College of Humanities and Social Sciences by hcj


									                                           DRAFT CHSS Quality Report for 2005-6

                                          HSS QAE COMMITTEE PAPER 06/08
                                                                   For discussion

Draft College QAE report

The draft College QAE report is attached. The Committee is invited to comment on
this document. In particular it is invited to consider:

   Procedures for reviewing School QAE reports (see p3 of the report)
   The appropriate balance between course and programme monitoring (see p4 of the
   The potential for Registry to assist Schools in producing statistics for QAE
    monitoring purposes (see p5 of the report).

The Committee is invited to 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
February 2007

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                                            DRAFT CHSS Quality Report for 2005-6

                 College of Humanities and Social Sciences

 College Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (CQAEC)
 Report to Senatus Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee
                      (SQAEC) for 2005-06

1. Summary

The report details the Quality Assurance and Enhancement procedures employed
within the College and how they have been implemented in 2005-06. This covers
monitoring by Schools of about 1290 UG courses and over 200 UG programmes, and
about 100 PGT programmes, as well as programmes and courses in the Office of
Lifelong Learning (OLL) and Edinburgh College of Art (eca) (see below). 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 and eca. The Report also takes account
of External Examiners‟ reports, external reviews and accreditations of programmes
including Teaching Programmes Reviews. It provides the opportunity to share
information and good practice, and thereby to enhance the quality of learning and
teaching in the College.

In general it is clear that Schools have broadly appropriate QAE procedures in place
in line with College QAE requirements. There is evidence of improvements over the
past year in relation to some Schools‟ QAE procedures, though there are some areas
where Schools need to make further progress (for example, in relation to the
monitoring of postgraduate taught provision). The majority of the issues raised by
Schools in their reports have been raised in previous years, though several new issues
have emerged (for example, issues regarding the introduction of the Extended
Common Marking Scheme).

2. Aims and Objectives

This report indicates the extent to which Schools within the College 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 opportunity to acknowledge and share good practice, and to aid
the College in its review of quality assurance and enhancement procedures. It
identifies any issues and trends arising from School QAE reports, especially those that
might have wider bearing for teaching across the College as well as within any
particular School.

The report also aims to identify any generic problems with undergraduate or
postgraduate teaching, so that the College can consider how best to support the
Schools in addressing them.

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3. College Quality Assurance and Enhancement Procedures

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

Each year the College sets out the requirements for Schools‟ QAE reports in a
guidance document, which is agreed with CQAEC and published on the College
intranet. In summer 2006 the College, in consultation with School representatives,
reviewed its guidelines to Schools on annual QAE reporting. CQAEC agreed the
revised guidance at its meeting on 13 November 2006. In most respects the draft
guidance is similar to that which applied for reporting on 2004-05. The main change
is that the College has revised the aspects of guidance that relate to course and
programme monitoring, and the production of statistics, and provided guidance
regarding the length of reports. Full details of the College procedures are available at:

3.1 Procedures for reviewing School QAE reports

Each School‟s 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 School report, as well as for
the reports of OLL and eca. 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
School reports in this report.

To date, the Committee has allocated each School a different lead reviewer to the one
allocated the previous year. During this year‟s review process, one School
representative has suggested that it would be helpful for lead reviewers to develop a
greater awareness of how the School‟s QAE reports have developed over previous
years, by being allocated to the same School for more than one year and / or being
provided with copies of School reports for previous years. [The Committee is invited
to consider this proposal]

3.2 Location of responsibility for QAE within Schools

The 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. However, it is clear from their QAE reports that four Schools (ACE, Health
in Social Science, Education, and, to a lesser extent, History and Classics) are still
reflecting on how best to organise their QAE structures. For several of the Schools,
one of the key issues is whether to integrate QAE responsibilities more fully with
wider responsibilities for the management of teaching (for example, by reporting on
QAE issues through a Teaching Committee rather than a separate QAE Committee).
For three of these Schools (ACE, Health, and History and Classics), the question of
QAE arrangements is directly related to the intention of increasing the integration of
teaching across diverse subject areas.

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Three Schools have had difficulties in achieving continuity of representation on the
CQAEC Committee in 2006-07 as a result of staff sabbaticals. Whilst the School
representatives have performed admirably under the circumstances, the absence of
continuity has in some respects compromised the ability of these Schools to
participate fully in the process of peer reviewing of School QAE reports or in the
activities of the Committee more generally. The College will therefore seek
assurances that in future years Schools will as far as possible nominate the same QAE
representative for the full year.

3.3 Course and Programme Monitoring

The College has well established procedures for course monitoring based on standard
templates. eca and OLL have not yet wholly aligned themselves with CHSS‟s course
monitoring procedures, though CHSS has encouraged them to become more aligned
over time (see section 4 below).

From School QAE reports, it is clear that a high proportion of CMFs have been
completed and returned to Schools, with half of Schools obtaining CMFs for all
courses. In general Schools have obtained a higher proportion of CMFs than they did
in 2004-05, with notable improvements in several Schools. Health in Social Science
has successfully incorporated new subject areas into the College‟s course monitoring
procedures, though they did not manage to obtain all CMFs in one subject area.
History and Classics has improved its CMF collection rates in History as a result of
appointing QAE representatives for the subject area. Where Schools have not
achieved full returns, reasons include difficulties associated with the AUT industrial
action, and requests for CMFs not being issued sufficiently early in the year. Where
Schools have not achieved full CMF return rates, they have provided evidence that
they have plans to improve the situation. In some Schools course monitoring
procedures are not yet running as systematically for PGT courses as they are for UG
courses, thought several Schools have improved their course monitoring systems for
PGT courses over the past year. The Committee will closely monitor progress on this,
particularly given the College‟s plans to further expand PGT provision.

Two Schools (Law, and PPLS) use course audit files to collate and collect the
information required for QAE purposes, and to systematically monitor progress from
year to year. This is an excellent practice, and the Committee encourages other
Schools to adopt it.

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) has made good progress in relation to this. The Committee will
continue to reinforce the need for monitoring courses at PGR level.

The College asks Schools to conduct annual programme monitoring for all their UG
and PGT programmes. In addition to reflecting on statistics at programme level (see
below), there is evidence of particularly good practices in some Schools regarding the
use of questionnaires, focus groups and open forums as mechanisms for reviewing
learning and teaching at programme level. However, there are opportunities for more
Schools to review their provision at programme level. [The Committee may wish to
discuss the appropriate balance between course and programme monitoring]

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3.4 Presentation and analysis of statistics

As part of the 2004-05 QAE review process, some School QAE representatives
sought clarification regarding what statistics should be presented in School QAE
reports, how these statistics should be presented to aid analysis, and what questions
School representatives should be asking in relation to the statistics. In response to this,
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

The majority of Schools have taken into account this guidance and improved the
coverage and presentation of statistics in their reports and the level of reflection on the
statistics, though there remains room for further improvement, particularly in relation
to several Schools. The Committee will closely review Schools‟ progress in this area,
and provide further guidance and examples of exemplar practices where this will
assist Schools.

This year the College 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. This will have assisted Schools in presenting this information in their QAE
reports. There are considerable advantages to Schools taking a standardised approach
to statistics on course and programme outcomes more generally, and College plans to
explore with Registry whether it can provide statistics to Schools to meet all their
requirements for the annual quality reporting process. This will however require the
Committee to agree more precisely the statistics it would require, since Registry is
unlikely to be able to take a different approach for each School. Several Schools have
had difficulties producing statistics in line with the Extended Common Marking
Scheme, since DACS reports on course results do not break the A grade into
A1/A2/A3. As part of discussions regarding the provision of statistics, the College
will explore with Registry whether it can provide data fully in line with the ECMS.
[The Committee may wish to discuss these issues].

3.5 Student feedback questionnaires

The majority of School QAE reports reflect on alternative approaches to student
feedback questionnaires, with some Schools experimenting with online questionnaires
or machine-readable paper questionnaires. It is clear from School reports, and
discussion at meetings to discuss the reports, that Schools would welcome the
opportunity to debate at College level the objectives of using student questionnaires
and the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. CQAEC had an initial
discussion of this issue at its meeting in March 2007, as a first stage of its plans for
wider debate regarding student engagement with QAE processes in the College [The
Committee will be invited to discuss the issue of student feedback questionnaires
under a different item of the agenda, and this section of the report will be revised to
reflect that discussion.]

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4. eca and OLL

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.
The eca/ University Accreditation Committee monitors the operation of the
Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). In its second report (July 2006), it found that eca
has mature and effective processes for assuring the quality of its academic provision
and maintaining appropriate standards for degree programmes, that eca appears
committed to taking a systematic approach to quality enhancement, and that overall
the eca and the University of Edinburgh have so far managed the accreditation
arrangement effectively. The Accreditation Committee next meets in June 2007.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), eca is required to provide CHSS with
an annual QAE report which as far as practicable is aligned to the University‟s and
CHSS‟s QAE procedures. This is the second year that eca has provided CHSS with an
annual QAE report under the Memorandum. As reported in CQAEC‟s last report, in
many respects eca‟s quality reporting format is already aligned with CHSS‟s quality
reporting guidelines. The main area of current divergence is that CHSS expects
monitoring to occur at the level of the course as well as the programme, whereas eca
monitors solely at programme level (through its Annual Programme Monitoring and
Review, APMR, processes). eca has not made any significant change to its QAE
procedures between 2004-05 and 2005-06. The Accreditation Committee has
discussed the possibility that over time eca will become more closely aligned with
CHSS‟s requirements. In particular, eca could plan to pilot monitoring at individual
module / course level (whilst retaining monitoring at programme level) within one
School in 2007-08, with a view to introducing this across all of eca. The
Accreditation Committee will discuss this at its next meeting. eca has signalled that it
will confirm at that meeting that monitoring down to module level is inappropriate for
a non-modular studio based structure.

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 other CHSS
Schools but many of its procedures echo those currently employed by CHSS. It does
not currently use Course Monitoring Forms, though it has other processes in place for
monitoring at course level, and does not apply student questionnaires for all courses
every year, though there are mechanisms for student feedback. CHSS is encouraging
OLL to move towards closer alignment with these aspects of CHSS requirements and
OLL is developing appropriate procedures for 2006-07, on which it has been asked to
report in 2007-08. The College will be discussing with OLL the appropriate approach
to QAE monitoring for the Continuing Professional Development which OLL
coordinates and markets.

7. Programme Review

Teaching Programme Reviews

The CQAEC report on 2005-06 indicated that Schools had not yet submitted formal
responses for the following TPRs that took place in 2004-05: Nursing; Asian Studies;
European Languages and Cultures (including Celtic); and Islamic and Middle Eastern
Studies. The Schools have now provided formal responses to all these TPRs.

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The following TPRs took place in 2005-06 in CHSS:

   Community Education
   English Language
   English Literature
   Social Anthropology
   Sociology

Schools have provided formal responses in relation to all these TPRs except English
Language. This represents a substantial improvement on the previous year in terms of
the time involved in closing this part of the quality loop. These formal responses are
attached as appendices. We have encouraged PPLS to submit a formal response to the
English Language TPR.

The following specific issues arose from the 2005-06 TPRs: research links and
research training; student feedback on courses and programmes; and postgraduate
tutors and demonstrators. The themes of research links and research training are
important elements of the CHSS L&T Strategy (see below). CQAEC has addressed
student feedback in 3.5 above. School QAE reports identify some good practice in
relation to support and development for postgraduate tutors and demonstrators. For
example, SPS produces a Tutor‟s Manual, and provides induction and on-going
feedback and training. LLC and History and Classics also identify good practices.
[This section will be further clarified]

CQAEC considered the outcomes of the 2005-06 TPRs at its meeting on 6 March
2007. In line with the arrangements following the review of the TPR process, which
recommended that the College UG Studies Committee also consider TPR reports,
CUGSC will be considering the outcomes at its meeting on 26 April 2007.

Quinquennial Reviews

The CQAEC report on 2005-06 indicated that the College had not yet received formal
responses for the QQRs of Divinity (2004-05) and Law (2003-04). The Schools have
now submitted these reports.

The following Quinquennial Reviews of postgraduate programmes were held in 2005-

   Arts, Culture and Environment
   Management School and Economics

MSE has submitted a formal response to the QQR. ACE has not yet done so yet.

Professional and Statutory Body Reviews

The following external bodies accredited programmes in the College in 2005-06:

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       Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British
        Architects (RIBA) reviewed the MA (Hons) in Architectural Design and the
        Master of Architecture (Design).

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
2006-07 and later.

8. External Examiners

The procedures for dealing with undergraduate external examiners‟ reports are as

   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) 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. This report identifies themes and issues
    within the College which may require actions. The element of the report that
    identify themes and issues is attached as Appendix 3.
   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.
    These issues are covered in section 9 below.

In its report on 2004-05, CQAEC reported that it had not obtained reports from eight
external examiners. The College had liaised with the Schools of Law and Education
and ensured that they took all reasonable steps to obtain these reports, but the Schools
did not manage to obtain further reports. As a result, the College did not pay fees to
these external examiners [Further clarify this point]. The College has improved its
system for tracking receipt of QAE reports, particularly in relation to Education. The
College has managed to obtain almost all external examiner reports for 2005-06. In
2005-06 there were 140 External Examiners in the College at Undergraduate level
(excluding ECA) and we have obtained reports from all with the exception of two
external examiners in the School of Education. The School of Education does not
expect to obtain the report from one of these external examiners, due to the long-term
illness of the examiner. The School is however taking steps to obtain the other
external examiner‟s report, and the College is monitoring progress on this.

The College Postgraduate Office conducts an equivalent process for postgraduate
external examiners‟ reports. As part of this, this year it will for the first time produce
a report summarising themes in postgraduate external examiners‟ reports. It expects

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this report to be completed by March 2007 [If possible, this report will be attached as
an annex to this report].

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. The Associate Dean (QAE),
having reviewed the external examiner reports and eca responses for 2005-06, is
satisfied that eca‟s procedures and proposed actions are appropriate.

9. Issues identified from review of School QAE reports

9.1 Peer Observation of Teaching

CQAEC indicated last year that peer observation of teaching was taking place across
the College with varying degrees of effectiveness. CQAEC has encouraged Schools to
further develop the use of peer observation of teaching, and has also kept Schools
informed of progress on SQAEC‟s discussion of POT over the past year. Since last
year, three Schools (History and Classics, MSE, and PPLS) have taken steps to
increase POT activities. Two further Schools (SPS and Education) have plans to
increase POT activities, and OLL is also considering how best to respond to this
agenda within its particular context.

CQAEC is aware that some staff in Schools can have reservations regarding the
benefits of peer observation of teaching, particularly in relation to more experienced
staff. However, 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 will therefore continue to encourage
Schools to extend these practices. CQAEC will encourage Schools to implement
systems for POT which would involve 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. CQAEC will take into account any further
guidance from SQAEC on this matter.

9.2. Impact of AUT industrial action on assessment and exam board process

During 2006 the Association of University Teachers (AUT) called on its members to
take industrial action short of a strike, as part of a national dispute. All Schools refer
to the industrial action in their reports, though OLL and eca do not.

Most Schools report that the industrial action created challenges in terms of their
teaching and assessment. Whilst only a very small number of examinations were
cancelled, Schools reported difficulties relating to links with placement supervisors,
feedback to students on assessment, late submission of examination scripts to external
examiners, external examiners being unable to attend examination boards, and
difficulties with the completion of course monitoring forms. Whilst the vast majority
of external examiners did not comment on the impact of the industrial action, most of
those that did were positive regarding how Schools minimised the disruption on
students. Neither School QAE reports nor external examiner reports give any grounds

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to believe that the industrial action affected academic standards. In some cases the
combination of the introduction of the ECMS (see 9.3 below) and the industrial action
will have made it difficult for Schools to compare trends in grade profiles.

9.3 Introduction of Extended Common Marking Scheme

Most Schools comment on the introduction of the ECMS. From Schools‟ comments,
it appears that in general the ECMS has as yet only had limited effect on marking
habits, though practice is variable across the College. Whilst several Schools point to
some changes in patterns in marking in the B and A bands, in general there is little
evidence of increased use of the full 30 point range of the A grade. The College will
therefore continue to encourage Schools to further implement the ECMS, through
discussion in College Committees, and through encouraging Schools to take forward
discussion in their own forums. OLL (which had an exemption that allowed it to
introduce the Scheme one year later, in 2006-07) is to be commended for having
organised tutor development for the introduction of the scheme, and three Schools are
planning to proactively discuss the ECMS during the latter part of 2006-07, for
example through discussion at an away day (Classics). The University‟s plans to
standardise examination board practices should assist in implementing the ECMS
consistently across the College.

9.4 Impact of increases in student numbers

As was the case last year, almost half of Schools refer to the impact on staff workload
of increases in student numbers, largely in relation to increases in taught postgraduate
student numbers. It is clear that some Schools are beginning to develop strategies for
coping with the challenges involved in PGT expansion by introducing greater
efficiencies in teaching methods, for example by reviewing the viability of courses
with low student numbers, and developing cross-School courses.

9.5 Plagiarism

This issue is more pronounced in this year‟s report. It is clear that some Schools are
becoming increasingly proactive in detecting plagiarism (two Schools report that they
have started to use the Turnitin plagiarism detection software), raising student
awareness of University policy regarding academic misconduct, and developing
students‟ referencing skills. For example, MSE has run sessions for students on good
citation practice, in response to plagiarism cases. eca has introduced staff
development sessions on academic misconduct, and student workshops.

9.6 Library resources

As in the last two years, some Schools have reported concerns about the provision of
Library resources and the implications for teaching. These comments will be passed
on to the College Library Committee.

9.7 Teaching accommodation

Teaching accommodation continues to be a common issue in School reports. Half of
Schools raise concerns regarding difficulties with the operation of the central room

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booking services. In particular staff have experienced difficulties in booking rooms of
the appropriate capacity and with adequate equipment. Some Schools also report
frequent negative student feedback regarding the appropriateness and quality of
teaching accommodation. The College and individual Schools are working with the
University‟s Learning & Teaching Spaces Study Project to help the University
develop its long-term vision regarding its future learning, teaching and study spaces.
However, it appears from School QAE reports that many Schools are preoccupied by
practical issues regarding current demands on space, and the College recommends
that the relevant stakeholders (MALTS and Estates and Buildings) take steps to
address these practical issues.

9.8 English Language Skills

Last year one School raised concern at the poor English language abilities of a
number of postgraduate students whose first language is not English. Two different
Schools raised similar issues in their reports this year, and it is likely that other
Schools are facing similar issues. In response to these issues, on behalf of the College
the Institute for Applied Language Studies (IALS) has introduced for-credit courses in
Academic English for International Students with effect from 2007-08, to help raise
the participants‟ English language and study skills to enable them to participate fully
in undergraduate programmes. These courses will initially be compulsory for students
on the Japanese Exchange programme, and will be available for other students on
undergraduate exchange programmes. IALS has an established English Language
Testing and Tuition (ELTT) programme for postgraduate students, and Schools
should liaise with IALS regarding the needs of their PG students.

9.9 Provision of feedback to students

There has been ongoing discussion of the issue of feedback to students at the College
Undergraduate Studies Committee over the past year. In addition, CQAEC discussed
the issue at its meeting on 13 November 2006, in the context of the findings of the
National Student Survey. These extensive discussions have led to an increased
awareness within the College of the importance and benefits of providing student
feedback, particularly in relation to examinations. Whilst Schools have raised some
practical concerns regarding the provision of feedback (for example, logistical
difficulties in providing students access to examination scripts) they have also
suggested positive solutions such as providing group feedback through producing
model answers and electronic feedback.

In line with Academic Policy Committee‟s position, the College has encouraged
Schools to introduce a „staged approach‟ to feedback to students on level 7 and 8
examination performance. In addition, four Schools have agreed to participate in pilot
examination feedback activities. School QAE provide further evidence that Schools
are reflecting on these issues. For example, Education and MSE plan to formally
review their assessment feedback activity during 2006-07.

10. Enhancement and Good Practice

During 2005-06 the College continued to emphasise the importance of quality
enhancement as well as quality assurance. To assist it in promoting quality

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enhancement, in 2005-06 it created a new post of Associate Dean (Learning and
Teaching Innovation). The College‟s most significant quality enhancement activity
during 2005-06 was to develop a formal Learning and Teaching Strategy, which its
Planning and Resources Committee approved in December 2006. The College held an
event in March 2007 to formally launch the Strategy, and has now begun to
implement it (see Forward Look section). In addition, in 2005-06 the College
supported and facilitated enhancement activities in three areas:

   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. The College has achieved good progress in relation to
    Teachability in 2005-06. Prior to 2005-06, one School (Law) and a number of
    individual subject areas had completed Teachability reviews. In 2005-06 four
    further Schools (Health in Social Science, SPS, PPLS, and Divinity) completed
    reviews (though Divinity plans to do some additional work on its review). The
    majority of other Schools have indicated that they are making good progress with
    their reviews, and expect to complete them in 2006-07.

   Employability and Personal Development Planning. The College has explored
    practices across Schools in CHSS in relation to promoting employability through
    learning and teaching, and has identified examples of good practices, some of
    which it documented and circulated within the College. In December 2005 the
    College ran a workshop to highlight these good practices and to stimulate thinking
    in the College on the issue. 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. The College has established a steering group to coordinate its work on
    PDP. It anticipates that activities supported by the Scottish Funding Council‟s
    employability funding will assist it to take forward PDP, as well as employability
    in a wider sense.

   E-learning. During 2005-06 the College e-learning consultant continued to assist
    the College to enhance its use of e-learning. The consultant has focussed on
    assisting Schools and individual members of staff to develop projects and bids for
    funding. He has also taken the lead on developing a College e-learning Strategy,
    which is now in an advanced draft form. School QAE reports provide evidence of
    increasing use of WebCT and other forms of e-learning, including some very
    positive and innovative practices. It would however be helpful for Schools to
    provide some reflection on student and staff feedback on these developments, in
    order that the Committee can better understand how these are enhancing learning
    and teaching.

In addition, the College has identified and shared good practices on specific issues
such as assessment.

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

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   Introduction of an internship in the History of Art‟s Masters Programme, which
    has proved highly successful in recruiting students.

   Audio essays in Scottish Ethnology, which enable students to make use of the
    Scottish Studies sound archive resource and to develop new transferable skills in
    the field of editing, scripting and oral delivery.

   Innovative peer-assisted approaches to student learning support in the
    Management School and Economics, in particular the „Maths Base‟ for
    undergraduate Economics students, and the MSc Economics Help Desk.

12. A Forward Look

During the remainder of 2006-07, the College will focus its QE activities on
implementing its L&T Strategy. The Strategy identifies the following activities 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), ensuring that it is fit for purpose; agreeing with Schools
    how to measure the implementation of appraisal; and setting 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, that it is in line with relevant aims within the Strategy
    as well as with College‟s other priorities, such as research.

The College will also encourage Schools to implement the Strategy in ways most
compatible with their particular disciplines and contexts, and will ask Schools to
report on their progress in their annual QAE reports. It is clear from School QAE
reports on 2005-06 that some Schools are already reflecting on and addressing issues

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central to the Strategy, for example, issues of team teaching and teaching-research

The College has in 2006-07 continued to encourage and support Schools to complete
Teachability reviews, where they have not already done so. It will consider holding an
event later in 2006-07, or early in 2007-08, to highlight the findings from School
Teachability reviews. The College has continued to encourage Schools to engage with
the QAA Enhancement themes, particularly where the themes meet the specific needs
of the College and its Schools.

From Schools‟ QAE reports, and the reports of eca and OLL, it is clear that they plan
many positive developments, including:

   eca‟s plans to further develop its induction programme for External Examiners.

   Plans for Classics to introduce annual Teaching Away Days, the first of which
    will focus on implementing the Extended Common Marking Scheme.

   Divinity‟s plans to better support students with disabilities by piloting the
    recording of classes and placing lecture material on the web, once the relevant
    software is available.

The College plans to continue to work with OLL and eca to align their QAE
procedures with CHSS‟s requirements.

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Appendix 1   Remit and Membership of the Committee
Appendix 2   Review of School Quality Assurance and Enhancement Reports
Appendix 3   Associate Dean (QAE) report on Undergraduate External Examiners‟
Appendix 4   Formal response to Community Education Teaching Programme
Appendix 5   Formal response to English Literature Teaching Programme Review
Appendix 6   Formal response to Social Anthropology Teaching Programme Review
Appendix 7   Formal response to Sociology Teaching Programme Review

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Appendix 1

Remit and Membership of College Quality Assurance and Enhancement

Convener      - CHSS Associate Dean (QAE)
Secretary     - Senior Administrative Officer (Academic)

Membership - 10 School QA Directors; representatives from the Office of
             Lifelong Learning and eca; Associate Dean (Quality);
             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 Marcella Althaus-Reid (Divinity); Brian
                Martin (Education); Dr Graeme Smith (Health); Dr Trevor
                Griffiths (H&C); Dr Paul du Plessis (Law); Dr Bill Webster
                (LLC); Dr Tina Harrison (MSE); Dr Jeffrey Ketland (PPLS); Dr
                Luke March (SPS); Irene Bruce (ECA); Graham Venters (OLL);
                James Bourton (student rep); Guy Bromley (student rep); Dr
                Andrew Coulson (CSE); Professor Jake Ansell; Dr Chris Clark;
                Janet Rennie; Donald Rutherford; Stephen Tierney

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Appendix 2: Review of School QAE Reports

School: Arts, Culture and Environment


The School had a Quinquennial Review of Postgraduate provision in 2005-06. At the
time the report was written the School had not submitted a formal response.

Good Practice

   Interesting report, demonstrating a depth of reflection on the findings of the 2005-
    06 QAE process.
   Introduction of feedback sheets for History of Art students that had undertaken
    independent project work in 3rd and 4th years.
   Increased use of WebCT.
   Introduction of an internship in the History of Art‟s Masters Programme.
   Actively seeking the views of part-time tutorial staff as part of the process of
    evaluating pre-honours courses.
   Introduction of an ACE workload model that may generate more transparency
    regarding the allocation of teaching and other responsibilities.
   History of Art lunchtime meetings to assist students with writing skills and more
    general matters concerning dissertations, placements, and other forms of
    independent project work – this model may have wider applicability in the School
    and College.
   Positive outcome to professional body reviews of Architecture.

Areas for further consideration

   Further improve the presentation of statistics, in order to allow for easy reflection
    on trends and to present figures on A grade marks in line with the ECMS.
   Explore alternative approaches to managing QAE processes in the School,
    including considering the benefits of standardising approaches to subject level
    review, and reflecting on the appropriate School Committee arrangements.
   Continue to look at ways to enhance uptake of Peer Observation in Teaching,
    including introducing this practice in Music.
   Review assignment turnaround times in the School and seek ways to minimise
    delays in returning assessments to students.
   Consider the possibilities for inter-disciplinary teaching across the School.
   Determine optimum seminar group sizes for effective teaching and learning.
   Consider ways to use the Library reserve collection and WebCT to improve
    Teaching Support Materials.
   Review whether courses with low intakes represent an efficient use of teaching

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School: Divinity


The School had a Quinquennial Review of Postgraduate Provision in 2005-06. It has
submitted a formal response to this review.

Good Practice

   The further development of e-learning initiatives at all levels.
   Introduction of an IT skills course for first year undergraduate students.
   Positive response to issues of Teachability.
   Plans to pilot the recording of classes and placing lecture material on the web,
    once the relevant software is available.
   Development of more transparent moderating processes for team-taught courses at
    pre-honours level.
   Effective response to external examiners‟ reports.

Areas for further consideration

   Provide the full range of statistics in relation to course and degree outcomes, and
    provide more reflection on the statistics particularly in relation to courses with
    high proportions of marks in lower grades.
   Provide some reflection on student feedback on the School's innovative e-learning
    developments, in order that the Committee can better understand how these are
    enhancing learning and teaching.
   Continue to encourage staff to participate in Peer Observation of Teaching.

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School: Education


The School has not managed to obtain Course Monitoring Forms for all courses,
though it has provided an explanation for this.

All other elements of the checklist are ticked positively.

Good Practice

   Clear evidence that the School is reflecting on the findings of the annual QAE
    process, and that there is willingness among staff to make developments where
   Plans to carry out a School audit of mechanisms for providing feedback to
    students on assessment.
   Efforts to close the QAE reporting cycle earlier in the academic cycle.
   Introduction of monitoring of programme data, such as withdrawal rates, by
   Positive statements of external examiners regarding the student-centred nature of
    PG programmes and level of student support for PG students.
   Re-organisation of taught Masters programmes and development of new
    postgraduate programmes.
   Preparation of a discussion paper in order to stimulate discussion regarding ways
    to improve the marketing of the School‟s postgraduate programmes.
   Strong impression of dedicated staff.

Areas for further consideration

   Improve rates of submission of course monitoring forms.
   Report on plans to formally review the School‟s QAE procedures in summer
    2007, and as part of this develop a more systematic approach to QAE for
    postgraduate programmes.
   Clarify the role of the Director of QAE in the School, and how it relates to the
    main School Committees, in order that QAE is more explicitly taken into account
    within the School.
   Greater analysis of statistics, including reflecting in the QAE report on those
    programmes and courses which have significantly high failure rates.
   Consider whether a standard questionnaire for obtaining feedback on programmes
    might be beneficial.
   Clarify the position of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment for
    QAE purposes.
   Report back on what is being done to address the issue of dissertation supervisors
    and the student expectations of this relationship.
   Review and report on the appropriateness of criteria used to award Merits and
    Distinctions in PGDE Primary and Secondary programmes.
   Report back on how the School plans to enhance the student experience at PG

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   Continue to make progress on Teachability, in order that the review is completed
    in the current session.
   Report on how the School plans to manage and renew its staffing profile in order
    to maintain and enhance teaching quality, particularly in the context of projected
    retirements in the next few years.

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School: Health in Social Science


The School obtained all Course Monitoring Forms for Nursing and Counselling
Studies, but did not manage to obtain all CMFs for Clinical Psychology.

Good Practice

   Progress in developing a School-wide approach to QAE, including the
    establishment of a School QAE Committee.
   Collection of CMFs across all three subject areas (even though they did not obtain
    all for one of the subject areas), a significant development compared to the
    previous year.
   Completion of a Teachability review – it would be useful to report next year about
    progress on implementing the report.
   Positive responses to suggestions from external examiners.
   Staff Student Liaison Committees, which appear to be operating effectively as
    open forums, and also helping student develop valuable skills such as confidence
    and knowledge of responsible participation in evaluative exercises.

Areas for further consideration

   Present the full range of statistics in a standardised form as a consolidated annex
    at the end of the report.
   Build on progress by producing a QAE report that more fully integrates the
    activities of the three subject areas, as well as reporting for the first time on the
    Centre for International Public Health Policy
   Consider further ways to standardise QAE procedures across the School, where
    this is appropriate to the particularities and differences of each subject area.
   Seek to extend the use of Peer Observation of Teaching across all subject areas in
    the School.
   Monitor the rate of applications for the MSc/Dip in Nursing and pursue activities
    to increase recruitment rates.

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School: History and Classics


The School did not manage to obtain CMFs for all courses, though it did achieve a
higher proportion than the previous year in History, as a result of appointing a QAE
representative for this subject area. The School is still developing its CMF processes
for PGT courses.

Good Practice

   Provision of an admirably clear and wide-ranging report.
   The integration of QAE issues into the business of the School Undergraduate and
    Postgraduate Studies Committees.
   Generally increased use of WebCT as a teaching resource.
   Plans for Classics to enhance teaching review and mentoring for postgraduate
    tutors, and to inaugurate an annual Teaching Away Day.
   Recent actions to embed peer observation of teaching more securely.
   The positive attitude towards increasing taught Masters programme provision, and
    the awareness of the impact this might have on undergraduate teaching and staff
   Constructive and creative moves in the direction of a closer integration of the
    offerings of the different Histories, including the establishment of an Integration
    Working Group and the consideration given to generic school courses.
   The establishment of the postgraduate resource centre.
   Recognition of the potential synergies from the forthcoming integration of
    Archaeology into the school.

Areas for further consideration

   Reflect on the reasons for the low proportion of A grades in pre-Honours and
    some Honours History courses.
   Consider ways to encourage staff to use the full range of the Extended Common
    Marking Scheme.
   Consider reducing the use of double marking for examinations, and introducing
    alternatives (such as moderation) which would assist the School to use staff
    workload more efficiently.
   Develop more systematic quality monitoring procedures for PGT programmes.
   Build on the School‟s positive approach to Teachability, by completing the
    Teachability review in the current session.
   Consider bringing forward the deadlines for submission and review of CMFs, in
    order that outcomes can more quickly be taken into account.
   Consider the appropriateness of introducing a greater standardisation across the
    School in terms of the use of continuous assessment.

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School: Law


The School managed to obtain completed Course Monitoring Forms for all courses,
though it did not manage to complete course audit files in a small number of cases.

Good Practice

   Evidence of a robust and comprehensive approach to the auditing of compliance
    with QAE requirements.
   Systematic and thorough approach to the creation and maintenance of course audit
    files and to ensuring „audit continuity‟.
   Commitment to full engagement of students with monitoring and review and
    comprehensive provision for student representation at all levels of the School‟s
   Continued work on Teachability (the “teachability in permanence” project),
    including training updates for staff.
   Reported high level of reflection in the reports on the Commercial Law and
    Criminology courses.
   The reported innovations in a number of Honours courses, including innovations
    in seminar teaching such as the use of student presentations, small-group work,
    sample problems as well as the use of film and multimedia, institutional visits and
    guest speakers.
   The plan to encourage those internal examiners who do not already do so to
    provide brief model answers to examination questions to aid external examiners.
    These model answers may also assist in providing feedback to students.

Areas for further consideration

   Consider appropriate actions to enable the School to complete all course audit
    files next year. The School‟s intention to set a date before the end of the relevant
    academic session for completion of course audit files should help ensure this.
   Continue to explore new ways to manage student questionnaires in order to secure
    a higher return rate, and report on progress.
   Continue to encourage staff to use the full range of the Extended Common
    Marking Scheme, particularly in the light of the absence of any fails for Honours
   Consider how to more fully align the QAE procedures for the Legal Practice Unit
    with those for the rest of the School. Since the unitary nature of the Diploma in
    Legal Practice might indicate a programme-wide rather than course-specific
    approach, the School may wish to take into account future discussion at College
    level regarding the appropriate balance between course and programme
   Whilst CQAEC has noted the reservations in the School regarding peer
    observation of teaching, the School should seek to give positive messages to staff
    regarding the benefits of POT.
   Conclude and report on its review of supervision and assessment of the LLB

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School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

[Further clarification required for this section]


The School did not manage to obtain Course Monitoring Forms for a small number of
pre-Honours courses, though it did slightly improve its return rates compared to the
previous year. The School does provide an explanation for the missing forms.
However, the School should clarify its approach to course monitoring at Honours and
PGT level.

The School has submitted formal responses to the Teaching Programme Review that
took place in 2005-06 in English Literature. It has also since last year submitted
formal responses to the TPRs that were held in 2004-05: Asian Studies; European
Languages and Cultures (including Celtic); Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Good Practice

   Autonomous Learning Groups in English Literature.
   Increased use of WebCT in Scottish Ethnology.
   Audio essays in Scottish Ethnology, which enable students to make use of the
    Scottish Studies sound archive resource and to develop new transferable skills in
    the field of editing, scripting and oral delivery.
   Induction and mentoring arrangements for Teaching Assistants in English
   Thorough analysis of the findings of the National Student Survey, and the
    commitment to exploring efficient ways of providing feedback to students on
    assessment, which the NSS identified as an issue.

Areas for further consideration

   Provide greater depth of analysis and detail in the report.
   Provide more reflection on statistics in relation to course and degree outcomes.
   Review approach to course monitoring at honours and PGT level, in order that
    CMFs for all courses are appropriately reviewed at subject or School level.
   Consider appropriate actions to increase the proportion of completed CMFs
   Monitor at programme level on an annual basis.
   Seek to extend the use of Peer Observation of Teaching, for instance by utilising
    cross-School mechanisms to support the operation of POT in small subject areas.
   Seek new ways for synergy and connectivity across the School in terms of
    learning and teaching.
   Build on the School‟s work on Teachability by completing the audit during 2006-

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School: Management School and Economics


All ticked positively.

Good Practice

   A thorough and robust report that provided a full range of statistics and showed
    evidence of systematic reflection on them.
   The use of a formal Issues Management System to allow MBA students to log
    issues and to allow staff to record how they have responded.
   Innovative peer-assisted approaches to student learning support, in particular the
    „Maths Base‟ for undergraduate Economics students, and the creation of an MSc
    Economics Help Desk.
   Innovative strategies for addressing academic misconduct, through training for
    students and web-based plagiarism detection software.
   The award of the 2005 Scottish Financial Enterprise Innovators‟ Award to the
    MSc in Finance & Investment.
   Plans for the School‟s Assessment Working Party to review mechanisms for
    feedback to students on assessment.

Areas for further consideration

   Explore the reasons for low response rate to WebCT course questionnaires for
    postgraduate courses, seeking to learn from experiences of using WebCT for
    course questionnaires elsewhere in the School and College.
   Continue to review the achievement and failure rates for the Industrial
    Management, in order to evaluate the impact of the changes to this course.
   Continue to review whether higher entry requirements lead to improved
    achievement rates for the MSc in Economics and MSc in Economics (Finance).
   Review whether there are ways to provide greater emphasis on transferable skills
    within the MSc in International Business and Emerging Markets.

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School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences


The School has not yet produced a formal response to the TPR of English Language,
which was held in 2005-06.

Good Practice

   The School‟s procedures seem to be appropriate, comprehensive and effective,
    and the report is remarkably integrated given the diversity of the School.
   The introduction of a mechanism to give feedback to students on QAE procedures
    in the subject area of Linguistics and English Language, in order to enable
    students to see the results of responses to their course feedback and discussions at
    SSLC meetings.
   Introduction of course and programme monitoring for all PGT provision.
   Provision of the full range of statistics, and evidence of valuable reflection on
   Useful reflection on trends in student outcomes in Logic 1.

Areas for further consideration

   Continue to experiment with approaches to student questionnaire design and
    management, taking account of discussion at College level.
   Encourage staff to use the full range of the Extended Common Marking Scheme,
    particularly in the context of the low proportion of A grades in some Philosophy
    and Philosophy of Sciences courses.
   Review the pre-Honours provision in Linguistics and English Language in the
    light of comments from students regarding overlap between courses in these areas.
   Clarify the arrangements for QAE for the courses run by the Institute of Applied
    Language Studies.
   Provide a formal response to the English Language TPR.

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School: School of Social and Political Studies


All ticked positively.

Good Practice

   Increasingly widespread use of WebCT is now used “as standard across the
   Completion of a Teachability review.
   Support for postgraduate tutors, including production of a Tutor‟s Manual, the
    provision of induction, and on-going feedback and training.
   Proactive work on detecting plagiarism, through piloting the use of the web-based
    „Turnitin‟ software, which the School plans to roll-out more widely.
   The introduction of programme monitoring in Sociology.

Areas for further consideration

   Present statistics on PGT degree outcomes in a format that allows for easier
    analysis of trends across years.
   Monitor the operation of the use of WebCT, in the light of the concerns of some
    staff concern that it might lead to “spoon-feeding” of students. WebCT also
    provides a potential avenue for providing feedback to students.
   Report on progress on the School‟s plans to re-launch Peer Observation of
   Give further attention to the provision of feedback to students on assessment.

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Office of Lifelong Learning


OLL does not currently use Course Monitoring Forms, though it has other processes
in place for monitoring its Continuing Personal Education and Continuing
Professional Development provision. Not all courses have questionnaires every year.

Good Practice

   Clear evidence that OLL is seeking to embed QAE more firmly within its CPE
    provision, and to align with CHSS requirements where possible. This will
    continue to pose challenges for QAE personnel given the nature of its provision,
    and the diversity of student and staff engagement.
   Proactive approach to tutor development for the introduction of the Extended
    Common Marking Scheme, through running a seminar and providing guidance.
   Consideration of new ways to enable student feedback, such as the consideration
    of web-based electronic mechanisms for providing feedback on courses.
   Consideration of new ways to support student involvement in OLL QAE
   Further developments to the „Moving On‟ course, which seeks to enhance
    preparation for University study for students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Areas for further consideration

   Devise mechanisms for course tutors / organisers to annually feed back on their
    CPE courses, by developing an equivalent mechanism to CMFs.
   Continue to devise mechanisms for systematic student feedback on CPE courses,
    including annual student questionnaires.
   Continue to seek ways to better represent the student perspective within QAE
    procedures, in ways appropriate to OLL‟s context.
   Provide a full three-year set of data on course outcomes.
   Clarify what the appropriate arrangements should be for QAE monitoring and
    reporting of OLL‟s CPD provision.
   Establish a formal examination board and external examiner for the Scottish
    Tourists Guide Association programme, and clarify the examination board and
    external examiner arrangements for its for-credit course in Forensic Medicine.
   Complete the Teachability review by the end of 2006-07.

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Edinburgh College of Art


In many respects eca‟s quality reporting format is already aligned with CHSS‟s
quality assurance and enhancement reporting guidelines. The main area of current
divergence is that CHSS expects monitoring to occur at the level of the course as well
as the programme, whereas eca monitors solely at programme level (through its
Annual Programme Monitoring and Review, APMR, processes). The joint eca/
University Accreditation Committee has discussed the possibility that over time eca
will become more closely aligned with CHSS‟s requirements. In particular, eca could
plan to pilot monitoring at individual module / course level (whilst retaining
monitoring at programme level) within one School in 2007-08, with a view to
introducing this across all of ECA. The Accreditation Committee will discuss this at
its next meeting in June 2007. eca has signalled that it will confirm at that meeting
that monitoring down to module level is inappropriate for a non-modular studio based
structure. The present APMR takes consideration of all the levels of the programme
and incorporates feedback and comments from students, staff and external examiners.

Good Practice

   Evidence of well developed and developing teaching-related collaboration with
    the University and other institutions across Scotland.
   The introduction of an induction programme for External Examiners, and plans to
    further develop this in 2006-07.
   Development of a web based mechanism for the external examiner process
    including the submission of reports.
   Introduction of a QAE Handbook, and plans to further develop this.
   Ongoing involvement and support for student participation in quality.
   Progress in taking forward the recommendations / conditions from the
    Institutional Review of Academic Programmes on Sculpture and Drawing.
   Ongoing audit of student feedback mechanisms as part of the development of an
    eca Code of Assessment.
   Ongoing development workshops on plagiarism for staff and students.
   In the School of Design and Applied Arts, the development of transferable skills
    as part of the Professional Practice programme element.
   In the Centre for Visual and Cultural Studies, the development of staff research
    clusters based on teaching interests.

Areas for further consideration

   Report on progress on developing an eca Code of Assessment.
   Report on progress on redesigning programme with the objective of establishing a
    module / programme descriptor database.
   Provide statistics on grade profiles for UG and PGT programmes, and provide
    more reflection on the statistics.
   Review progress on developing and embedding an E-Learning environment,
    where appropriate, to benefit all learners (on and off campus), and report on the
    outcomes of this activity.

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   Review the high number of learning profiles across the institution especially those
    linked to dyslexia, and report on whether learning profiles are needed in all cases.

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Appendix 3: Associate Dean (QAE) report on Undergraduate External
Examiners’ Reports

1. Introduction


This report has been compiled by the Associate Dean (QAE) in CHSS and provides
an overview of the comments of External Examiners‟ in their submitted reports. It
seeks to identify areas noted for good practice that can be disseminated widely and to
highlight areas which may warrant attention. Schools will, of course, provide their
own responses directly to the External examiners in their area in order to respond to
any issues being raised. The Associate Dean (QAE) will also provide a further report
to each Head of School and to the Head of College, this report will serve to
summarise the points of action suggested in Externals‟ reports and identify points that
exemplify good practice.


There are 140 External Examiners across CHSS at Undergraduate level and all but 2
of their reports (both in Education) have been submitted, follow-up action has been
instigated in order to ensure that the missing reports are received if possible. In total
147 reports have been reviewed (a small number of External Examiners provide more
than one report).

2. Impact of AUT Action Short of a Strike

In quite a number of instances it is noted that External Examiners did not attend the
university during the course of the academic year with one External seemingly given
permission not to attend by „the department‟. In essence this is contrary to university
regulatory requirements that state quite clearly that attendance is a constituent part of
the contract, being necessary to ensure that the parties fulfil their obligations to the
full. It is clear that in many instances such absence was a direct consequence of the
„action‟ given that the External makes overt reference to this in their report. However,
in a number of other instances this has not warranted comment at all. The
circumstances of 2005-06 were clearly exceptional, however it is worthy of note that
External Examiners ought to be in attendance at the university during the course of an
academic year. The vast majority of Externals who comment upon the impact of the
AUT action provide reassurances regarding the outcomes.

“I was asked by a couple of Edinburgh students whether their degrees were worth less
because of the action…I would assure anyone who has concern that… this is
absolutely not the case.” (PPLS 1)

“The guidelines issued by the University…were faithfully applied and, in the event,
proved entirely appropriate…I…have full confidence that the standard of the degree
was not affected in any way.” [Which examiner was this?]

“ I was most impressed by the conscientiousness of the whole process at New College
under such unusual circumstances.” (D 2)

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“Ultimately, I feel that the assessment process was not compromised by the industrial
action due to the hard work of the assessment team.” (MSE 3)

In the main, where reference is made in Reports to AUT action, the view being
offered is that procedurally all that could be done to minimise negative impact upon
students was done and that the procedures enabled secure outcomes to be enacted.

In a very few instances some Externals did offer comment that the university handled
the action poorly ( H&C 1, 4, 5, 6 and 10) or that difficulties served as an impediment
to clear judgement.

“I was kept in the dark about the impact of strike action until the last minute. This was
not very helpful and resulted in me being unable to attend the rescheduled meeting.”
(Law 6)

“I received no information about …assessment procedures this year because of the
Union action.” (ED 5)

“I found it very difficult to make grade threshold decisions based on a grade rather
than on numeric scores.” (ED 9)

“…some of the marks entered, it became clear…had not been confirmed and/or were
unreliable…This is so far beyond acceptable I can hardly stress it enough.” (H&C 4)

3.   Overall Assessment of Degree Standards

External Examiners across the College provide encouraging comment on the quality
of teaching and provided learning opportunities evidenced in the work that they have
reviewed, and in a number of instances, the positive comments of students they have
engaged with. There are numerous examples of testimony to the fact that the level of
work seen is both appropriate and comparable (or better) than that to be found in
comparable institutions, as the following quotations suggest.

“In this my first year as external examiner …the…programmes…delivered by the
University of Edinburgh achieve the highest international standards of quality.”
(PPLS 2) “The standards…are fully comparable with those of other institutions of
higher education…and the range covered is greater and results achieved often more
impressive tha in most.” (D 4) “…equivalent to or better than comparable
institutions.” (MSE 1) “In my experience…as a head teacher…the quality and
standards of the Edinburgh PGDE course are clearly superior.” (ED 29) “I have no
doubt that the Department meets (and exceeds) the nationally established criteria.”
(H&C 18) “The single subject and combined honours courses meet their aims fully
and students experience a varied and stimulating range of teaching in the discipline.”
(ACE 11) “The high standards of the Department and wide range of its interests must
make it one of the very best places to study…in Great Britain.” (ACE12) “The pre-
honours programme is well established and comparable with other…courses in
Scotland. Indeed it is arguably the leader in terms of the coherence and depth of each
course, the diversity of material and quality of student work.” (SPS 7) “The
Edinburgh … course compares very well with the 2 other programmes I know,

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Oxford and Cambridge.” (LLC 1), this view is echoed almost precisely by another
External (LLC 16), whilst “…degrees …at Edinburgh aim high and produce excellent
results, fully comparable with top-end HEIs in the UK.” (LLC 10)

4. Assessment Procedures and Practices

4.1 Weighting of Units of Assessment

Concerns expressed in this area previously appear not to be exercising the minds of
Externals possibly due to action taken; “…concerns about the weight attached to
coursework essays as opposed to examinations…were allayed…by the department
putting in place mechanisms…” [Which examiner was this?] to allow Externals to
gain access to scripts on request.

4.2 Assessment Criteria

Here again there seemed to be little cause for concern being expressed by Externals.

“I still think that the marking criteria do not always reflect the demands of the
assignment: care needs to be taken to ensure that the criteria are flexible and
change…need to be weighted…and this needs to be clear on the mark sheet.” (ED 10)

4.3 Mark Descriptors

“Marking criteria were clear, appropriate…and applied consistently by markers.”
(HSS 1) “Marking criteria were excellent…” (OLL 3) “The marking criteria were full
and clear.” (D 4; MSE 7) “The marking criteria were entirely appropriate to the aims
and intended learning outcomes of the course, and were well applied by the markers.”
(ED18) “All staff worked to common assessment sheets which listed appropriate
criteria. There was considerable consistency in the marking and evidence that staff
were discussing the process and engaging in internal moderations.” (ED 26) “The
criteria employed in assessing oral presentations are quite penetrative and
comprehensive.” (LLC 6 and 8)

4.4 Extended Common Marking Scheme (ECMS)

A number of Externals make reference to the disparity in banding across the ECSM
and advocate (ACE 7, 8 and LLC 8) for grade band widths of equal distribution rather
than 30:10:10:10 etc.

“Marks in the area of 90 were given and fully deserved.” (PPLS 1)

“The introduction of the ECMS has had two beneficial effects: (1) …markers more
willing to give marks in the high 70s and the 80s…(2) …greater consistency…in the
award of D and E marks…” (PPLS 7)

“It was good to see attempts to use the full range of marks, particularly in the First
Class division,” (D 4) “I was…pleased to see that there were more marks being
awarded across the entire scale with strong work being graded at over 90%.” (ED 1)

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“There has, this year, been a big improvement in the range of marks applied by
markers.” (ED 4)

“I commend the Extended Common Marking Scale (ECMS) and was pleased that it
seemed to be being effectively used…” (H&C 1) this view is echoed by another
External (ACE 2) who noted, “There was evidence of this in the recorded marks, with
some marks in the 90s for excellent work.” “I was pleased to note that internal
markers are now using the high First range.” (LLC 11)

Not all Externals were as positive with (H&C 4 and LLC 17) noting that the issue
ought to be one of encouraging markers to mark above 70 and below 40 rather than
using the ECMS as a vehicle for this, and wondering whether statistical recalibration
might not generate a suitable outcome. A question regarding the consistency of
application of the ECMS was raised by another examiner (H&C 5), whilst another
(H&C 8, [also SPS 12]) noted that, “…there was still some reluctance by the majority
of staff to use the full range.”

 “In a small number of essays…the marking criteria appeared to have been applied in
a different way and high marks (into the 80‟s) were awarded.” (H&C 11) An external
(LLC 23) questions the wisdom of having a „high first‟ at 85 or even of having one at
all, suggesting that Edinburgh‟s unilateral decision serves to confuse rather than
enlighten. They “…deplore any movement in this direction.”

4.5 Double Marking/Moderation

“All scripts came…double marked, with helpful comments, and the internal marks
were normally agreed.” (PPLS 1) “I note that a process of second marking exists and
is being carried out in a relevant manner.” (MSE 1) “I was pleased to see evidence of
moderation of scripts by second markers.” (MSE 3) “The procedures applied for
second marking and moderation were impressive…” (ED 1) “I have been impressed
by the development of very careful and robust moderation procedures within these
three courses…” (ED 10) “I commend the staff team on the efforts made through staff
development seminars to ensure common understandings of the assignments and
indeed the expectations placed on them regarding their marking consistency.” (ED 30)

Such procedures were not evident everywhere, however. “Scripts are not double-
marked…marking is not monitored internally either…” (PPLS 3) “I would
recommend a more rigorous system of internal moderation to ensure a greater
consistency in application of marking criteria.” (H&C 15) “All the exam answers that
I saw were marked only by a single internal marker, without internal moderation.”
(ACE 6 also noted by ACE 8) The same External refers to Section 7.1 of the
Undergraduate Assessment regulations to reinforce the potential difficulties where
one member of staff designs, delivers and assesses a course with no second
marker/moderator involved.

“In those courses where assessment is carried out by a relatively wide group of
markers …some investment in shared understanding of quality thresholds would
further strengthen consistency of outcomes.” (SPS 14) This consideration can also be
applied where a large number of part-time tutors are marking. (LLC 18)

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4.6 Plagiarism

“My comments in relation to the way in which students use and reference others‟
work…- traditional plagiarism - …have been taken on board, with a noticeable
reduction in incidence…” (HSS 2)

One External noted “…the increased potential afforded by ICT itself for plagiarism.
Progressively more sophisticated software for its detection is being
developed…[this]… should remain at the forefront of discussion…” (ED 13)

“Staff were interested in developing use of „turnitin‟ plagiarism detection service,
especially in a role as a deterrent to students. I recommend they be given IT support to
do this.” (ED 21)

4.7 Variety in Assessment

Many reports allude to the existence of variety in assessment in many courses, as the
comments below suggest.
“ In the Honours years, there is a mix of assessment types: some courses are assessed
 by closed examination, others by class assignments, others by a mixture of the two.”
 (PPLS 1)

“The range and types of assessment were suitably wide and comprehensive…The mix
 and weightings of the various types seemed about right.” (D 4) “…a good mix of
 assessment…” (MSE 1) “There is a very good range of assessment methods
 employed. Some assessments were innovative and challenging.” (MSE 2)

4.8 Anonymity

One External “…was pleased to note that anonymity is now observed in the
…Board.” (PPLS 3), whilst another asks; “What is the point of examination
numbers? Why not just use matriculation numbers on exam scripts? (H&C 13)

4.9 Feedback Comment for Externals and Students

“Feedback is constructive and helpful, aiming to identify problems (eg poor
 referencing, lack of evidence of critical thinking) early and promote their correction.”
 (HSS 1) The tutor sheets are a most useful way to ensure both quantitative and
 qualitative responses to student work.” (OLL 3) “The work had been marked
 thoroughly with extensive annotation to provide good feedback for students.” (ED

“A general comment to all would be to give full feedback on exam scripts…” (OLL
 2) “The feedback on essays was invariably constructive and admirably full. In
 contrast, I sometimes felt that remarks on exam scripts were so laconic as to be of
 little help to me as an external marker…” (H&C 6)

“I found the comments by internal markers to be very helpful in guiding my
 decisions.” (SPS 5)

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5. Role of External Examiners

“…it is not the job of an external examiner to resolve such minor discrepancies
[between internal markers]…” (H&C 15) A request for further clarification of the role
of externals in light of changes to degree classification is made with the statement;
“The university‟s thinking on the revised role for its Externals was nowhere
apparent.” (H&C 16)
In one area the External expresses disquiet regarding non-involvement; “The class
examinations, coursework and oral examinations…were conducted and assessed
without any reference to me.” (LLC 25)

6. Changes in Academic Structure and Practice

Little mention is made in reports regarding the structural changes undertaken, this
suggests that in most aspects these changes have bedded in and are seen to be less
“A difficult transition period during the change-over to semesterization has been
handled thoughtfully and carefully by the department.” (PPLS 10)

6.1 Final Degree Classification

“I continue to believe…that the department should explore ways to enable first class
students to really show their abilities relative to their very, but not so, able peers.”
(PPLS 9)

“I am glad to see that the former (extremely baroque) marking scheme, in which
marks from lower classes were „traded‟ against marks from higher classes, is now
being abandoned in favour of a simpler and clearer marking scheme. I approve of the
change to the median system…” (PPLS 10)

 “…it will be imperative to mark using the upper end of the scale or there will be very
few First Class degrees awarded.” (H&C 8)

There are a number of robust observations made by Externals regarding this issue
which are located in Section 10.

6.2 Special Circumstances

It was noted by one External (PPLS 3) that marks were being adjusted at the
Examination Board in respect of medical Special Circumstances rather than being
dealt with prior to the Board with recommendations to the Board already tabled.
Another External (H&C 2) is concerned at the „avoidance of resits…as a resolution of
special circumstances cases‟, whilst (H&C 3) “…was astonished to learn of the lack
of an August re-sit diet at Honours level…for genuine medical or other special
circumstances.” Concern noted by a number of H&C Examiners of the over-use of SC
by students.

In general though Externals tended to comment positively on the operation of, and
decisions made, in relation to special circumstances. “I attended the Special
Circumstances meeting and am pleased to report that was conducted with the

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customary efficiency.” (D 3) “I was impressed by the Chairs‟ handling of a „special
circumstances‟ case…as well as the decisions taken to deal with those students
affected by staff on industrial action.” (ED 8)

6.3 Learning Profile

One External Examiner (SPS 9) comments upon the application of a Learning Profile
to a student and the expectation that academic staff marking that students work are
expected to „make allowances‟ within the marking process. The External is of the
view that the „level playing field‟ ought to be in place prior to the student submitting
the work with implications for more pro-activity by the Disability Office in this

7. Administrative Issues

7.1 Examination Timetabling

“…if a problem arose over marking, it might simply not be possible to deal with it
adequately in time, and the college should allow more time. (PPLS 1)

“Time available for scrutinizing pre-Honours scripts is impossibly short.” (PPLS 4)

7.2 Information for External Examiners

“…it would have been good to be able to comment on essay titles before the
submission of coursework.” (PPLS 2)

“Externals are not routinely sent course handbooks and lists of aims and objectives.”
(PPLS 3)

“I did not receive any of the markers‟ comments explaining how they arrived at their
marks. I cannot comment on methods for course monitoring as I don‟t know what
they are.” (PPLS 5)

”I would recommend that procedures be put in place to ensure that internal examiners
have reached agreement on the content of draft papers before they are despatched to
external examiners for comment.” (Law 2)

“ I have yet to receive feedback on my report for the year 2004-05.” (ED 29)

7.3 Student Absenteeism

“…the extremely high degree of administrative accuracy that is now demanded in
order to ensure that the draconian penalty of failing students who do not attend a
given number of tutorials is applied correctly..” (MSE 6)

“…there should be minimum requirements for credit (including attending seminars
and handing work in by deadlines) and unless a student meets these they be refused
credit and not permitted to take the resit. (This is the practice at Glasgow). (H&C13)

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8. External Examiner Reporting

Across the range of External examiners Reports there are examples which contain
hardly any comments at all. Whilst the use of tick boxes on the reporting form is
indicative External Examiners detailed comments provide a very useful basis for
discussion and response with some indicating helpful and reflective ways in which
enhancement might be enacted. This phenomena of limited feedback from Externals
appears to be more marked within some schools than others and raises questions
regarding the extent to which Examiners accept a role as having a developmental
rather than purely confirmatory function.

9. Useful Feedback from External Examiners

“I also think that a meeting with module leaders and markers ahead of the main
meeting would be valuable.” (PPLS 5)

„The Group Project [in Psychology] allows students to develop (and be assessed on)
transferable skills.” (PPLS 8)

“At the start of the academic year it would be useful to see one revised list of the
courses to be examined. (MSE 4)

“ I only wish Examiners‟ Boards were as efficient in my own institution.” (MSE 6)

“Most courses had elaborated on the general criteria and staff provided useful
descriptions about their expectation of students through the use of outline model
answers. This is excellent practice.” (ED 19)

“The Department…should maintain its mentoring activities for new staff at a high
level.” (MSE 8)

“…there remains an issue of quality assurance of the assessment of the placement
element of the course [Education 1 and 2].” (ED 1)

“I felt that the use of an external convenor for the mathematics board was very helpful
both in the operation of the Board and in supporting consistency across individual
boards.” and “…issues emanating from examiners‟ reports are taken seriously and
acted upon.” (ED 5)

“It may be helpful…to place a greater emphasis on study and research skills…”

“There were opportunities for students to develop a range of transferable skills,
including writing and presentation skills, group work, problem solving and
networking.” (ED 26)

“Perhaps the course team might consider how they could develop the assessment
procedures used within the oral presentation to incorporate more peer feedback and
analytical reflection.” (ED 30)

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10. College or University Issues

A number of comments from Externals are directed at college or the university. These
are represented in the quotes offered below;

“…the transition next year from a profile-based system to an averaging system.”
(PPLS 3) is seen to have implications for 2005-06 if markers do not appreciate the
consequences. “I welcome the revisions being made to the procedures used in the
Honours Board to arrive at degree classifications…” (ED 5)

„I would suggest that the University consider whether its language entrance
requirements are stringent enough.” (PPLS 5)

“Is it possible to get an electronic External Examiner Report form?” (ED15) An
External (LLC10) intimates non-receipt of the updated Assessment Regulations from
the university.

“The new college regulations on dealing with borderzones were not well understood
by the board. Having seen briefly the „orange paper‟ I am not surprised since the
language is tortuous.” (ED 19)

“There is a lack of clarity in the wording of the regulation pertaining to the
opportunity to resit failed courses in years 3 and 4…They should be permitted to resit
one fail in 3rd year and one fail in 4th year.” also “A D grade in one element of the
course disqualifies access to high grade classifications. This is a very punitive
regulation in a vocational degree with many elements.” (ED 25)

The issue of mean mark towards classification is raised as problematic particularly in
the light of ever tighter marking timetables, “That the system will crash in the near
future seems pretty well certain.” (H&C 10) whilst another External (ACE7) suggests,
“…that the university seriously consider relaxing the final assessment timetable by
about 1 week.”

Similar and lengthy statements are offered (H&C 15, 16 and 17) regarding both mean
mark and the university marking scale coupled with a request for more detailed
information to Externals regarding its implementation.

Given the tight marking schedule in the summer one external questions why the
university loses two days in May to holidays (H&C 16), this same External, in
referring to various university reorganisations, suggests that the academic and
intellectual needs of History have been marginalised.

One external (ACE9) refers to the possibility of transfer error where Chairs of Boards
hand write outcomes onto a mark sheet with an expectation that externals wait until
the process is complete to sign these off. This is considered to be wasteful of time and
potentially prone to error, asking why the marks cannot be provided centrally by
computer and tabulated.

Alan Ducklin
Associate Dean QAE, CHSS

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Appendix 4: Formal response to Community Education Teaching Programme

The University of Edinburgh
Moray House School of Education

Response to TPR for Community Education Programmes

We welcome the report and its positive tone. We are pleased to have the quality of the
programmes and the work of the CE Programme Team recognised in the report and in
particular in the 29 commendations. We welcome the recommendations and the
thought that has gone into the development of these. Our response to specific
recommendations addressed to us follows:

7.31 The reviewers recommend that Community Education give some
consideration to the timing and monitoring of the distributed placement in Year
2 of the undergraduate programme and the current postgraduate placement in
semester one.

The postgraduate placement in semester one has been discontinued in the new
MSc/PGDCE programme.

The timing and monitoring of the year 2 practice component is under review by a
placement sub-group. An extra tutor has been assigned to this component. We will
report back in due course to the School‟s Undergraduate Studies Committee on the
impact of this and on any further required changes.

7.32 The review team recommends that guided ‘lab’ induction sessions be
introduced for the Mac computers and the First Class Package.

Such sessions will be provided at the commencement of each academic year, initially
by the Division but with a view to these being developed and delivered in the longer
term by EUCS.

7.33 The review team recommends that Community Education explore ways to
ensure that their students have (and make use of) a better choice of outside
courses than is currently the case.

Discussion took place at the annual residential planning meeting in June and this will
be taken forward at subsequent staff meetings. The possibility of drawing on
expertise across the University in relation to core courses was also discussed, and this
will also form part of ongoing discussions.

7.34 The reviewers recommend that more information will be provided for
students, prior to entry, on IT provision and the extent to which it is used by
Community Education.

A briefing and advice note will be prepared and sent to entrants to the programme a
few weeks prior to commencement.

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7.35 The reviewers recommend that School reflects upon the level of basic IT
induction offered to students based at Moray House in general.

All new undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in induction
sessions run by the Senior Computing Officer. These focus on the use of the First
Class email system, including the Helpdesk and other self-help resources, and how to
access on-line records and other relevant university information via the MyEd portal.
Each session is tailored to the likely needs of students on particular degree
Incoming students have a wide variety of IT experience and the considerable number
who have a high level of proficiency are encouraged to share their expertise. This is
often a particularly productive and non-threatening strategy with those who are less
confident, including many of those entering the undergraduate programme in
Community Education.

7.36 The review team recommends that community Education move to WebCT
for provision of teaching and learning as this will soon be the norm across the

Some courses have already adopted this and it will be the focus of on-going
discussion across the programmes. However, as First Class remains the intranet
platform for the School, it will continue to be used for email communication and
distribution of course materials etc for the foreseeable future.

7.37 The review team recommends that the issue of staff succession be explored
at division and school level.

The School has a procedure for staff succession at head of division/department level,
which relies on expressions of interest, discussion with the Head of School, and
'soundings' being taken from the division. A similar procedure exists for programme
co-ordinators. The School is currently developing a systematic approach to the issue
of succession planning at all levels of academic staffing.

7.38 The team recommends that the Division and School explore the opportunity
to make proleptic appointments…

We welcome this suggestion and will pursue it with the School and College. The
School has instigated a 'new blood' scheme and a small number of proleptic
appointments should be possible.

7.39 The review team recommends that staff within Community Education
should improve the ‘marketing’ of the Honours route by setting out the clear
intellectual benefits of this year.

Greater prominence will be given to the Honours route in all publicity and in
recruitment process. The programme will be presented as a four year one, with an
exit point at the end of three years – a change of emphasis from the past. Students
will be approached in second year about the honours route, rather than in third year as
is currently the case. This is intended to give the message that fourth year study is an

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7.40 The reviewers recommend that Community Education consider
introducing a delayed and/or part-time Honours years or perhaps a
postgraduate Masters course as a ‘surrogate’ Honours year to which students
who have left after three years may return.

We would be positive about such a development and will review it in light of
resource/staffing implications at a future date.

7.41 The team recommend that CE develop the MSc imaginatively to
maximise the number of students willing and able to complete the final
dissertation phase of the MSc.

We have attempted to do so and the early signs are that many/most of the new cohort
due to start in September will be so willing and able. Critical to this will be the
continuation of SAAS funding of 20 places through the PG Awards Scheme.

7.45 The review team recommends that the link between the external examiners
and placement supervisors is retained.

The team is committed to retaining an active link with placement supervisors and to
its further development. This was interrupted in the current year due to the impact of
the AUT industrial action on assessment.

Recommendations 7.42, 7.43, 7.44 are addressed to others. We await with interest
the response to these Recommendations, viz

7.42   The reviewers recommend that the collegiality and teamwork culture within
       Community Education is encouraged and fostered across the University. The
       reviewers recommend that the Director of Quality Enhancement promotes
       this type of teamwork through the Senatus Quality Assurance and
       Enhancement Committee (SQAEC). [5.1]

7.43   The reviewers recommend that the Director of Quality Enhancement
       investigate ways in which to promote similar schemes, where field
       professionals assist with the delivery of courses, in other relevant areas of the
       University. [5.2]

7.44   Study support is embedded in the behaviour of the staff and in the ethos of
       Community Education. The review team recommends that the Vice-Principal
       (Learning and Teaching) in liaison with Centre for Teaching, Learning and
       Assessment (TLA) develop this „local support‟ model for adoption across the
       University. [5.3]

Brian Martin
HoD, Higher & Community Education
July 2006

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Appendix 5       Formal response to English Literature Teaching Programme

School response to Teaching Programme Review of English Literature

Responses to Recommendations

7.13 The Review Team strongly recommends that the subject area reconsiders the
present dissertation structure in the context of common practice for undergraduate
dissertations within the University of Edinburgh and English Literature programmes
in comparable institutions. [Paragraph 4.7]
(English Literature subject area)

Dissertation provision has been re-examined as part of the subject area‟s ongoing
discussions of teaching and assessment. As the report acknowledges [section 4.4], the
full run of the two-part dissertation had not taken place by the time of the team‟s visit.
Since then, the first cohort of students has completed the dissertation and on the basis
of their broadly improved results,1 some very affirmative comments by external
examiners2 and positive informal feedback from both students and staff about the first
full cycle of dissertation work, the subject area has decided to retain the current two-
year structure for at least one more cycle. We will, however, keep this under review.

In response to other recommendations made about the dissertation in paragraphs 4.6
and 4.7, the subject area has from session 2006-07 introduced a more formal advisory
structure with students for both Part 1 and Part 2 being allocated to named advisors
who will meet with them regularly throughout the year and provide technical
assistance with their projects. Since the word-length for Dissertation Part 2 cannot be
changed mid-cycle it will remain at 6,000 words until a further cohort can be
assessed, although this also will be kept under review.

7.14 The Review Team gained the impression that there may be some duplication of
teaching in relation to the first part of the dissertation in year 3 and the 3rd year
Critical Practice: Presentation course and recommends that the subject area reviews
this. [Paragraph 4.8]
(English Literature subject area)

  Old curriculum Long Essay 2005: 89 candidates
First class: 24
Upper Second: 44
Lower Second: 21

New 2-part Dissertation 2005-6:
Pt 1 (105 candidates)                    Pt 2 (103 candidates)
First Class: 30                          32
Upper Second: 57                         63
Lower Second: 18                         8
  External Examiner comments: „Two-part dissertation has proved a very successful innovation in
recent years.‟ „Innovative, and integrative of formative and summative assessment in an imaginative
way.‟ „Envious‟ of two-part dissertation.

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Since the review, „Critical Practice: Presentation‟ has been redesigned as „Critical
Practice: Research Methods for Honours‟, which focuses more widely on the research
and presentation skills necessary for the successful completion of all honours work.
Having introduced a formal advisory structure [see response to 7.13 above], some of
the onus on this course to prepare students for Dissertation Part One has been
removed. The effect of this has been to maintain the development of key skills
suitable for dissertation work while de-coupling the teaching and assessment from the
practical completion of Dissertation Part One.

7.15 The Review Team recommends that the School gives consideration to a revision
of historic nature of the current budgetary allocation in order to ensure that the
subject area be provided with a budget which accurately reflects the number of
students it supports. [Paragraph 4.10]
(School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures)

Response from the Head of School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
Discussions about resource allocations are always under consideration. Although
English Literature is working under extreme pressure, there is no scope for shifting
resource from one part of the school to another in the short term. LLC is currently in
structural deficit and cannot shift resource without declaring redundancies, which is
beyond our power. However, we are aiming to control budget deficits over the next 2
to 3 years to make sure that structural budget rebalancing can take place without
affecting the range and depth of areas of study we support.

Although English Literature is one of the two net contributors to the School budget,
(those that generate a surplus) we feel we cannot push the logic of the financial
argument to the point where other departments would have to lose staff.

7.16 The Review team recommends that the College Office, School and subject area
review the teaching and resource load in relation to visiting undergraduate students.
[Paragraph 4.11]
(College of Humanities & Social Sciences, School of Literatures, Languages and
English Literature subject area)

[College and School responses awaited]

Response from English Literature
English Literature has been in discussion with the Visiting Students administration
and has reached some agreement about the numbers of places that can be offered in
honours courses and the mechanics of assigning them to places. Although the
diversity and engagement brought by many Visiting Students is very welcome, there
can be difficulties, both pedagogic and administrative, in incorporating large numbers
of students who are taking only a few separate courses into what has been designed as
an integrated curriculum.

7.17 The Team notes the considerable workload already borne by clerical staff and
therefore recommends that the School reconsiders the administrative load of the

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teaching staff within the English Literature Subject Area and give consideration to
developing an administrative capability (perhaps in conjunction with the budget-
related recommendation in 4.10 above) in order to enable academic colleagues to
focus more time on teaching and other duties. [Paragraph 4.12]
(School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures)

English Literature is aware of the significant pressure on the administrative staff and
welcomes the report‟s recognition of this situation. Further resource, re-organisation
or reward for existing staff seems essential.

Response from the Head of School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
See response to point 7.15 above.

7.18 The Review Team recommends that the subject area consult the University’s
Retention Guidelines, available in the annually published Assessment Regulations to
ensure it is not retaining more data than required. [Paragraph 4.14]
(English Literature subject area)

The assessed material referred to in the Assessment Regulations is not a major
difficulty since the timetable for retention is relatively short. Student files, however,
need to be preserved for a minimum of 10 years if staff are to be able fulfil their
responsibilities in writing references etc.

7.19 The Team was very impressed with the varied assessment techniques used,
particularly within the Critical Practice courses, and recommends that the subject
area continues to explore different assessment alternatives. [Paragraph 4.15]
(English Literature subject area)

Forms of assessment are continually reviewed at Departmental Meetings, at meetings
of the Course Management Group, and particularly at the annual Teaching Review
Meeting held at the beginning of each academic year. The subject area is open to
innovations in assessment and always willing to explore new ideas. Following
discussion at this session‟s Teaching Review Meeting, it was agreed to explore further
the use of WebCT facilities for assessment tasks. (See 7.22 and 7.33 below.)

7.20 The Team was concerned that the subject area was still awaiting final guidance
from the University, regarding the introduction of the mean mark scheme and noted
that accurate marks could not be passed to 3rd or 4th year students until further
guidance had been received from the College Office and therefore recommends that
such guidance be provided at the earliest opportunity. [Paragraph 4.16]
(College of Humanities & Social Sciences)

[College response awaited]

7.21 In relation to a late amendment to the procedures surrounding the reporting of
student special circumstances towards the end of session 2004-05, the Review Team

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recommends that in future the University seeks to avoid such procedural changes
mid-year. [Paragraph 4.17]
(Academic Affairs, University of Edinburgh)

Response from Academic Affairs
Although the University tries to ensure that changes to regulations and procedures are
not made mid-cycle, the complex nature of the University, and the issues which arise,
will occasionally mean that changes will need to be implemented outwith the normal
approval cycle. In such circumstances Academic Affairs will always attempt to ensure
that appropriate advice and guidance is made available to those staff and students for
whom such changes may have implications.

7.22 The Team recommends that the Subject Area reviews the operation of the
autonomous learning groups, in the context of best practice approaches to such issues
used within the Problem Based Learning, or Visual Learning Environment (VLE)
communities. [Paragraph 6.7]
(English Literature subject area)

The subject area is very pleased that the review team recognises the value of the
autonomous learning groups [Recommendation 7.12]. Operation of autonomous
learning groups is continually under review by the subject area. For a particular
example of developments in this respect, see 7.23 below.

7.23 The Team recommends that the Subject Area explore the possibility of utilising a
VLE to deliver the autonomous learning groups in order reduce the administrative
burden on staff and provide an archive of material. [Paragraph 6.7]
(English Literature subject area)

The subject area is in the process of developing VLEs for undergraduate courses using
the WebCT system. Following demonstrations and assessment in the summer, all
honours courses are from 2006-07 administratively run through WebCT, which now
handles the organisation of seminars, the running and communication of autonomous
learning groups and the submission of essays. Members of staff are working
individually on the various further pedagogic uses of the VLE.

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7.24 The Team recommends that the autonomous learning groups be more widely
promoted throughout the University and within the UK subject community, as this
style of self-administered tutoring should be seen as an example of good practice.
(English Literature subject area)

Various presentations on autonomous learning groups have been made in recent years
at TLA events, and the system is promoted through the annual QA system. It may be
that the Institutional Review may prove another forum for this.

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Appendix 6     Formal response to Social Anthropology Teaching Programme

Social Anthropology staff were extremely pleased to read the many commendations
contained in the Teaching Programme Review, and with the generally positive and
constructive tone of the report and its recommendations. The following response
follows the numbering of the recommendations contained in the final section of the

7.17   The review team recommends that consideration be given to the introduction
    of an additional year 2 semester 2 course to be led by Social Anthropology. This
    course should be designed to have broad appeal to a wide range of students from
    across and outwith the School. In seeking to make an appropriate place for this
    course within the timetable, consideration might be given to running the year 2
    School-wide core courses in separate semesters. (3.3)

Social Anthropology staff are currently developing a proposal to put to the School for
a semester 2 course in Social Anthropology that would be open to second year
undergraduates in the School. This proposal was initially discussed at a meeting of the
UG Teaching Committee in Social Anthropology on 25th October 2006. Student reps
were clear in their view that they welcome this development provided it does not
restrict their choice of courses in 2nd year. They therefore strongly favoured making
one of the two compulsory School courses optional for 2nd year Social Anthropology
students, at the same time as introducing a new Social Anthropology 2B course in
semester 2.

7.18   The review team further recommends that the School has a coordinated
    investigation of the effectiveness of the year 2 compulsory courses. This should
    extend beyond the basic analysis of student questionnaires and should seek the
    views of staff, tutors and students and examine the impact of the courses on
    individual programmes throughout the School. (3.4)

This is a matter for the School to take up, but Social Anthropology would support
such an investigation.

7.19  The review team recommended that the Space Project and anthropological
    methodologies be included in the recommended new year 2 course. (3.5)

This recommendation falls within the remit of the proposal currently being developed
(see 7.17). A preliminary draft of a course proposal for Social Anthropology 2B is
attached with this response.

7.20   The review team recommends that the subject group consider whether Social
    Anthropology 1(b) provides too much specialisation too soon in the curriculum
    before students have a clear idea about the fundamentals of the discipline. (3.6)

The content of this course was partly an artefact of the availability of staff in 2005-6.
This year the course has a different content, which is less specialised and may be
more appropriate to the level of the course.

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7.21   The reviewers recommend the introduction of an additional seminar as part of
    the Imagining Anthropological Research course and suggest that this should take
    place in the January before submission of proposals. The team considers that a
    seminar at this later stage would facilitate student focus and help improve the
    resulting research proposals. (3.8)

This recommendation appears to be based on a factual error since such a seminar was
part of the course in 2005-6.

7.22   It is recommended that Social Anthropology consider including some
    discussion within the Imagining Anthropological Research course of possible
    longer term considerations regarding the dissertation, e.g. future publication or
    employability issues. (3.8)

This recommendation has already been implemented for Imagining Research in 2006-

7.23   The team recommends the reduction of the dissertation proposal coursework
    assessment from 20% to 10%. (3.9)

This recommendation has already been implemented in 2006-7.

7.24   The review team recommends that the School and discipline area continue the
    exploration of the possible introduction of a placement element. (3.10)

Social Anthropology staff are actively exploring this recommendation in the current
academic year. We note, however, that elsewhere in the School, running placement
schemes for undergraduates has been quite costly in terms of the academic time input

7.25   The review team recommends that the subject area think more deeply about
    the role of coursework at Honours level in instilling an appropriate range of
    transferable skills in students. The team has the impression that an 80%
    weighting allocated to examinations was considerable for a degree professing to
    encourage a range of skills. (3.12)

This recommendation appears to be based on a factual error. Currently, exams
account for the assessment of 80% of ONE HALF of the course units for single
honours students (i.e. the core courses but not the optional courses), and combined
honours students are examined on 80% of approximately ONE THIRD (depending on
their degree programme and choice of courses) of their course units. Given current
concerns about plagiarism in academia, this proportion does not seem to be unduly

7.26   The review team recommends more imaginative uses of IT in teaching
    delivery, for example interactive tutorials in the form of online discussion groups.

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Social Anthropology staff are currently exploring ways of extending uses of IT in
teaching. MALTS staff or appropriate equivalent will be invited to make a
presentation to Social Anthropology staff in semester 2.

7.27   The review team recommends that there be more consistency in the use of
    WebCT for course information and that there be proper training in its use for
    staff, students and postgraduate tutors. (3.14)

Ways to implement this recommendation will be investigated in the current academic
year (see 7.26).

7.28 The team recommends that all tutors have access to the WebCT sites for the
courses on which they are tutoring. (3.14)

Tutors already have access to WebCT sites on the courses they tutor. Apparently, they
do need to be better informed about this. This matter will be taken up through the
Course Organisers and Senior Tutor in 2006-7.

7.29The review team shares Social Anthropology’s ideological opposition to course
    capping but considers that high student numbers is pedagogically unacceptable.
    It recommends that the School ensure that any capping system be applied fairly
    and consistently across all subject areas. (3.16)

School matter.

7.30The members of the review team recommend that Social Anthropology consider
    standardising contact hours across core and optional Honours courses, thus
    freeing up to one hour per week from core courses. This time could then be used
    to accommodate smaller groups for discussion of wider issues arising from
    lectures. (3.17)

After initial discussion at a dedicated meeting to consider the recommendations of the
TPR, it was decided to seek student views on this matter. Staff were reluctant to
withdraw one of the few opportunities for small group teaching at Honours level
without first consulting the students concerned. This matter was put to the
Undergraduate Teaching Committee at its meeting on 25th October 2006. It was
absolutely clear from student reps present at this meeting that students were strongly
against the withdrawal of this extra hour of teaching on core courses. In view of this,
at the subsequent staff meeting on 25th October it was decided not to implement this

7.31The review team would also recommend consideration of further support for
    those students who need more guidance in choosing dissertation topics, e.g. a
    register of possible topics, development of new topics from previous dissertation
    titles etc. (4.1)

Social Anthropology staff will consider how students can be further supported in
devising dissertation topics through the Imagining Research course. We note that
devising an appropriate topic is part of the set of skills that this course endeavours to
develop. While we try to support students, we also believe that encouraging students

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to devise and execute their own research topic independently with appropriate
guidance (rather than simply have topics suggested to them) is an important
transferable skill that the dissertation project in its entirety is designed to foster.

7.32The team recommends that Social Anthropology explore taking advantage of the
    early dissertation submission date to provide oral feedback to honours students
    on their performance. (4.2)

In line with lessons learnt from previous experiences of giving feedback to students
on their dissertations, oral feedback will be offered to students after they have taken
their exams. This is to avoid causing undue anxiety to students prior to their exams,
and takes account of the fact that feedback on the dissertation is not necessarily of
relevance for exam revision.

7.33The review team recommends that there be clearer articulation to tutors and
    students of the aims and objectives of tutorials and their link to lectures. (4.4)

Social anthropology staff have resolved to reinstate their former practice of making
notes on the main points of lectures available to tutors. (To be implemented

7.34The team recommends that it may be helpful for students to receive guidance in
    lectures in years 1 and 2 on assessment preparation and essay writing. (4.4)

Such guidance is available both from tutors in 1st and 2nd year and from TLA in their
dedicated sessions on these topics. The staff view that large lectures do not offer the
most appropriate context for this kind of guidance was strongly supported by students
as expressed at the meeting of the Undergraduate Teaching Committee on 25th
October. A new element of guidance on essay writing and exams at Honours level is
being added to the Imagining Research course in 2006-7.

7.35 The reviewers recommend that consideration should be given to introducing
    revision classes to help students understand the overall architecture of the degree
    programme. Revision classes could also provide a helpful review of courses and
    give students guidance by discussing past examination papers. These classes
    could take place in the week prior to commencement of the examination period in
    April. (4.4)

This recommendation does not appear to take account of the fact that our students sit
two diets of exams one in December and one in April/May. There is very little time
for revision classes before the December diet. However, tutors on 1st and 2nd year
courses will be asked to provide guidance before exams. Most lecturers already have
an element of revision or review at the end of their courses. There will be further
discussion through the UG Teaching committee of how to standardise some of these

7.36The team recommends that there be formal attendance registers in years 3 and 4
    and that procedures be implemented for contacting those students who are
    persistently absent from class. (4.5)

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Attendance at weekly support group meetings for Honours core courses is
compulsory. Attendance registers will be introduced in 2006-7. Directors of Studies
of students who miss more than two classes in succession will be contacted. The
introduction of such procedures was discussed at the UG Teaching Committee on
25th October and supported by student reps.

7.37The reviewers recommend that there be more consistency in feedback across
    courses and by assessors. Consideration should also be given to enabling
    students to receive more oral feedback on coursework and being given access to
    examples of coursework or examination scripts. (4.6)

The Honours course organiser will provide some guidance in autumn 2006 to markers
in order to help standardise feedback and to suggest ways of providing oral feedback
where this might be helpful – although inevitably differences between markers will
arise. The question of making exam scripts available to students is a matter currently
under discussion in the School and College.

7.38The review team recommends that Social Anthropology consider further how to
    share more systematically good practice in teaching (for example by creating a
    database). The discipline area may wish to involve the Centre for Teaching,
    Learning and Assessment in deciding how best to do this.

Social Anthropology staff already have various mechanisms at their disposal for
sharing good practice, including discussions at staff meetings, the Undergraduate
Teaching Committee, and the Staff Student Liaison Committee. The subject area will
take the opportunity provided by the TPR to revisit this issue systematically in the
current academic year.

7.39The review team recommends the pursuit of further options to secure better
    integration of staff/student research, both past and present. (5.1)

The introduction of new options is consistently encouraged and promoted through
discussion among staff, and as staff take up new research interests. The additional
credit given to new teaching is designed to encourage staff to integrate new areas of
research into their teaching.

7.40 To continue this ongoing quality enhancement of the dissertation experience,
    the team recommends that Imagining Anthropological Research emphasise the
    transferable skills to be gained from preparing a dissertation. For instance
    consideration might be given to introducing a compulsory presentation on the
    dissertation topic. (5.3)

This recommendation has already been implemented in 2006-7.

7.41The review team recommends that the subject area reflect further on how to
    ensure that students receive and are aware of receiving information on the use
    that has been made of their feedback. For instance, it may be helpful to make
    more imaginative use of WebCT or include in course handbooks details of the
    changes made in light of input from the previous student cohort. (6.1)

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This recommendation has been discussed in the UG Teaching Committee and the
Staff Student Liaison Committee. It was proposed that access to reports on feedback
and action taken as a result of student feedback be made available to students through
the Social Anthropology website and also be made available in files in the SPS UG
Reading Room. A further proposal from students at the UG teaching Committee
meeting to use the procedure adopted on some courses, that course evaluations be
collected the week before the end of the course and briefly discussed with students in
the final class, was agreed.

7.42It is recommended that there be a mechanism for obtaining feedback on the
    Honours programme as a whole. For instance, there could be a supplementary
    section to the student questionnaire where students may comment on the
    programme. This need only be completed once per student across the range of
    their courses and it would help the discipline area in considering the overall
    coherency of the Social Anthropology programme. (6.2)

An end of programme element will be added to student evaluation questionnaires at
the end of Senior Honour year from 2006-7.

7.43The team recommends that it would be useful to enable and encourage greater
    staff and student access to the analyses of completed course monitoring forms.

See response to 7.41.

7.44The review team supports the University’s re-launching of teaching peer
    observation but recommends that the College properly communicates its
    importance to colleagues in all subject areas. (6.3)

A College matter.

7.45The reviewers recommend that there be further discussion on adopting a more
    formalised supervision and monitoring scheme to track contact hours with
    supervisors in regard to the dissertation and to ensure consistency and fairness
    across the board. (6.5)

For the current academic year, this matter has been discussed in a staff meeting at the
start of the academic year, and more explicit guidance has been given to staff by the
Honours Course Organiser orally, and staff have been advised to discuss the
allocation of supervision hours with their dissertation students. From next academic
year, 2007-8, more detailed guidance on this matter will be available for staff and
students in the Honours course book.

 Recommendations          Responsibility of:
 7.17, 7.19, 7.24, 7.29   Social Anthropology jointly with School of Social and Political
 7.18                     School of Social and Political Studies
 7.20 -7.23, 7.25-7.28,   Social Anthropology
 7.30-7.43, 7.45
 7.44                     College of Humanities and Social Sciences

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Janet Carsten
Head of Subject, Social Anthropology
26th October 2006

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Appendix 7    Formal response to Sociology Teaching Programme Review

   The following lists the department‟s response to each recommendation of the
   report, any relevant action taken and future changes envisaged.

   7.15 The Honours, Soc.1 and Soc. 2h convenors and Departmental secretary have
        reviewed this and extended use of WebCT to include, e.g. tutorial sign-up.
   7.16 We now ensure that supervision is allocated so that the load is distributed
        evenly across staff. We allocate supervisors to students where necessary. The
        Honours handbook will be revised to describe this system more clearly.

   7.17 Clearer guidelines have been drawn up by the projects convenor and will be
        inserted in the Honours handbook.

   7.18 The course has been completely redesigned with more emphasis on
        orientation towards the project. The course now requires students to provide a
        „reflective report‟. This has substantially increased participation.

   7.19 J MacInnes will coordinate a meeting of methods and theory teams in
        semester 2 (once students have sufficient experience of the relevant honours
        courses) to consider this.

   7.20 The HoS has written to Luke Marsh outlining our concerns. In response to
        school advise, we intend to increase number of Dos as permitted.

   7.21 The department has resolved that all staff are eligible for DOS duties and that
        it is desirable that these should be shared more widely, that the HoD should
        attempt to ensure that at least one DOS is a female member of staff and that
        no staff in their first year of employment should take on this role. We also
        aim to increase the number of Dos in the coming year, with an aim to
        minimizing the burden on all individuals.

   7.22 To be recommended at school level.

   7.23 See 7.21

   7.24 HoS will write to Luke Marsh and TLA about this.

   7.25 The HoS will draw this to attention of future appointment panels, within such
        constraints as are laid down by equality legislation. The department has since
        appointed a further female member of staff.

   7.26 HoS will write to relevant SVP (Mike Anderson)
        Sue R. has brought forward room planning & booking.

   7.27 J. MacInnes has drafted letter for HoS to write to registry, copying to
        relevant SVP.

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7.28 A department working party has been set up to consider this and has already
     agreed to drop the expectation that each staff member offer an honours course
     every year, and empowered the HoS to alter the balance of courses offered in
     semester 1 and 2, so as to avoid courses with low numbers of sociology
     honours students.

7.29 HoS has sought advice and determined that our current procedures are fully
     compliant with SHEFC guidelines.

7.30 The Year 1, Year 2 convenors and J.Hearn as director of undergraduate
     teaching are reviewing this.

7.31 Procedures and handbook entries have been changed. There will now be 2
     mitigating circumstances meetings each year.

7.32 The Honours handbook now states that all teachers should provide feedback
     to students on semester 1 assessment performance, and comments on long

7.33 School has to an extent changed its procedures by opening out and
     formalizing recruitment of tutors.

7.34 Yr 1 and 2 convenors have agreed to do this.

7.35 Yr 1 and 2 convenors have agreed to do this.

7.36 Handbooks will in future contain reports of action arising from liason
     committee meetings where appropriate.

7.37 This would be unduly burdensome. The summary evaluations are placed on
     file in Sue Renton‟s office for students to consult if they wish. Putting all
     summaries in the honours handbook would be problematic, and it makes little
     sense to put them in course documents.

7.38 Year 1 and 2 convenors doing this. PGs will be paid to peer review each
7.39 HoS has written to School Administrator requesting this.

7.40 This will be tabled at a future departmental meeting.

7.41 A working party is currently considering how best to update our workload
     model, including less credit for honours classes with small numbers and
     integration of administration and teaching workloads.

7.42 Ross Bond and Sue Renton and Kate Orton Johnson, who have relevant
     expertise, are reviewing this.

7.43 This has been raised at relevant school meetings. The situation has improved

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      due to removal of first semester reading week.

7.44 The move to only one optional honours course in semester 1 of Senior
     Honours deals with this. Ross Bone has investigated performance and
     discovered only random variation across S1 and S2.

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