make
     a distinction award at 67 MUST have justifiable reasons as per (a)-(c) above, and
     these reasons must be recorded in the exam board minutes.

7    Resubmission of Dissertations

     Two externals in the Management School and Economics questioned why there
     is no facility for re-submission of dissertations for students who fall in the 40-
     49% category, stating that the ‘minor amendments’ clause (47-49%) is
     insufficient and that Edinburgh University is out of step with comparable
     institutions in regard to this regulation. This issue was championed by the
     School’s PG Director and raised at the CHSS Postgraduate Studies Committee
     on 14 February 2007. While the Committee ultimately declined to pursue an
     amendment to the regulations, it is a testament to the School’s responsiveness to
     criticism from their external examiners.

8    Summary

    Throughout the College, the external examiners’ reports indicate that the level of
    teaching and learning opportunities are comparable to those at other institutions,
    and in some cases exceed them. External examiners in all Schools identified both
    examples of best practice and issues for concern.

    All Schools should review their processes to ensure that they incorporate the
    examples of best practice highlighted in this report, specifically:
         Ensure that marking is consistent across examiners;
         When possible, provide markers with indicative answers;
         Ensure that markers provide students with timely quality feedback;
         Educate markers and external examiners about the University’s
           Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme, and ensure that it is consistently
           utilised;
         Ensure that specific assessment criteria are provided to students and
           markers;
         Ensure that all marking is conducted anonymously;
         When possible, allow for double marking/and or moderation of essays;
         Ensure that the process of double marking or moderation is transparent;
         Continue to review the level of courses and methods of assessment on a
           regular basis;
         Ensure that external examiners are provided with appropriate course
           documentation;
         Liaise with external examiners to manage expectations regarding the
           examination process;



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         Ensure that external examiners attend boards, and where this is not
          possible, ensure that boards are in compliance with section 9.2 of the
          Postgraduate Assessment Regulations;
         Listen to the advice offered by external examiners, and where appropriate
          take action to address the issues they raise.


Dr Erin McGibbon Smith
November 2007




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Appendix 7

       COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE
               Learning and Teaching Strategy
1 December 2006

Executive Summary

The College intends that the Learning and Teaching Strategy (‘the Strategy’) will help
it continue to offer a quality learning experience for students and thereby to sustain
the University’s position as a centre of teaching and research excellence recognised
world-wide.

AIMS

From a learner perspective

The College will aim:

   To give students an excellent learning experience, engaged with and informed by
    the research conducted within our internationally leading university.

   To stimulate and support the development of active, independent and reflective
    learners.

   To recognise the benefits of, and provide further opportunities for, flexible study
    across the disciplines of the College.

   To assist students to develop the personal and transferable skills they will need to
    succeed in their studies and in their chosen careers.

   To support students to integrate into the academic community of the College.

   To encourage students to enrich their learning experiences through interaction
    with fellow students from a range of different cultures and backgrounds, and to
    provide support for students with particular requirements.




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From a teaching / institutional perspective

The College will aim:

   To maintain and enhance teaching standards that befit the College’s reputation
    for excellence, thereby remaining competitive in student recruitment.

   To better link teaching and research so that students benefit from challenging
    teaching that is fully informed by the vibrant research environment of the College,
    and researchers gain from open-minded engagement with the insights that
    students bring.

   To continue to encourage teachers to be reflective in a scholarly way with regard
    to learning, teaching and assessment.

   To encourage innovations in particular aspects of learning, teaching and
    assessment.

   To further align its estates and teaching infrastructure to support this strategy.

   To take into account student expectations regarding learning and teaching in the
    College, assist learners to make informed decisions, and communicate clearly the
    College’s expectations of students and the content and requirements for particular
    courses and programmes.




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INTRODUCTION

Context

The College intends that the Learning and Teaching Strategy (‘the Strategy’) will help
it continue to offer a quality learning experience for students and thereby to sustain
the University’s position as a centre of teaching and research excellence recognised
world-wide. The College consistently achieves excellent ratings in external
assessments of the quality of its teaching, and it is determined to maintain and where
possible improve upon these standards over the next five years against the background
of new challenges facing the higher education sector in Scotland.

The Strategy has been written in the context of considerable change in terms of
organisation (the College and the Schools replaced Faculties and Departments in
2002), and curriculum structure (the Curriculum Project and semesterisation). Given
that these processes require a period of consolidation it is not intended that the
Strategy should presage further major upheavals in our existing patterns of learning
support and teaching delivery. At the same time, innovations such as the
redevelopment of the Main Library Building, the upgrading of other estates, and the
increasing opportunities made available by new learning technologies, make this a
propitious time to develop a learning and teaching strategy.

Current Provision

Standards of excellence are already in place across the College and, therefore, the
Strategy sets out a vision of the key aims which will best build upon this foundation,
seeking to promote the medium and long-term (two to five years) enhancement of
learning and teaching. The Strategy stresses the importance of maintaining a close
linkage between teaching and research within a research-intensive institution; of
assisting students to develop an active, reflective and critical approach to learning;
and of supporting teachers to be reflective and to introduce beneficial innovations in
learning and teaching. Resources for teaching are unlikely to increase significantly,
and therefore a major challenge for the College is to maintain and enhance its
teaching provision within broadly existing circumstances.

Responsibility for Implementation

It is hoped that the Strategy will be embraced enthusiastically by Schools, subject
areas and individual members of academic staff across the College, in recognition of
the role the Strategy can play in improving learning and teaching delivery. Therefore,
where the Strategy refers to ‘the College’, it alludes in the widest sense to all of those
with responsibilities for learning and teaching delivery.

It is intended that the Strategy will guide the College Office, including its Committees
and Deanery, in developing further and more specific policies, procedures and
priorities for action. Therefore, the College Office will play the leading role in
coordinating the implementation of the Strategy, reviewing progress in its
implementation, and in providing advice to staff in Schools as appropriate. In addition
to setting high level aims for the medium to long term, the Strategy identifies specific
short-term implementation points which the College Office will take forward with

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input from Schools. The College expects that Schools will both assist the College
Office with its particular roles and will implement the Strategy in ways most
compatible with their particular disciplines and contexts.

Purpose and scope of the Strategy

The Strategy will assist the College to:

   evaluate its current performance in relation to learning and teaching;

   maintain existing excellence in learning, teaching and assessment, and where
    appropriate, promote innovations which seek to improve upon existing practices;

   enhance the quality of students’ learning experiences, promoting learning and
    teaching values and systems appropriate to a College which is internationally
    respected as a centre of teaching and research excellence;

   better relate students’ learning experiences to the research culture of the College;

   respond more strategically to changes in higher education and in students’
    expectations and backgrounds; and

   reflect periodically in the medium and longer term on how best to improve the
    quality of the College’s learning and teaching. As such the Strategy should be
    periodically reviewed and where necessary revised.

The Strategy focuses on both undergraduate and taught postgraduate learning and
teaching in the College.

Existing excellence in learning and teaching

The College’s track record of quality teaching delivery is clear from external
examiners’ reports; internal quality assurance and enhancement processes; external
quality reviews conducted by the Quality Assurance Agency; the reviews of
professional and statutory bodies; high student retention rates; and surveys and
‘league tables’. It is also clear that there are many specific examples of good practices
in individual subject areas.

The College has robust quality assurance systems in place to ensure that these
standards remain high and that teaching staff critically reflect on their teaching. It
operates an annual quality reporting process across all of its Schools. In addition, the
University runs a six-year rolling programme of Teaching Programme Reviews for
undergraduate provision and Quinquennial Reviews for postgraduate provision. In the
course of the last year, the College has also supported Schools in efforts to enhance
teaching quality in three particular respects: Teachability (increasing the accessibility
of the curriculum to students with disabilities); e-learning; and employability.




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Characteristics of, and recent developments within, the College

Diversity of provision

   Key characteristics of the College are its size and diversity, covering as it does the
    full spectrum of humanities and social science disciplines.

   The College’s ten Schools offer over 200 undergraduate and approximately 140
    postgraduate degree programmes, while the Office of Lifelong Learning runs in
    excess of 400 part-time courses and the Institute for Applied Language Studies
    about 160 courses.

   Diversity within the College extends also to its learning and teaching methods and
    modes of study which include lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, peer
    assisted learning, project work, laboratory work, placements and internships,
    online work, and structured individual learning. A variety of assessment methods
    are also in place, including examinations, oral presentations, own-time
    assignments, group projects, essays and dissertations.

   A significant number of subject areas in the College are related to particular
    professions (for example, Nursing, Law, Education, Psychology), and therefore
    have to engage closely with professional bodies to meet their requirements.

   There are close links between CHSS and the other Colleges of the University on a
    subject area to subject area basis.

   In addition to its own provision the University validates the degrees of students
    studying at Edinburgh College of Art, and the College of Humanities and Social
    Science is responsible for managing these arrangements. There are clear signs that
    this collaboration is proving valuable in the sharing of ideas regarding good
    practices in learning and teaching.

The student body

   The College has approximately 14,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students
    of whom over 75% are undergraduates. The College anticipates that over the
    medium to long-term its full-time undergraduate UK and EU student numbers will
    remain broadly stable at around 2003-04 levels. The College, in line with
    University policy, is planning to increase its postgraduate numbers as a proportion
    of overall student population. It is on track with its plans to increase its taught
    postgraduate student numbers by 40% between 2004-05 and 2008-09, and it has
    been increasing its portfolio of PGT courses to this end; it also plans to increase
    its postgraduate research student numbers by 15% over the same period.

   In cultural terms the College is very diverse, with students from over 100 different
    countries including approximately 1600 students from non-EU Member States.
    The College also aims to increase full-time non-EU student numbers, comprising
    both undergraduate and postgraduate students, by 30% between 2004-05 and
    2008-09.


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   Undergraduate applications to the College rose faster than the average UK figure
    in 2005, with an increase of 17.7% on 2004 figures, compared to 7.4% across the
    UK as a whole and 9.6% across the University as a whole. Wider developments
    such as the introduction of variable tuition fees in England have had an impact
    upon the number of applications from the rest of the UK.

   In addition to its undergraduate and postgraduate students, some 17,000 students
    are enrolled each year on continuing and professional education courses run by the
    Office of Lifelong Learning and the Institute of Applied Language Studies, and
    the College aims to achieve a 12% growth in the number of students enrolled on
    IALS and OLL courses between 2004-05 and 2008-09.

   The College, and the University as a whole, is committed to widening access to
    students from relatively disadvantaged groups.

   The number of students declaring disabilities has increased substantially. In the
    University as a whole, this number increased from about 200 in 1993-94 to about
    1450 in 2005-06 (of whom about 870 were in CHSS).

   There are growing pressures upon many students to find paid employment in the
    course of their studies, creating difficulties in terms of balancing study and
    employment. In Scotland, about two thirds of higher education students work
    during term-time.2

Some of these trends are broadening the diversity of the College’s student body, and
whilst this promises significant benefits, it is likely also to lead to a wider range of
student demands. In addition, the planned increase in student numbers promises
significant challenges in relation to learning and teaching delivery and assessment.

Resources

   The College has an annual turnover of over £70 million.

   Approximately 1400 staff work within the College, of whom about 940 are
    academic staff. Figures from the Time Allocation Model suggest that the time of
    academic staff is distributed fairly evenly between teaching and research (in 2004-
    05: 37% teaching / support for teaching; 38% research / support for research; 5%
    scholarship; 18% management; 2% other).

   The College has a large estate, mainly located on the George Square and Holyrood
    campuses, Old College, Chambers Street, and New College. This estate comprises
    a wide range of different types of learning spaces, including lecture facilities,
    seminar rooms, individual learning spaces, libraries and laboratories.




2
 Callender, Professor C, Research Report on Higher and Further Education Students' Income,
Expenditure and Debt in Scotland 2004 – 2005, Scottish Executive, 2005.

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AIMS

From a learner perspective

The College will aim:

   To give students an excellent learning experience, engaged with and informed by
    the research conducted within our internationally leading university.

It is essential that students are encouraged and assisted to develop a ‘sense of the
discipline’ in which they are studying, including an awareness of research ethics, and
that to this end teachers engage them as fully as possible with research developments
and methods in their subject areas. It is particularly important that students are
engaged in the research culture of the College from an early stage because exposure to
cutting-edge research in this way should both deepen their learning experience from
the outset of their studies and also equip them better to engage in research projects in
their honours years in the case of undergraduate students, or at the dissertation stage
in respect of taught postgraduate students.

   To stimulate and support the development of active, independent and reflective
    learners

Students should be encouraged and supported to develop an active and independent
approach to their studies, embracing a passion for creative learning, the ability to
conduct critical enquiry with the appropriate methodology, and the capacity to
understand and evaluate complex information and different viewpoints in a scholarly
way. In this way students can best reflect upon and work towards achieving the
learning outcomes they set for themselves.

In many cases students will develop the range of skills necessary for academic study
through the structured learning and support provided in relation to the particular
courses and programmes that they are studying. There are, however, other sources of
study skills support available to students in the College should they require them, for
example from the Library, Computing Services, and the Centre for Teaching,
Learning and Assessment, as well as the help available from students’ Directors of
Studies or postgraduate supervisors. There is evidence (for instance, from a study
undertaken by TLA in 2004) that the College could improve and make more
consistent some aspects of study support. It is possible that study support demands
will increase as the student population increases and becomes more diverse. In light of
these factors the College should review the position regarding study support and
decide how it might form new policy and implement improvements. This issue will be
an important part of the proposed review of induction (see pages 10-11 below).

The College also recognises that the rich environment of the University (including its
co-curricula activities) and the city gives students unique opportunities to develop as
people. As part of their personal development, learners within the College should be
encouraged to recognise their responsibility to contribute meaningfully to the life of
the city and broader society.



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   To recognise the benefits of, and provide further opportunities for, flexible study
    across the disciplines of the College.

A distinctive and highly valued aspect of the College (and a general feature of the
University), is that it offers both its undergraduate and postgraduate students the
opportunity to study across a range of disciplines and subject areas. The development
of the College’s new organisational structures, and the Curriculum Project, are
intended to enhance these features.

One of the strengths of many postgraduate taught programmes within the College is
their interdisciplinary nature which both reflects the research interests and expertise of
academic staff and makes these programmes more attractive to students. Similarly, at
undergraduate level opportunities exist for study across a plurality of subjects through
the taking of ‘outside’ courses, formal joint degrees, and tailored degree programmes
(Individualised Subject Combinations). This diversity reflects the breadth of
scholarship across the College and is an integral part of the ethos of the four year
Scottish honours degree.

The goal of enhancing opportunities for interdisciplinary study is linked to that of
increasing flexibility for students in choosing options. The College should enable
students to shape their curriculum in ways that suit their objectives, whilst also
exposing them to a range of different methodologies and perspectives; for example,
by allowing them when selecting their Honours specialisation to choose between two
different subjects. In general, the undergraduate curriculum could perhaps be made
more flexible. For example, the perceived demands of certain professional bodies can
act to constrain curriculum design, leaving little scope for students to take outside
subjects in certain degree programmes.

These features of undergraduate study are complex and administratively burdensome
to manage and can lead to tensions with other learning and teaching considerations.
For example, there can be a tension between the opportunity for students to choose
outside subjects and the capacity of Schools to manage class sizes. There can also be a
difficulty in balancing the capacity of students to transfer degrees and the pressure on
the College and individual Schools to manage student numbers; in particular, the
College is aware of the need to regulate the ability of students to transfer programmes
where this involves additional years of study. However, the flexible nature of existing
provision is well-used and, the College believes, highly valued by students. For
example, approximately 600 CHSS students who successfully completed programmes
in 2004-05 did so in programmes of study significantly different to those for which
they enrolled in Year 1 (excluding those students who transferred to General degrees).
Of undergraduate students enrolled in CHSS, approximately 40 are enrolled on
Individualised Subject Combinations. Therefore, these opportunities should be
retained and further developed. The College should investigate whether there are any
opportunities to enhance the scope for expansive and flexible study at undergraduate
level, for example by enabling or even requiring that students on all undergraduate
programmes take a minimum number of credits in subjects substantially different
from their main subject of study. Working with the OLL it should also explore the
opportunity for greater flexibility and choice, by making ‘for-credit’ OLL courses
available to undergraduate students as part of their programmes of study. It would
also be useful for the College to consider the potential for further inter-disciplinary

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postgraduate programmes which may be attractive to potential students. The College
will be contributing to the implementation of the report of the Senatus Undergraduate
Study Committee’s Working Group on Part-time Study, which has the potential to
lead to greater flexibility in both undergraduate and postgraduate study. At the same
time the College will require also to monitor and reflect upon the resource
implications of expansive, flexible and cross-disciplinary study considering, for
example, whether there exist excessive administrative or other burdens in particular
areas, and on appropriate ways to manage these.

   To assist students to develop the personal and transferable skills they will need to
    succeed in their studies and in their chosen careers.

The full immersion of students in the scholarship of the College not only maximises
their learning experiences but also best provides them with many of the motivational
incentives and skills which are essential in reflecting seriously about their work and
planning their careers. Just as the College’s student body changes, so too does the
employment market into which students emerge. For instance, the Careers Service has
observed that in recruiting graduates, employers are increasingly placing emphasis
upon not only academic achievement but also transferable skills including team-work,
leadership, problem-solving, communication and presentation of work.

The College is currently encouraging Schools to engage with the employability
agenda, and it should continue to do so (possible areas for further work include
improving student induction processes, and enhancing the profile and availability of
existing transferable skills courses). It is also important that this process extends
equally to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. There can be benefits to
taking a more systematic and coordinated approach to the provision of research skills
and wider transferable skills for postgraduate taught students in order to ensure that a
minimum level of adequate support is available for all postgraduate students.
Therefore, the College should continue to work with the University’s Transskills Unit,
advising in relation to transferable skills provision and considering how best to
manage the resource implications of providing any additional transferable skills
support.

The University is committed to introducing Personal Development Planning, and is
developing software tools to support this. PDP is about supporting students to reflect
upon their learning achievements and the skills they develop throughout their
University experience (including the co-curriculum), which should remain an ongoing
process after University. More work needs to be done to identify the exact shape and
form that PDP will take and how it will be implemented. The College has set up a
Steering Group to take forward its work on PDP, and as part of this it will encourage a
debate within the College in the course of academic year 2006-07 as to how PDP
should be implemented on a College-wide basis. This process is designed to ensure
that PDP in the College is properly coordinated and supported to meet the particular
needs of its undergraduate and postgraduate students.

   To support students to integrate into the academic community of the College.

The transition to university life, including transition from undergraduate to
postgraduate study, can be challenging for some students. Effective induction, which

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the College views as an extended process of integration rather than a set of activities
limited to Freshers’ Week, can be crucial in helping students to settle into and feel
part of the academic community of the College and University, as well as making
them aware of the support services available to them and the College’s expectations
regarding their studies. Particular categories of students, such as international students
and students from under-represented groups, can have specific induction needs and
there is evidence, for example from surveys of postgraduate and international
students, that whilst some aspects of induction in the College are very positive, others
could be improved. The College should review how effective and consistent induction
arrangements are across the College (taking into account activities run at University-
level, for example by the Library and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and
Assessment) and identify areas for improvement. In doing so, it should take into
account the current Enhancement Theme on the First Year.

As part of this review, the College should consider the potential of activities such as
peer-assisted learning and support (models of which are being developed in the
School of Law and in Economics) and the mentoring of new students by more senior
students as elements of induction, as well as ways to support students in their learning
more generally. From discussion with student focus groups another initiative which
would seem likely to assist the transition to university life is the introduction of study
plans to assist students who often have few hours per week of formally-structured
learning compared to students in the other Colleges of the University, to manage
better their research, revision, and preparation for assessment. Since the College aims
to increase the number of international students, many of whom may not have English
as a first language, the College should pay particular attention in this review to
ensuring that these students have the appropriate level of English comprehension and
general support in acclimatising to study in a new environment.

   To encourage students to enrich their learning experiences through interaction
    with fellow students from a range of different cultures and backgrounds, and to
    provide support for students with particular requirements.

The College and the wider University has a very diverse mix of students from
different backgrounds, cultures and countries, and it aims to increase the proportion of
students from under-represented areas and to recruit a greater number of international
students. This diversity can enrich the learning experiences of all students. Extending
certain types of learning such as group learning and project work is likely to enable
students to integrate better with one another and with staff.

One way in which the College student composition is already diverse and becoming
more so is in respect of the number of students who are declaring disabilities, and to
support these students the College is endeavouring to make its learning and teaching
provision as accessible as possible. The College should continue to encourage and
support Schools to undertake and implement Teachability audits, and to work with the
Disability Office to assist it to refine the processes for managing reasonable
adjustments for disabled students.




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From a teaching / institutional perspective

The College will aim:

   To maintain and enhance teaching standards that befit the College’s reputation
    for excellence, thereby remaining competitive in student recruitment.

Currently recruitment is generally buoyant across the College but it is essential to
maintain the capacity to attract students of the highest calibre. In particular, the
College should seek to develop the qualities in students which give them the
opportunity to best fulfil their potential and also indicate to the outside world the
specific strengths of our University and College. Although the College should
certainly aim to enhance learning and teaching practice, it is also important to
maintain existing excellence as consistently as possible in the face of new challenges.
To this end, the College will continue to operate and develop its annual QAE
processes, just as the University will continue with its rolling programmes of internal
subject review.

   To better link teaching and research so that students benefit from challenging
    teaching that is fully informed by the vibrant research environment of the College,
    and researchers gain from open-minded engagement with the insights that
    students bring.

The College is a centre of research excellence and as such it is essential that
internationally respected researchers are actively involved in undergraduate and
postgraduate teaching, disseminating to students the understandings they have of their
disciplines. As well as offering advantages to students, the closer linkage of research
and teaching can also benefit teaching staff and the research culture of the College as
a whole. For example, where students can be encouraged to undertake projects or
dissertations in areas related to their tutor’s current research interests, this can be
rewarding both for teachers, by assisting them in taking their research forward, and
for students who are exposed to cutting-edge research. It is also hoped that increasing
the exposure of students to research activities within the College may lead to a higher
proportion of undergraduate students progressing to postgraduate study, and taught
postgraduate students progressing to research within the College. This would
obviously assist the College to meet its target of increasing PGR student numbers and
it would also lead to a more vibrant research environment, providing more people
within the College able to support undergraduate teaching.

The College should explore ways to develop further the linkage between research and
teaching. Possible approaches include further integrating research activities into
courses and programmes, for example by encouraging students to undertake literature
reviews and other research activities early on in their studies; exposing students
further to leading research within Schools as part of their studies; show-casing
research activities within Schools; and encouraging students to attend staff seminars
and other research events.




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   To continue to encourage teachers to be reflective in a scholarly way with regard
    to learning, teaching and assessment.

In order that learning, teaching and assessment continue to be as effective as possible,
the College should encourage teaching staff to reflect on their teaching in the light of
the latest research on student learning and effective teaching practices, and to develop
the ability to evaluate progress in their teaching self-critically. It is important that
teaching should be seen as an integral part of an academic’s scholarship and not as a
separate activity. Therefore, the College should recognise the contribution and
enhance the professional skills of all staff who teach or support learning.

Staff development
The College strongly encourages staff to engage in training and development
opportunities which help them to become more reflective and innovative in their
teaching, to increase their awareness of wider issues such as equality of opportunities,
and to develop management and leadership skills. This includes encouragement to
participate in training courses provided by the Centre for Teaching, Learning and
Assessment, as well as in national subject-related support networks. Activities such as
staff mentoring and induction can also be valuable. For new lecturers and
postgraduates beginning teaching duties some aspects of training are compulsory, and
the College is particularly aware of the need to ensure that postgraduate students who
undertake undergraduate teaching receive appropriate training and support. The
College is engaging with Enhancement Themes and it should continue to encourage
Schools also to do so, though the relative importance of different themes will depend
on the needs of the institution and particular Schools.

Staff appraisal provides a useful mechanism for staff to reflect upon their teaching,
training and career development needs, and the College will continue to encourage
Schools to implement appraisal systems. The College Equality and Diversity
Committee conducted a staff survey on appraisal practice in October 2006, which
indicated that about 44% of academic staff have been appraised during the last three
years. The University’s policy is that appraisal should be in place for all staff.
Therefore, the College E&D Committee, in collaboration with Human Resources, will
encourage Schools to roll out more widely the practice of appraisal and monitor
progress on this issue.

Career development and incentives
The College should consider how better to develop incentives for excellent teaching
and innovative practices. For example, teaching-based promotions including Personal
Chairs in Student Learning are a recent innovation of the University, and the College
should consider what a career path would be to such a position. In addition, the
College may wish to consider how the sabbatical system might better encourage a
relationship between research and teaching, for example in terms of explaining the
teaching benefits of research leave in sabbatical applications or even on occasion, as it
has done in the past, agreeing to sabbaticals for the development of new courses.
Alongside these developments it will be important that the pay modernisation process
leads to mechanisms that recognise and reward excellent teaching, for example in
relation to promotion processes.



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Sharing good practices
The College can also support the development of innovative practices in learning and
teaching by encouraging a culture of greater openness and sharing regarding positive
learning and teaching developments, and highlighting and disseminating good
practices. The College and Schools should give clear support and leadership, for
example by endorsing and publicising examples of good practices in order to engage
as wide a range of staff as possible. Possible options include developing internet
resources and using existing College publications, or by recognising the outstanding
contributions of teaching staff. There may also be opportunities to share more
systematically good practices that staff become aware of in other universities through
their role as external examiners.

   To encourage innovations and good practices in particular aspects of learning,
    teaching and assessment.

The College should encourage and support staff to develop innovative approaches
which take account of good practices developed both within the University and
elsewhere. It is primarily the responsibility of Schools and subject areas, and
individual academic staff to decide which particular models of learning, teaching and
assessment are appropriate for their courses and programmes, and therefore the
Strategy does not seek to make detailed recommendations on these. There are,
however, general issues such as the increasing size and diversity of the student
population, and Strategy themes such as the development of personal and transferable
skills, which do seem to suggest the need for innovation in the delivery of learning,
teaching and assessment. In addition, the College has identified three further areas
where Schools and subject areas should be encouraged to develop innovative
practices, namely assessment, team-teaching, and e-learning.

Assessment
The balance of assessment at both undergraduate and postgraduate level across the
College has shifted in recent years, with a move towards increased reliance on
coursework and own-time assignments. The College, and the wider academic
community, is currently devoting considerable energy to reflecting on the volume,
frequency and nature of assessment, including the appropriate balance between
formative and summative assessment. For example, the College Undergraduate
Studies Committee recently produced guidelines on these issues; in addition,
assessment is currently an Enhancement Theme. Taking into account this work, staff
should reflect on their approach to assessment, the relationship between assessment
and learning outcomes, and the resource implications for staff of different forms of
assessment. In general, it is desirable to have a balance of different forms of
assessment. However, factors such as resource pressures and increased concern
regarding plagiarism can encourage academic staff to standardise and reduce
assessments, or to rely more heavily on unseen examinations. The College should
continue to explore and, where appropriate, encourage the development of innovative
methods of assessment.

Team-teaching
Team-teaching can support flexibility of student choice and allow popular courses to
be taught every year, thereby allowing sabbaticals and other leave to be taken whilst
minimising the disruption to the curriculum. Team-teaching has the added benefit of

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integrating teaching more closely to collaborative research. Whilst team-teaching is
successfully undertaken in some areas of the College it is not widely used elsewhere;
and in general is most commonly used at pre-Honours level rather than at other levels.
There is therefore scope to broaden the use of team-teaching, for example by
increasing its use at Honours and postgraduate level. The College should conduct a
review of current practices in team-teaching, and reflect on pedagogical research and
practices at other institutions, in order to identify where there would be benefits in
extending its use.

Allocation of teaching resources
Schools should be encouraged to keep under review the allocation and distribution of
resources used for teaching. In particular, they should consider whether the current
balance of resources allocated respectively between undergraduate years one and two,
and years three and four, is appropriate to meet the learning and teaching aims of this
Strategy. In broader context Schools should also review the level of resources they are
committing to PGT provision.

E-learning
In many ways e-learning (the integration of communication and information
technology into learning) is already central to learning and teaching in the College
(for example in the use of WebCT and e-mail for communication; the wide network
of electronic resources and databases available through the Library and other sources;
and the IT infrastructure supported by the Computing Service), and we expect it to
play an increasing role in the future. The value of e-learning depends upon how well it
supports other learning and teaching aims, and it should therefore be fully integrated
into the learning and teaching activities of the College. Whilst e-learning may not
generally be cheaper than other forms of learning and teaching, it may be more
effective and lead to better learning experiences; it can also under some circumstances
offer economies of scale. However, it is anticipated that the use made of e-learning in
learning and teaching activities will vary considerably depending on the type of
programme. For example, at undergraduate level it may generally be intended to
complement traditional forms of teaching within an on-campus context, whereas for
postgraduates it may assist in networking with international partners, and for some
programmes it may support off-campus activities (either by supporting elements of
programmes, such as placements, or in some cases offering entire programmes).
Currently the College is further developing its thinking in this area by producing an E-
learning Strategy, and it will be important that this is integrated with the College’s
Learning and Teaching Strategy. It is anticipated that through its E-learning Strategy
the College will encourage the development of innovative and effective e-learning to
support the particular learning requirements of different types of programmes, for
instance in the area of assessment.

   To further align its estates and teaching infrastructure to support this strategy.

It is essential that the learning and teaching spaces within the College are fit for
purpose. The College is making considerable progress in upgrading its estates, and
aligning their use better to meet Schools’ needs, for example through the
refurbishment of the lecture theatres and foyer space in the Appleton Tower and the
Medical Quadrangle, and the plans to move the School of Social and Political Studies
into the Medical Extension Building. In addition, the University is making a major

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investment in redeveloping the Main University Library, and the College should
continue to liaise with the Library to ensure that the redeveloped building meets the
needs of the College’s students and staff and is in line with relevant aims within the
Strategy, as well as with College’s other priorities, such as research. As part of the
implementation of the Strategy, the College should work with Schools to clarify
further their current and anticipated future learning and teaching space requirements
(size, distribution and nature of spaces, equipment needs), taking into account any
changes in learning and teaching methodologies. This process should be taken
forward in conjunction with Estates and Buildings and MALTS, which has a rolling
programme of equipment renewal.

Whilst the College is making good progress in refurbishing its learning and teaching
spaces, increasing pressure is being placed on these spaces and indeed its estate as a
whole as a result of the increase in the student and staff population. Whilst the student
population increased from approximately 12260 to 13800 and the number of staff
increased from approximately 1250 to 1400 between 2002-03 and 2005-06, lecture,
teaching and seminar space has remained broadly constant (though more space has
been made available for student study space). Therefore, the College will need to
make more efficient use of its learning and teaching spaces, for example by spreading
lectures and classes more evenly over the full working day. In reviewing Schools’
learning and teaching space requirements, the College may wish to consider the
following issues: the more flexible use of estates; standardising available learning
resources including IT resources; resolving difficulties relating to time-tabling and
room-booking; matching accommodation to class sizes; and improving physical
accessibility.

Group learning (including autonomous student learning) can be valuable when
integrated into overall programmes. For instance it can assist students in developing
leadership, social and communication skills. Currently there is evidence of
insufficient group learning space to meet demand, and this could become a bigger
issue if there is an extension of group learning in future. Therefore, the College’s
programme of refurbishment should help facilitate group learning further, for example
by providing break-out spaces for group learning attached to larger venues. The
provision of individual learning spaces for students is also an important issue, since
not all students have appropriate facilities at home. This may be a particularly
important issue in relation to the widening participation agenda. In considering
individual and group learning space, the provision of space by the Library will also
need to be taken into account. The provision of informal space – where people can
gather and mingle - is also important to developing a scholarly community. Students
can find access to learning spaces ‘out of hours’ valuable. Therefore, the College
should continue to consult user groups on the levels of access which they would find
useful, whilst balancing such aspirations against the associated costs and health and
safety considerations; it should also monitor the extent to which use is made of ‘out of
hours’ facilities.




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   To take into account student expectations regarding learning and teaching in the
    College, assist learners to make informed decisions, and communicate clearly the
    College’s expectations of students and the content and requirements for particular
    courses and programmes.

It is essential for students to be supported in making decisions regarding their studies
– particularly undergraduate students who have the benefit of a wide choice of
courses, including the flexibility to undertake outside subjects. The College is
continuing to reflect on the best and most resource-effective ways of providing such
support, and as a result of reviewing the ‘Director of Studies’ scheme, will explore
ways of enhancing administrative support for certain tasks to allow Directors to
concentrate on supplying academic advice rather than routine data input. At
postgraduate level, the academic guidance needs of students are normally met by a
programme coordinator or supervisor. The College should reflect on alternative
models for providing postgraduates with support and guidance such as the models
currently operating within the School of Education and the Management School and
Economics, with a view to recommending improvements to practices across the
College.

The College should also make clear to students what is expected of them as they make
transitions from pre-university to university education, pre-honours to honours study,
or undergraduate to postgraduate work. This can be done, for example, by the clear
articulation of expected learning and assessment methods and outcomes in course and
programme documentation. The College should also consider the idea of a student
‘charter’ setting out what the College expects of students, and what they might
reasonably expect of the College.

It is important for the College, and individual Schools and subject areas, to continue
to reflect systematically on the changing demands, expectations and perceptions of
students regarding learning and teaching in the College. For example, since the vast
majority of undergraduate entrants to the College are school-leavers, in designing first
year courses it is important to have up-to-date knowledge regarding what knowledge
and skills students are likely to have developed at school.




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Implementing the Strategy

On behalf of the College, the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching Innovation)
will monitor progress in implementing the Strategy, reporting to and seeking input
from relevant committees (in particular CUGSC, CPGSC, and CQAEC). He will be
assisted in this by a consultation or working group. On an annual basis the Associate
Dean will also report to the College Office on progress, identifying priorities for
action in the coming year and for the longer term as appropriate, and recommending
ways in which the Strategy might be updated as necessary. The Strategy will inform
the College and Schools’ plans, and annual quality reports from Schools should make
reference to Schools’ progress in implementing the Strategy. It would also be
reasonable to expect Schools to report on the implementation of the Strategy in the
context of TPRs and Quinquennial reviews. Other relevant College strategies should
be linked to the Strategy and the implementation of these different strategies should
be coordinated by the College Office. The Strategy will be formally reviewed after
three years.

Whilst the primary role of this document is to identify high level aims, some
particular areas for action will be led by the College Office. Of these, the following
activities are recommended for action by the College in the course of 2006-07:

   Exploring ways to connect students more closely to the research culture of the
    College, and suggesting specific areas for action.
   Reviewing student induction and study skills support arrangements and
    identifying areas for improvement, with a view to working with relevant
    stakeholders to introduce changes in the short to medium term.
   Continuing to engage with the employability agenda, including taking forward
    work on Personal Development Planning and working with the Transkills Unit to
    improve transferable skills provision for postgraduate students.
   Working with Human Resources to review the current appraisal process
    (including frequency) and make sure it is fit for purpose; deciding and agreeing
    with Schools how to measure the implementation of appraisal; and setting out
    realistic targets that Schools/College Office are able to work towards.
   Conducting a review of current practices in team-teaching in the College, and
    reflecting on pedagogical research and practices at other institutions, in order to
    identify where there would be benefits in extending the use of team-teaching.
   Working with Schools to clarify their current and anticipated future learning and
    teaching space requirements.
   By early 2007 agreeing an e-learning strategy which will be fully integrated with
    the Learning and Teaching Strategy.
   Monitoring how the College intends to implement the CUGSC report on
    Assessment, and considering ways in which innovations in assessment might be
    introduced in line with the current Enhancement theme.
   Continuing to liaise closely with the Library over the redevelopment of the Main
    Library building and seeking to ensure insofar as possible that this work meets the
    needs of staff and students, and is in line with relevant aims within the Strategy, as
    well as with College’s other priorities, such as research.




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Appendix: Process for developing the strategy

The College, under the leadership of the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching
Innovation), has developed the Strategy in the following way:

Working group

To assist in the task of developing the strategy, the College set up a short-life working
group, which was largely composed from self-nominations from College Committees.
The College invited nominations from the following Committees: Undergraduate
Studies, Postgraduate Studies, Quality Assurance and Enhancement, Research,
Library, and Computing and Equipment. The College also invited other key
stakeholders to join the group, including a EUSA nominee, a member of staff from
the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, and other colleagues based upon
their expertise in particular aspects of learning and teaching. The membership was as
follows:

Membership                      School / unit                    Self-nomination
                                                                 from College
                                                                 committee
Stephen Tierney (Convener)      Associate Dean, Learning         n/a
                                and Teaching Innovation,
                                CHSS
Dr Marcella Althaus-Reid        Divinity                         CQAEC
Dr Jill Stephenson              History and Classics             n/a
Alan Brown                      Management School and            CUGSC
                                Economics
James Clunie                    Management School and            n/a
                                Economics
Dr Kate Day                     Centre for Teaching Learning     n/a
                                and Assessment
Alan Ducklin                    Education                        CQAEC
Dr Richard Jones                Law                              n/a
Dr Pat McLaughlin               Education                        CPGSC
Ross Neilson                    n/a                              EUSA nomination
Dr Neil Thin                    Social and Political Studies     College Library
                                                                 Committee
Professor Jon Usher             Literatures, Languages and       College Library
                                Cultures                         Committee

The group met four times between January and April 2006.

Wider consultation

To assist in the development of the Strategy, the Associate Dean (Learning and
Teaching Innovation) consulted widely within the College as follows:

   Discussion with the relevant College Committees (Undergraduate Studies,
    Postgraduate Studies, Quality Assurance and Enhancement, Research, Library,
    Computing and Technical).
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   Meetings other stakeholders, such as the Vice-Principal for Learning and
    Teaching, representatives from MALTS, the Careers Service, TLA, and
    individuals in Schools who expressed an interest in the development of the
    Strategy.

   The development of the Strategy was the topic of the College Forum event on 22
    February 2006.

   The Associate Dean offered to meet with each of the College’s Schools to discuss
    the draft Strategy and such meetings took place with several Schools.

   The Associate Dean met with student focus groups.

   Extensive consultation took place within the College Office.




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Appendix 8     Formal response to Classics Teaching Programme Review

                           The University of Edinburgh
                           Teaching Programme Review
                                     Classics
                                 November 2006

1. Responses from the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology:

The School of History, Classics, and Archaeology welcomes the positive and
supportive report of the TPR reviewers. In particular, we are extremely heartened by
the 14 issues that the team singled out for commendation. This is a young and
dynamic team, and we are very pleased indeed to see that the rapid and positive
changes to structures and curricula introduced following the influx of new staff in
2003-6 receives the strong endorsement of the panel. We should also like to
underscore the impression given by the reviewers that Classics is regarded as highly
supportive of and committed to its students. Finally, we should particularly like to
draw attention to the panel’s commendation of the ‘exceptional resource of the
Classics library’ (Commendation 6. 12) and to the recommendation that this
‘excellent local library [be] included in space allocation when [the School] moves in
2010’ (Recommendation 7. 18).

Recommendations

Organisational

7.1 The process of breaking down academic barriers within the Subject Area, within
the School and between the Subject Area and other parts of the University should be
continued, thus fostering more interdisciplinary linkages. [Paragraph 2.12 and 4.1]

We should point out that Classics already participates in numerous combined
programmes, and also in interdisciplinary programmes, esp. at MSc level, with
Archaeology, Celtic, Divinity, History, Islamic Studies, Philosophy, Scottish History,
etc. This continues to develop, e.g. in closer links with our new colleagues in
Archaeology and in the new MSC in Ancient Philosophy (with PPLS), and such
‘barriers’ as remain within the School will erode further with co-location in 2010.
Within the subject area itself there has been increasing collaboration at both
subhonours (e.g. Art, History and Power, Myth and Religion) and honours (e.g. the
Body, History of the Study of Classical Antiquity) level.

7.2 Management positions and structures, such as the Head of the Subject Area and
     the Teaching Committee, should be given a clearly-documented remit.
     [Paragraph 5.1]

This is a recommendation that requires careful thought in connexion with the
University-wide regrading process implemented in 2006-7. The School will develop
job descriptions for offices such as Head of Subject Area in the course of 2007-8, as
part of the process of appointing the new Heads of Classics and Scottish History. A
remit for the Teaching Committee has now been produced and approved by SA
meeting.

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Curriculum

7.4 The Subject Area should further develop learning outcomes, both within
     programmes, and for each year. Although the students are clear from their
     experience that there is progression between years, it needs to be made clearer
     in the documentation. [Paragraph 4.3]

Extensive work has been done on rewriting Programme Specifications and module
ILOs to comply with this recommendation. In addition, the School Undergraduate
Studies Committee now pays particular attention to ensuring that ILOs for new
courses are on a par with best practice in the sector.

7.5 The extension of the opportunity to study beginners’ language at Junior Honours
     level has not been followed up with an opportunity to study post-beginners’
     language at Honours level. This barrier to continuing language studies should
     be removed. [Paragraph 4.12]

This has now been done, proposals having been approved by BoS in 2006-7.

Student Support Structures / Student Experience

7.6 The possibility of providing partial funding for organised student study trips
     should be re-examined. We suggest that a first step would be restoring funded
     vacation projects for students with an Archaeological component in their degree
     programme. [Paragraph 2.14 and 5.6]

We believe that it would be invidious to fund only students in archaeological subjects
– it is clearly desirable that all students of the ancient world have an opportunity to
visit classical sites and museums. It is possible that endowment (e.g. prize) funds may
be converted for this purpose, though this will require permission of the trustees and
will be a substantial task, in which the Subject Area may require the support of the
University in seeking to modify the terms of bequests.

7.7 Some thought should be given to the composition and timing of the staff-student
     liaison meetings. Their minutes should be widely publicised and include action
     points arising. [Paragraph 5.7]

In compliance with this recommendation guidelines for the Staff-Student Liaison
Committee have now been drawn up and approved by SA meeting.

7.8 Further steps should be taken to make feedback available to students after
     examination. The student right to feedback should be made explicit in
     programme literature. The Subject Area should consider whether whole class
     feedback sessions should be embedded in learning. [Paragraph 5.8]

Agreed, within the limits prescribed by Academic Policy Committee in 2006-7.
Students will be offered generic feedback on performance in Semester 1
examinations, and will have the right to inspect their papers following marking. The
proposal for whole-class feedback sessions will be considered at appropriate SA
meetings.

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7.9 The Subject Area should make greater use of the Careers Service and the
     Development and Alumni Service. This would facilitate informed student choice
     of their future careers. Statistical information on student destinations is useful
     in promoting Classics to prospective students. [Paragraph 5.10]

Very useful contact has already been made with D&A, and steps are being taken to
maintain a database of alumni contacts. The Careers Service now gives annual
subject-specific talks to each year-group.

Teaching / Quality

7.10 A first sit of year 3 examinations in August for a student with special
     circumstances should be provided. This is preferable to awarding marks on the
     basis of incomplete work, which may be insufficient to demonstrate competence.
     [Paragraph 2.17 and 4.13]

We agree in principle with this recommendation, but have repeatedly failed to receive
guidance from CHSS on this issue; a College-wide policy is essential.

7.11 The College (and University) should re-examine whether the preponderance
     method or the arithmetic averaging method, as applied to examination
     classification, best reflects accurate classification of student assessed
     performance. This extends beyond the Classics Subject Area, to wider policy.
     Persuasive arguments for holding this re-examination of policy have been
     advanced. [Paragraph 4.14]

See CHSS/UoE responses below. We note continuing concerns in 2006-7 external
examiners’ reports.

7.12 Subject Area procedures for dealing with plagiarism should be clarified.
     Suspected plagiarism should be referred to the School Academic Misconduct
     Officer, who can conduct a more experienced and visibly independent
     investigation. Student work should be routinely tested using electronic detection
     software. [Paragraph 4.4]

The procedure referred to in sentence 1 is now followed. The SA will investigate the
feasibility of the second part of this recommendation in consultation with the School’s
new e-learning officer.

7.13 Classics has a very effective system for peer observation of teaching, including
     establishing a rota and organising a schedule for peer observation. The 3
     College Associate Deans for Quality Assurance and Enhancement should
     investigate the application of this successful approach in other Subject Areas.
     [Paragraph 4.9]

See responses from 2 of the 3 Deans below.




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Resources

7.14 Classics should take up the offer from the e-learning Team in Library User
     Services that a postgraduate be assigned to Classics for a period to help with its
     efforts in e-learning. We note that Audio Visual Technology, Information
     Services welcome feedback concerning facilities in classrooms. [Paragraph
     3.31]

This will be taken forward, again in conjunction with the new School Computing/e-
learning Officer.

7.15 Classics should actively seek creative and positive dialogue with the University
     Library, in an effort to further resolve areas of concern. We recommend that
     Classics take up the Library’s offer of library tours for students. We
     recommend that the Library budget for School use should not be subdivided
     below Subject Area level to any extent but consistently pooled for strategic use.
     We also recommend that the use of e-reserve material be further explored as a
     more efficient use of limited resources. [Paragraph 2.15, 3.36, 3.40 and 3.41]

All accepted; and positive dialogue with the Library is well underway; in particular
progress has been made towards the appointment of a half-time liaison librarian for
the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology. See also EUL responses below.

7.16 The panel agrees that the library budget allocated to the Subject Area of
     Classics is inadequate. The panel recommends that the issue of library funding
     for Classics should be considered as a matter of urgency at all appropriate
     levels. [Paragraph 2.15 and 3.39]

(a) College Library Committee has now moved to a more transparent, formula-based
funding method, which will result in a 20% increase in the School’s library budget;
(b) CHSS has generously stepped in with a very substantial one-off grant to fill some
of the more serious gaps in EUL’s Classics collection.

7.17 The Classics Library Officer should co-operate with the University Library and
     National Library to ensure that any overlap of expensive material between the
     University Library and the National Library is minimised as much as possible.
     [Paragraph 3.42]

Scope for this is limited; see Library response below.

7.18 The Subject Area should plan to have its excellent local library included in space
      allocation when it moves in 2010. The Head of College should be invited to visit
      the Classics library so that its achievements can be recognised at a high level.
      Consideration should be given to ensuring continuity of management as
      students move on and issues of security of stock. [Paragraph 2.16 and 3.34]

The Head of College will be invited in the current academic year. The Head of School
is in regular discussion with the architects of the refurbished premises in the Old
Medical School to ensure (interalia) that all School collections are adequately housed
and displayed.

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7.19 The Subject Area should revisit its decision to charge students for hard-copies of
      important academic material delivered via the web. [Paragraph 5.9]

It is not and never has been SA policy to charge students for hard-copy of any
important academic material delivered via the web.

7.20 The digitisation of slides should be completed as quickly as possible and given a
     high priority in resource allocation. [Paragraph 5.11]

Classics now has access to Archaeology digitization facilities.

2. Response from Vice-Principal, Learning and Teaching:
7.11
The Senatus Academicus feels that it is inappropriate to revisit its decision to classify
by mean mark at this stage.

3. Response from the College of Science and Engineering:

7.13

Classics good practice will be disseminated. [A response on the same
recommendation was sought from CMVM, but not received.]

4. Responses from College of Humanities and Social Sciences:

7.11 The College (and University) should re-examine whether the preponderance
     method or the arithmetic averaging method, as applied to examination
     classification, best reflects accurate classification of student assessed
     performance. This extends beyond the Classics Subject Area, to wider policy.
     Persuasive arguments for holding this re-examination of policy have been
     advanced. [Paragraph 4.14]

It is University policy to classify degrees using the mean mark. In deciding to
introduce this approach, the University carefully considered the arguments in relation
to classification by mean mark, through a Degree Classification Working Group.
Whilst the group would have been aware of the arguments against the mean mark
approach, it would also have recognised that the benefits are simplicity and
consistency of practice, and reducing the likelihood of error. It will be important for
the University to review the impact of classification by mean mark (and the associated
introduction of the extended common marking scheme) as it beds down, and the
College will take available opportunities to feed into this process.

7.3 The incorporation of the Archaeology Subject Area into the School is likely to be a
     major benefit to Classics. The School should be encouraged in its forward
     planning to achieve good integration. [Paragraph 2.13 and 4.2]

The College has worked closely with the Schools of History and Classics, and Arts,
Culture and Environment, to support the move of Archaeology into History and
Classics. The administrative and resourcing arrangements are now in place to enable a

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smooth transition from 2007-08. The College will continue to support the School of
History and Classics to integrate Archaeology, through the annual planning cycle and
other interactions.

     7.10 A first sit of year 3 examinations in August for a student with special
     circumstances should be provided. This is preferable to awarding marks on the
     basis of incomplete work, which may be insufficient to demonstrate competence.
     [Paragraph 2.17 and 4.13]

The Assessment Regulations already enable Examination Boards to take the approach
advocated by recommendation 7.10, as one of a range of different options for
addressing special circumstances for Honours students. Where there is satisfactory
evidence of special circumstances, Assessment Regulation 13.4 (a) empowers
Examination Boards to recommend to the Convener of the College Undergraduate
Studies Committee that he deem the affected assessment a "null sit" which can be
taken again as a first attempt. The University's Assessment Administration Working
Group is currently debating the University's approach to managing special
circumstances, and as part of this it has considered the approach advocated by
recommendation 7.10.

7.13 Classics has a very effective system for peer observation of teaching, including
     establishing a rota and organising a schedule for peer observation. The 3
     College Associate Deans for Quality Assurance and Enhancement should
     investigate the application of this successful approach in other Subject Areas.
     [Paragraph 4.9]

Response from CHSS Associate Dean (QAE):
“The College QAE Committee has encouraged Schools to further develop the use of
POT, and has also kept Schools informed of progress on SQAEC’s discussion of the
issue over the past year. At its 7 May 2007 meeting, the Committee noted that the
Classics TPR had commended the subject area for its good practice in relation to
POT. The College will ask the subject area for further information regarding its
approach, and will disseminate this to the Committee for its consideration.”

7.16 The panel agrees that the library budget allocated to the Subject Area of
     Classics is inadequate. The panel recommends that the issue of library funding
     for Classics should be considered as a matter of urgency at all appropriate
     levels. [Paragraph 2.15 and 3.39]

The College Library Committee has agreed a transparent and responsive new
approach to allocating the College Library materials budget between Schools, which it
will introduce with effect from 2007-08. This model, once fully implemented, is
expected to increase the School of History and Classics’ allocation by more than 20%,
in addition to the additional Library resources that will accompany the transfer of
Archaeology subject area into the School.

The College Library materials budget is allocated at a School level, and it is for
Schools to decide how to allocate it between subject areas. The College Library
Committee plans to discuss good practice in managing Library materials budgets
within Schools early in session 2007-08. The College encourages History and Classics

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to engage with this discussion, and to adopt best practices, in order to make the most
efficient use of available resources for Library materials. In particular, the College
understands that the subject area’s current practice is to allocate each member of
academic staff a separate Library materials budget. The subject area is encouraged to
retain this budget at School or Subject area level, in order to ensure a strategic of
available funds, particularly in the context of the commendable practice of team-
teaching in the subject area.
[SHCA addendum: the School had in fact already abandoned individual allocations,
and now proposes to advertise for a 0.5 FTE Information Services Officer whose
remit would include strategic purchasing.]

Responses from Information Services:

7.14 Classics should take up the offer from the e-learning Team in Library User
     Services that a postgraduate be assigned to Classics for a period to help with its
     efforts in e-learning. We note that Audio Visual Technology, Information
     Services welcome feedback concerning facilities in classrooms. [Paragraph
     3.31]

The offer to lend some support for a period to the e-learning efforts of Classics is still
in place: IS will need to know with whom any discussions should take place, and will
expect to hear from Classics in the near future if they wish to pursue the offer.

7.15; 7.16; 7.17
These issues are largely dealt with in the ‘Synopsis of the Meeting on Library Issues
Concerning Classics’ which was prepared by Dr Tong, and which is appended to this
letter.

Some additional comments:

   • There is to be a review in the coming year of the overall budget allocation for
     library purchases, i.e. at the stage at which the University Library Committee
     divides the budget between the three Colleges. This will of course be in addition
     to the HSS review of the budget allocation model mentioned in Dr Tong’s
     paper.

   • In order to address the need for rapid response to changes in the academic
   direction of Schools or subject areas, the University Library Committee has
   agreed that an Academic Change Fund should be created as a top-slice from the
   library materials budget. This fund will give a facility to address changed needs
   for a maximum period of two years, after which the specialised requirements
   would be expected to be integrated within the normal School allocation. The
   usefulness of this fund will depend to a large degree on good communication
   between Schools and IS.

   • To supplement the communication done with Schools by the dedicated Liaison
   Librarians, the post of Academic Liaison Director was established last year for
   each College, to cover all aspects of the work of IS: the Academic Liaison
   Director for HSS is Abdul Majothi, who is already known to many of you.


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Many of these issues will require ongoing work, and I suggest that Classics continues
to treat Dr Tong as its principal channel of communication with IS, although of course
all IS staff are happy to contribute to what I hope you agree is becoming an improved
dialogue.




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Appendix 9    Formal response to Economics Teaching Programme Review

Response to Economics TPR

The TPR Report highlighted the following commendations:




The TPR Report also contained a number of recommendations:




See the discussion of feedback below, in response to the National Student Survey.




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We have refrained from introducing a second essay into Economics 1A. Given the
high enrolment in Economics 1A, this would involve a substantial increase in the
marking burden (particularly in conjunction with high quality feedback). It would also
increase the workload for students, who already perceive the workload on Economics
1A as higher than that of other courses (workload evaluation 3.1). Moreover,
traditional essay writing is a less effective approach to developing and assessing
modern economic analysis than in many other social science or humanities
disciplines. It also has limited relevance as a key or job-related skill, where other
presentation formats, such as posters or power point presentations, are more relevant
(poster and power point formats are used for assessment in a number of our courses).
We are, however, working at enhancing the student learning experience in other
related ways.
    o Giving the tutorial problem sets a more applied and less abstract flavour.
    o Introducing more varied and discursive elements into tutorials (now 2 hours
        long, which gives scope for this), while retaining a strong element of problem-
        solving since this is important for building a strong and rigorous analytical
        foundation for economics.
    o Providing more extensive guidance on essay- writing for economics in
        tutorials. This will include the use of sample essays, with marks and feedback,
        to provide guidance on marking standards and expectations, linked to a peer-
        marking exercise to be incorporated in tutorials.




In preparation for the TPR we undertook a review of the maths entrance requirements
of other top undergraduate economics programmes in the UK. The review indicated
that an increasing number of the top programmes have maths A level as an entrance
requirement. Following the TPR, we have carried out a more detailed analysis of the
influence of maths entry qualifications on progression in Economics programmes. It is
apparent from this analysis that students with weaker maths entry qualifications (no
maths beyond GCSE, or low maths grades at AS level or Higher) are much more
likely to transfer out of Economics into other less mathematical programmes (e.g.
Politics, Business Studies). This is particularly the case for the student intake into
Economics & Politics and Business Studies & Economics. There are, however,
occasional students, with no maths beyond GCSE, who perform very well on
Economics programmes (generally students with A level entry qualifications). This
latter observation has, in the past, held us back from making maths at A level a firm
entry requirement. We have, however, strengthened the statement in the prospectus
that maths at A level or Higher is strongly recommended, and requested that HSS
admissions staff place considerable weight on this when processing admissions.
While this has made some difference, there continues to be a significant net transfer
of students out of Economics programmes, combined with a tail of students in years 1
and 2 who are not happy with the maths element of the Economics courses. In the

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light of this, it is probably the case that the benefits of strengthening the maths entry
requirements outweigh the costs. This should improve the match between our intake
and the skills and inclinations needed to succeed at and enjoy our programmes. It
would also send out a positive signal about the quality and nature of our programmes,
which should help to enhance the quality of the applicant pool. We have yet to reach a
final agreement on this, within the Economics group, and discuss the details with HSS
admissions, but the likely outcome is to move to an entry requirement, which includes
Maths Higher at grade B or above, or Maths AS or A level at grade B or above (or
equivalent in other entry qualifications). The planned timing would be to introduce
this new requirement explicitly for the 2010 intake, while, in the meantime,
reinforcing the rigour with which the current ‘strongly recommended’ rubric is
applied.




Recommendations 7.13 and 7.14 both relate to the training of graduate TAs. At the
time of the TPR we had just introduced our own subject-specific pre-sessional
induction course for graduate TAs. This pre-sessional course received strongly
positive feedback from the TAs. In 2007-08 we have significantly enhanced our
training and mentoring of graduate TAs, in discussion with the TLA. The key element
of this is regular weekly meetings, throughout the teaching periods of semesters 1 and
2, for all members (graduate TAs and academic staff) of the teaching teams involved
in 1st and 2nd year courses. These meetings are held at lunch times, with lunch
provided. Some sessions involve informal discussion: sharing good practice and ideas,
discussing problems, enhancing communication between lecturers and tutors etc.
Other sessions have a more focussed agenda, e.g.: teamwork poster preparation,
guidance and grading; essay preparation, guidance and grading; exam preparation,
guidance and grading. We plan to develop a new focus in semester 2 2007-08, to
prepare tutors for introducing elements of career guidance and planning into tutorials
(again 2 hour tutorials provide scope for this), in line with the ‘employability agenda’,
and are working on this in collaboration with the Careers Service.

We have difficulties making use of the HEA’s Economics Network training
programmes for graduate TAs, due to their timing, which coincides with the start of
tutorial teaching at Edinburgh. Moreover, the focus of the Economics Network tends,
understandably, to be targeted towards less rigorous/mathematical programmes and
weaker students, than those characteristic of Edinburgh and other top Economics
programmes. We have also not, to date, adopted a teaching observation system for
graduate TAs, since we feel that the presence of a member of academic staff
observing a tutorial would be disruptive and artificial. We will keep this under review,
but see little reason to implement such a system when tutorials generally receive
stongly positive feedback from students as they do at present.



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This recommendation, which we would very strongly endorse, is the responsibility of
Policy & Planning at the University of Edinburgh. We feel strongly that the provision
of suitable undergraduate teaching space, appropriately located, is an important
element of a positive student experience. The location needs, as far as is possible, to
foster a sense of belonging to and identity with Economics and facilitate informal and
effective communication and interaction between academic staff and students, as well
as inter-student interaction. The NSS 2007 responses (see below), particularly when
interpreting the results of other institutions which received stronger evaluations than
Edinburgh, reinforce the need to take this recommendation seriously.




This recommendation, which again we would strongly endorse, is the responsibility of
HSS. We are pleased to note that the College has followed through on this
recommendation in 2007-08.




This recommendation is the responsibility of HSS and the TLA. We have also
enhanced our in-house learning support for essay-writing etc as noted elsewhere in
this TRD.




This recommendation is the responsibility of HSS. We have some sympathy with the
spirit underlying this recommendation, but would be hesitant to endorse the return to a
regime which entailed translating JYA marks into Edinburgh-equivalent marks since
experience suggests that this would be both onerous and lacking in robustness. Our
limited experience to date with the new arrangement whereby JYA students’ degrees
are classified solely on the basis of their 4th year work, does not indicate any serious
problems. We take considerable care in selecting students, on the basis of academic
merit, as eligible for a JYA and consider this important in reducing the likelihood of
problems arising. It is, however, apparent that returning JYA students experience
heightened anxiety because of the increased weight that is effectievly attached to their
4th year marks.




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We have taken steps to ensure that our procedures for communicating with JYA
students by email, and through use of WebCT, operate more robustly. We do not
enforce our normal deadlines for choice of dissertation or supervisor selection for
JYA students, to accommodate their varied teaching and assessment schedules at their
destination universities. They are, however, strongly encouraged to try, as far as
possible, to adhere to the spirit of these deadlines and communicate with potential
supervisors by email and, where helpful, phone. While the distractions (and
attractions) of time spent abroad mean that some JYA students have made little
effective progress with their dissertation by the time they return to Edinburgh, this
does not mean that they are out of sync with the majority of their fellow cohort of
students, who have remained at Edinburgh during their 3rd year. Few students make
significant progress on their dissertation before the start of 4th year, and our firm
impression is that these few are as likely to be JYA students as students who have
remained in Edinburgh.




The context of this recommendation is the aim to enhance the incentives for students
to study effectively in years 1 and 2. We strongly endorse this aim, which we flagged
up in the specific remit for the TPR. We have highlighted the role that first year
performance plays in the JYA selection process in the Economics 1A Handbook and
intend to reinforce this message at the start of semester 2, when providing feedback
on the December exam for Economics 1A.




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Appendix 10 Formal response to History of Art Teaching Programme Review

Response to the Teaching Programme Review of History of Art, carried out on 1
and 2 February 2007

We would like to thank the Teaching Programme Review panel for their
excellent Report. We are most grateful to them for their meticulous inquiries
into the workings of History of Art, a process that has allowed the subject area to
see itself in clearer perspective than is usually possible.

There are a number of important changes in the make-up of the subject area and
of the School taking place over the summer/autumn of 2007. The Head of
Subject Area, Michael Bury, steps down, as does the Head of School, Angus
Macdonald. Four new lecturers and a teaching fellow will be starting work in
History of Art for the academic year 2007/8 and it may be assumed that many
changes and new initiatives will follow from this.

In two meetings held in April/May 2007 involving all the members of the History
of Art subject area, the Report of the Teaching Programme Review panel was
carefully considered, in particular the set of recommendations. A number of
decisions were taken. The Head of School was consulted.

Each of the Recommendations made by the panel will be taken in turn and the
response recorded:

   6.20 The review team recommends that the review area explore how individual
   research and teaching interests might cohere further in a collaborative vision for
   History of Art, and as a platform for increased collaboration across disciplines in
   the School and the wider University. [3.4]
   Ideas for developing collaboration between the subject areas within the
   School and between History of Art and the wider University are being
   actively considered. The new appointment of a VARIE administrator is
   being considered in terms of an academic appointment that could help both
   Architecture and History of Art. There is a proposal to appoint a new
   member of staff to play a key role in the new School MSc on the City.


   6.21 The review team recommends that the review area explores further the
   potential for a more fully interdisciplinary approach to joint degree provision and
   to appropriate History of Art courses. [3.5]
   This is a matter of ongoing debate. There are strong arguments for joint
   degrees having serious focussed input from the different academic disciplines
   that make it up. If the interdisciplinarity arises from a member of staff
   teaching outside their area of expertise, this can create weaknesses in the
   quality of teaching. If collaborative teaching were to involve more than one
   member of staff contributing to individual teaching sessions, then the results
   could be valuable, but a question arises whether the extra expenditure of staff
   time and effort is justified.



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6.22 It is recommended that the review area explore with Architecture
opportunities that might exist for collaborative teaching. [3.6]
There are proposals for sharing teaching on the first and second year
courses. An Honours course on Vienna around 1900 is being actively
developed between History of Art and Architecture.

6.23 It is recommended that the review area consider whether collaboration in
interdisciplinary teaching might deliver benefits in the context of planning for
staff succession. [3.6]
See 6.20 above

6.24 The review team recommends strongly that the review area consider
introducing an ‘Away Day’ to facilitate strategic thinking, the development of the
review area’s vision as a discipline and its planning for the medium to long term.
[3.7]
This has been discussed at length by the History of Art staff meeting. There
is universal agreement that some kind of Away Day would be very valuable,
but some scepticism about one that involves spending a night away.
Childcare problems make an overnight stay a difficult proposition for some
of the younger members of staff. The question will be considered further by
the new head of History of Art.

6.25 It is recommended that relevant Edinburgh College of Art staff are
included in any Away Day, and that consideration is given to widening the scope
of the event at an appropriate point to achieve a School focus. [3.7]
The inclusion of College of Art staff might present problems, but we are open
to the idea of inviting certain key people from other parts of the School, most
importantly those teaching architectural history.

6.26 From the baseline of its strong, innovative curriculum the review team
recommends that the review area incorporates in its forthcoming strategic review,
both internally and at School level, a consideration of potential new initiatives and
developments. [3.8]
History of Art is about to change rather dramatically, with 4 new permanent
members of staff taking up post and a teaching fellow who is starting a two-
year appointment. This will inevitably lead to a great deal of new thinking.
We welcome the opportunities that will bring. We have already decided to
develop the possibilities of web-based teaching and of encouraging student
learning through the formation of autonomous reading groups.

6.27 It is recommended that the review area and the School consider new
academic appointments with a very strong focus on the maintenance of the range
and diversity of its teaching, and in particular on the review area’s vision for its
academic direction. [3.9]
This fits exactly with what we have agreed to do.




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6.28 It is recommended that the review area continue to make all possible efforts
to widen participation in courses, insofar as the design, delivery and content of
courses can affect this difficult issue. In doing so consideration should be given to
broadening the approach to teaching visual culture in such a way as to attract
students with little or no previous exposure to art history. [3.10]
We welcome this proposal which corresponds with what are already trying to
do. We are reconsidering the structure and content of first-year tutorials so
as to make it easier for first-year students to gain the basic knowledge and
understanding required for their future study of History of Art

6.29 It is recommended that the review area emphasise in its recruitment
material and in course handbooks its concentration on confronting the original
work of art within the larger context of the fundamental importance of visuality in
contemporary culture. In doing so the review area should expand upon why a
first-hand knowledge of visual objects, images and spaces is useful to the
understanding of the history of the visual arts. [3.14]
We are determined to ensure that the rationale for our emphasis on the
importance of the study of works of art in the original is understood by all
our students. We have added relevant material into the course handbooks,
especially at first-year level.

6.30..It is recommended that the review area clarify the interrelationship of
subject-specific lectures, critical thinking lectures and tutorials, and that it
consider whether the integration of gallery and museum exposure with traditional
lecture material requires to be more fully justified in intellectual terms in
promotional material and course handbooks. [3.16]
The first-year tutorial course has been redesigned in the light of this
recommendation. Under the new system, the tutors will be able much more
actively to help students understand the critical thinking lectures and point
out how they connect with the historical lectures. They will also be able to
demonstrate the importance of gallery and museum visits to the study of the
subject.

6.31 It is recommended that the review area discuss the intellectual justification
for the importance of experiencing art face to face and that such justification be
reflected in course material and course descriptors. [3.17]
There will be material included to this effect in the relevant handbooks for
students.

6.32 It is recommended that the review area consider including in its lists of
prescribed reading some of the more recent debates interrogating the discipline.
[3.18]
This will happen as part of the new arrangements for History of Art 1. All
staff have been alerted to the importance of this.

6.33 It is recommended that the review area investigate opportunities for group
work, and in particular autonomous learning groups, offered by the Appleton
Tower workspace. [3.19]

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We have decided that we will actively develop new teaching and learning
methods. The formation of autonomous learning groups is being encouraged.

6.34 It is recommended that the review area approach the digitisation of its slide
collection by defining a two-stage project, to include the physical and financial
resource required, and submitting its proposal to the appropriate budget-holder.
[3.22]
This has turned out to be an even more complicated process than we first
thought. It appears at the moment that it may not be useful to digitize the
whole of the existing slide collection; what we will do is to digitize those slides
that are used for lectures and seminars. This should be possible with a slight
re-arrangement of the duties of our existing support staff.

6.35 It is recommended that the review area seeks to resolve the issue of quality
of projection equipment by defining its key requirements and presenting a
proposal to the relevant budget-holder. [3.23]
We have identified the issues and have found the money to deal with this
problem. New equipment has now been installed in most of the key teaching
spaces.

6.36 It is recommended that a reconsideration of student academic and pastoral
support at University level take into account the important potential contribution
of administrative and support staff in this area.
 [3.25]
There has been a detailed reconsideration of the division of responsibilities;
in future the administrative and support staff will take on much more of the
burden of routine student registration and administration. This is in line
with the new University policy

6.37 It is recommended that the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
consider how to improve student induction in relation to choice of outside subject
and clarification of degree structures, and that good practice is shared via the
relevant University committees. [4.2]
This is an issue which we will address in the new academic year, once the
implications of the new system of Directors of Studies is operational.

6.38 It is recommended that the review area explore ways to spread the load of
the DoS role as a matter of urgency. [4.3]
This has been done and the load on each member of staff reduced
substantially. Once again this is in line with change in general University
policy

6.39 It is recommended that the review area consider the most appropriate means
of providing feedback to students with regard to support for the student learning
experience and effective use of staff time. [4.5]
The College QA committee is actively considering these issues: making
known best practice within the College and drawing up proposals for change.




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6.40 It is recommended that the review area consider further how to recognise
and assess the acquisition and use of professional skills gained during placements,
drawing on good practice elsewhere in the University. [4.8]
This is being done as part of the response to 6.39 above. We have sought
advice from other subject areas, including Education, which has long
experience with placements.

6.41 It is recommended that the review area consider the feasibility of
introducing a School format of placement report, with School-level co-ordination
of the placement activity, and that consideration is given to the possibility of
providing students with an opportunity to observe and record their progress
against key competencies. [4.8]
There have been discussions with Architecture, the other subject area in the
School where placements are used. We need to decide on 6.39 and 6.40
before further action can be taken on this.

6.42 It is recommended that the review area consider whether the resources
committed to double marking are warranted by the outcome. [4.10]
This has been discussed in a staff meeting. It is likely that the decision will be
to reduce the number of examined elements subject to double marking and to
replace it with monitoring.

6.43 It is recommended that the difference in degree classification systems,
along with other disparities between the Edinburgh College of Art system and that
of the University of Edinburgh, be discussed sooner rather than later, in
preparation for a likely closer relationship between the two institutions (and see
below, 5.11) [4.11]
This has been done.

6.44 It is recommended that the review area give thought to appropriate phasing
for its needs of teaching and examining within the semester system, and engage
with University debates on the subject. [4.12]
There have been guidelines offered by the College to which we can agree. We
intend to adopt the following practice: end-of-semester examining for first
and second year courses, with end-of-year examining for Honours.

6.45 It is recommended that the review area seek clarification on the status of
degree classification rules. [5.8]
This has been done

6.46 It is recommended that the review area initiate discussions with Edinburgh
College of Art on further articulation of quality assurance matters. [5.11]
This has been done.




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Appendix 11 Formal response to Philosophy Teaching Programme Review

                            The University of Edinburgh

             School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Formal response to the Philosophy Teaching Programme Review that took place
on 8 and 9 March 2007

The School welcomes the report and its recommendations. The School has noted with
pleasure the ten commendations contained within the report. The School’s response
to the specific recommendations contained within the report is as follows:

The review team considers that the sub-honours courses may be overly
ambitious and recommends that the Subject Area reflects on this. The review
team also recommends that the Subject Area reflects on the accessibility of its
course materials, particularly at sub-honours level (7.11/3.4).

The head of Subject Area, together with course organisers and student representatives
have reviewed the content of the pre-honours courses with the result that significant
improvements have been made to the curricular content for years 1 and 2. For the
main year 1 course, Introduction to Philosophy, the Subject Area has revised the
curriculum with the result that students will receive a better grounding in the
methodologies of philosophy and in the history of philosophy. The year 2 courses,
Philosophy 2A and 2B, have been similarly revised to produce a more coherent
curriculum; their revised content ensures that students are presented with material of a
level and detail that enables them properly to engage with it.


These changes were implemented for the academic session 2007/8, and the feedback
from students has been positive. The Subject Area will continue to systematically
monitor pre-honours courses to ensure that any necessary further changes are made.


Currently, the Subject Area makes course materials available via its webpages. The
Subject Area will be working closely with the School to adopt a coherent approach to
the provision of materials using WebCT, as well as examining how the establishment
of a centralised teaching office and undergraduate resources room can improve the
accessibility of course materials.

The review team recommends that Philosophy reflects on the balance between
core and options courses at honours level and considers whether the curriculum
could be restructured to allow greater flexibility, particularly at senior honours
level (7.12/3.5).

The Subject Area has discussed ways of increasing flexibility for students in the
options available to them at honours level. It has been agreed that the most
appropriate way of increasing flexibility is to reform the honours curriculum. To this
end, the Subject Area convened a committee to draw up draft proposals for reform;
these proposals have been accepted by the staff and students, and the Subject Area is

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now in the process of presenting them to appropriate committees of the Subject Area,
School, and College with the aim of implementing them for the benefit of existing and
incoming students in the 2008/9 academic session.

The Subject Area currently teaches five compulsory 40 credit core courses over two
honours years, delivered as lectures to large classes of over 100 students. These core
courses will be replaced with a number of 20 credit courses taught in seminar classes
of 25-30 students. Students will have a choice of twelve courses over two years and
will be required to choose courses from a range of subjects. These improvements will
allow the students greater flexibility in choosing what to study whilst maintaining the
breadth of coverage essential to a balanced curriculum.

In addition to introducing a range of new courses the Subject Area will introduce
alternative methods of assessment for each course. In particular, it will reduce the
dependence on end of year exams by increasing the coursework component of all
courses.

These changes constitute a substantial change to the philosophy honours curriculum
and address a number of issues:

First, by providing students with more choice at honours level and reducing the core
course components they will address one the main sources of student dissatisfaction
with the honours programme.

Second, by introducing new courses, the Subject Area will be able to introduce more
flexible methods of assessment and to provide the increased levels of feedback that
students require in order to develop their learning.

Thirdly, teaching classes in small groups will promote greater interaction between the
staff and the students. This will address one of the key issues raised by this report,
that students have a sense of staff being too distant and not sufficiently engaged with
teaching.

The review team recommends that Philosophy reflects on the balance of lectures
and tutorials in core courses at honours level (7.13/3.6).

The changes described above will eliminate the core courses with very broad curricula
and a reliance on large lectures for honours teaching. The new 20 credit courses will
each have a more specialised curriculum and so will allow students to engage with the
subjects they study in more depth; this will allow a greater consolidation of the
curriculum material.

In the 2008/9 academic session, the Subject Area will pilot a series of autonomous
learning groups; in other Subject Areas such groups have proved to be very successful
at enabling students to reflect on and consolidate the material presented in class.

The review team recommends that Philosophy undertakes a review of both
physical and, in particular, electronic resources given student numbers and
subsequent pressure on key texts and journals (7.14/3.7).


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The Subject Area will move to new accommodation in Potterrrow in spring / summer
2008. As a result of this move, students will have access to a new undergraduate
resources room, which will be a central location for the provision of class materials.

The Subject Area and the School have discussed the provision of resources to students
and as a result of these discussions it has been agreed that space will be provided for
the Philosophy Society’s library in the Philosophy and Psychology library at 7 George
Square. This library gathers together course books from graduating students and will
provide more copies of the most frequently used books. Accommodating this library
at 7 George Square will allow full time access to the materials within a secure space.
In addition, the head of School has agreed that the Philosophy Society can book one
of the School’s seminar or meeting rooms in the new building on a regular basis; this
will provide them with a venue for regular meetings, both formal and informal.

The Subject Area is continuing to explore the use of electronic texts. One of the
research areas in the Subject Area has submitted a bid for Full Economic Cost funds
for a range of titles from the Past Masters Humanities Database. These are primary
texts of great use for both research and teaching.

The review team recommends that teaching staff make themselves more
available to part-time tutors, providing additional support for tutorials where
necessary (7.15/3.8).

The Subject Area has reviewed the support it provides to part-time tutors and has
introduced classes for tutors on marking and general tutoring practice. In addition,
the senior tutor has introduced an office hour specifically for tutors to drop in to
discuss any questions they have concerning teaching matters.

The Subject Area is continuing to develop its tutor support and training, in
conjunction with the School and the School’s Postgraduate Director, and will make
greater use of the opportunities for tutor training provided by the University’s Centre
for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. Since many tutors are postgraduate
students, the issue of contact with and training for tutors is also being pursued actively
through the ongoing review of philosophy postgraduate provision.

The review team recommends that the Subject Area ensures that School policy is
being met and that course organisers meet regularly with part-time tutors
(7.16/3.8).

The Subject Area has adopted the policy that course organisers must ensure that tutors
are aware of the aims and objectives of their courses and must meet with tutors once a
semester to discuss the realisation of these aims and objectives. The Subject Area has
introduced new course organiser handbooks, which include a statement of this policy.

The review team recommends that Philosophy considers limiting the hours
which part-time tutors are expected to devote to teaching, marking, and tutorial
preparation (7.17/3.9).

The Subject Area adheres to the Arts and Humanities Research Council guidance that
part-time tutors who are research students will spend no more than six hours a week

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devoted to teaching, whilst retaining some flexibility to increase these hours when it is
in the interests of the tutor to do so.

The reviewers recommend that there should be a rigorous system for monitoring
and supporting the work of part-time tutors (7.18/3.10).

The Subject Area has reviewed the support provided to part-time tutors. As a result of
this review the senior tutor and course organisers now take an active role in
supporting and monitoring of the work of part-time tutors. Course organisers monitor
tutors both informally, by meeting with them and discussing their teaching, and
formally by means peer observation of teaching and student feedback questionnaires.
These questionnaires are summarised in course monitoring forms, which are returned
to the Subject Area’s head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement and the School’s
QAE committee. In addition, students are encouraged to raise any tutorial problems
directly with the senior tutor or the relevant course organiser.

The move to a School teaching office will allow the centralisation of many aspects of
the selection, recruitment, and monitoring of tutors.

The review team recommends that feedback from student review forms is
transmitted back to the part-time tutors (7.19/3.10).

The Subject Area has examined its QAE processes and made changes to allow a wider
circulation of student feedback within the Subject Area and to tutors. Course-
questionnaire feedback is now being passed on to tutors as a matter of course, and
informs the course organiser’s course monitoring reports.

The reviewers recommend that Philosophy and the School should reflect on the
acceptability of some part-time tutors participating in the marking of some
degree examinations (7.20/3.11).

The Subject Area has discussed this issue with its external examiners who are content
for the current arrangements to continue as long as the part-time tutors have the
relevant experience to allow them to perform these duties.

The review team recommends that the Subject Area and the School should
consider whether part-time tutors are being fairly remunerated by comparison
with their peers in comparable disciplines (7.21/3.12).

The University is currently reviewing the remuneration of tutors and demonstrators as
part of Pay Modernisation with the aim of implementing any changes for August
2008. The School and Subject Area await the outcome of this review.

The review team recommends that the Subject Area reflects on whether another
assessment arrangement might better achieve the intended learning outcomes
(7.22/3.13 & 3.14).

The Subject Area has reviewed the assessment arrangements for courses and, as part
of the honours curriculum reform, has agreed to introduce assessment arrangements


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that have a greater coursework component and so allow for provision of feedback that
better achieves the learning outcomes.

The review team recommends that Philosophy, along with the School and the
College, considers whether the practice of taking formative assessments into
account where special circumstances affect examination performance is in
keeping with the current assessment regulations (7.23/3.15).

The Subject Area and School have reviewed the operation of its Special
Circumstances Committee and have determined that they operate firmly within the
College guidelines in using formative work as evidence in special circumstances
cases. The Subject Area’s external examiners have also praised the evidence-driven
approach to assessing special circumstances cases.

The reviewers recommend that Philosophy reflects on ways in which to improve
the provision of delivering timely, quality feedback to all students (7.24/3.16).

The School Undergraduate Studies Committee, in the light of guidance provided by
the University, has discussed the provision of feedback to students. The School and
the Subject Area have implemented the College’s guidelines for the provision of
feedback for pre-honours courses. Feedback for honours courses is being improved
as a result of the changes to assessment methods for honours courses described in
response to recommendations 7.12 and 7.22 above.

It has been agreed that feedback on coursework will be provided within three weeks
of the submission deadline. Information to this effect will be included in course
books provided in the 2008/9 academic session.

The review team recommends that senior honours students are given written
feedback on their long essays with a provisional grade, subject to ratification by
the external examiner, to allow them to prepare for final examinations. The
review team recommends that this might be achieved through the use of
feedback sheets (7.25/3.17).

The Subject Area has agreed to provide such feedback; the relevant course handbooks
for the academic session 2008/9 will be updated to reflect this.

The reviewers recommend that there should be a department-wide policy on how
long students should expect to wait before they get their marked essays back
(7.26/3.18).

The Subject Area has agreed that, in line with College policy, essays will be returned
within three weeks of the submission deadline. (See the response to recommendations
7.12, 7.22, and 7.24 above).

The review team recommends that the Subject Area, and the School, reflect on
how best to support students in Philosophy and overcome the gulf that clearly
exists between students and some members of staff (7.27/3.19).



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The Subject Area has reviewed the access that students have to staff members and the
way in which it communicates with the student population. As a result of this review,
office hours are now rigorously observed, ensuring access for students to members of
staff at agreed times. The Subject Area has made efforts to publicise the availability
of staff to answer questions about work and to encourage students to make use of
office hours. All office hours are published in the Subject Area’s web pages.

A staff-student liaison committee, where staff and students can meet to discuss issues,
has been introduced. The Subject Area has instituted a formal process for handling
course monitoring reports and minutes from staff-student liaison committee meetings,
which are now passed up to the School Undergraduate Studies committee and the
School QAE committee as well as being circulated to all staff in the Subject Area.
Additionally, the Subject Area has agreed to hold meetings of its teaching committee
in the third week of each semester in order to identify and address any developing
problems identified by students and staff.

As part of the process of implementing the curriculum changes described above, the
subject area has held a series of meetings to which honour-level students have been
invited. These meetings have allowed the students to provide feedback on, and
influence the changes. They have been well attended, and the initial feedback from
the students has been very positive.

The review team recommends that Philosophy, in conjunction with the School,
seizes the opportunity presented by the College’s new approach to providing
pastoral support for students, to evaluate ways of spreading the DoS workload,
and indeed the overall administrative workload of the Subject Area (7.28/3.20).

At the beginning of the academic year, all staff members above Grade 7 in the Subject
Area became Directors of Studies and were allocated a number of directees. This was
a success in terms of both spreading the administrative workload across the Subject
Area and improving students’ access to staff members. The introduction of a School
teaching office will further reduce the administrative burden associated with the DoS
role.

A change of senior tutor has given the Subject Area the opportunity to re-assign the
work associated with this role more widely across the Subject Area. The job of senior
tutor will be split between honours and pre-honours and this, together with the
centralisation of administration within the School, will help to reduce the
administrative burden on individual staff still further.

The review team recommends that the Subject Area collects student feedback on
degree programmes as well as on individual courses (7.29/3.21).

The Subject Area has introduced a staff-student liaison committee, which will give
students the opportunity to comment on programmes as a whole as well as on
individual courses.

The Subject Area has agreed to distribute a questionnaire to all students in years one
to three to solicit feedback about their degree programme.


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                                             DRAFT CHSS Quality Report for 2006-7



The review team recommends that Philosophy devotes more time to management
of its joint honours programmes (7.30/3.22).

The Subject Area is satisfied that the joint degree programmes are properly managed.
The Subject Area has taken steps to address a particular concern with Modern
European languages and Philosophy. The senior tutor circulated guidelines
describing the arrangements for their year-abroad to all 2nd and 3rd year students on
the MEL and Philosophy programme, and took steps to ensure that adequate
supervision was provided, with the result that the marks achieved by MEL and
Philosophy students during their year abroad have improved.

Not all of the philosophy joint degree programmes require students to take logic; the
Subject Area takes the view that logic is an important component of the curriculum
for those (e.g. philosophy and maths, philosophy and linguistics) that do.

The review team recommends that the Philosophy does not introduce the
dissertation unless it introduces changes to ensure that students do more
summatively assessed written work (7.31/4.1).

The Subject Area is continuing to review the future provision of a dissertation option
in the light of student demand. The curriculum reforms (detailed in response to
recommendation 7.12 above) will result in students to undertaking more summatively
assessed written work; the dissertation will mesh well with these changes.

The reviewers recommend that Philosophy ensures that honours students are
aware of progression between junior and senior honours in core courses and
recommend that Philosophy follows School and College practice in this area
(7.32/4.2).

The Subject Area has reviewed this issue and is satisfied that students are properly
advised.

The review team recommends that the Subject Area, supported by the School,
reflects on its organisation and makes greater efforts to spread the
administrative load amongst colleagues (7.33/5.1).

As described in response to recommendation 7.28 above, steps have been taken to
reduce the administrative burden associated with the senior tutor role and to distribute
the administrative workload more evenly across the Subject Area. The School, in line
with College guidance, is developing a comprehensive workload model that will
enable more effective management of the distribution of workloads across the Subject
Area.

The reviewers recommend that senior members of staff should all play a role in
departmental administration and management (7.34/5.2).

All senior members of staff in Subject Area play a role in Subject Area management
and administration; their roles currently include head of Subject Area, postgraduate
director, Subject Area research advisor, and pre-honours exam convenor.

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                                            DRAFT CHSS Quality Report for 2006-7



The review team recommends that Philosophy acts now to develop a planning
strategy and to establish a healthy culture (7.35/5.2).

An away day for all staff in the Subject Area took place in April at which decisions
were taken to reorganise the administrative structures within the subject area, and to
restructure the curriculum to provide a wider range of courses and non-exam based
methods of assessment. The subject area is currently in the process of implementing
these changes.

Following the away day, the frequency of staff meetings has been increased form one
a semester to two or three each semester. These meetings have been used to discuss
how best to respond to the issues raised by this report and to plan the implementation
of the changes detailed above. In addition, the subject area has constituted a teaching
committee to monitor our provision of teaching, and to address longer-term strategic
issues. The teaching committee has met to discuss the distribution of teaching-related
administration within the Subject Area and has redistributed the tasks previously
carried out by the senior tutor amongst a greater number of staff. Together, these
changes will ensure the establishment of a healthy culture within the Subject Area.

The review team recommends that the Subject Area and School take steps to
ensure that meetings between course organisers and part-time tutors regularly
take place (7.36/5.3).

The matter of part-time tutors had been addressed in response to recommendations
7.16, 7.17, and 7.18 above.

The team recommends that the Subject Area, with support from the School,
establishes a rigorous system of peer observation of teaching for all those
involved in teaching, including part-time tutors (7.37/5.4).

The Subject Area has introduced a system for peer observation that includes both staff
and part-time tutors.

The review team recommends that the School and Subject Area maintain the
commitment to a 30% reduction in teaching load for newly appointed staff, as
far as possible (7.38/5.6).

The Subject Area maintains its commitment to a 30 per cent reduction in teaching
load for new members of staff.

The review team recommends that Philosophy establish procedures for regular
and systematic review of its activities. Periodic ‘away days’ could be of use in
this (7.39/6.1).

The Subject Area has had an away day and has increased the frequency of its staff
meetings from one each semester to two or three each semester. A teaching
committee has been constituted which will periodically review all aspects of teaching
provision. Additional away days will be arranged in due course at which the changes


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described in this report will be systematically reviewed and further changes planned
as necessary.




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