Nottingham Trent University - DOC by wulinqing


									Nottingham Trent University

Centre for Academic Development and Quality

Information for new External Examiners

Academic Year 2010/2011


Overview                                          Page 2

External Examiner Reports                       Page 3-8

Useful Contact Details                            Page 9

Payment of Fees                                  Page 10

Academic Standards and Quality                Page 11-20
Handbook: Section 7: External

Academic Standards and Quality                Page 21-35
Handbook: Section 15: Assessment
Principles and Policies


Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is a large, diverse and vibrant modern
university. It acquired university status under the Further and Higher Education
Act 1992. Its origins can be traced to the Nottingham Regional College of
Technology, the Nottingham College of Art & Design and the Nottingham College
of Education. Trent Polytechnic was established in 1970 and renamed as
Nottingham Trent University in 1989. NTU has 3 sites. The City campus and the
Clifton campus are within the city of Nottingham and are about 4 miles apart.
The third site, the Brackenhurst campus, was added in 1999 with the adoption of
Brackenhurst College, and is just outside the picturesque town of Southwell, 12
miles from the city centre.

NTU has over 25,000 students, of whom 7,700 are part-time. Undergraduates
account for some 20,000 students and postgraduates for about 5,000.
Additionally, as at September 2008 NTU had some 7,000 students on its
collaborative register of whom approximately 5,500 are studying overseas.

NTU‟s Mission is „to deliver education and research that shapes lives and society‟.

The University is divided into 3 colleges which together comprise 9 schools:

College of Business, Law and Social Sciences
 Nottingham Law School
 Nottingham Business School
 School of Social Sciences

College of Art & Design and Built Environment
 School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment
 School of Art and Design

College of Arts and Science
 School of Education
 School of Arts and Humanities
 School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
 School of Science and Technology

The management of academic matters at NTU rests with the Academic Quality
and Standards Committee (AQSC). The Standards and Quality Management Sub-
Committee (SQMSC) and Collaborative Provision Sub-Committee (CPSC) maintain
an oversight of quality and standards and make recommendations to ASQC
concerning appropriate action. AQSC also oversees the appointment process for
the recruitment of external examiners and reviews annually the institutional-level
issues arising from external examiner reports.

The Centre for Academic Development & Quality (CADQ) acts as the executive
arm of ASQC. Amongst its responsibilities is the implementation of external
examiner policy. Schools are responsible for the day-to-day liaison with external


Guidance Notes

External Examiners must report annually to the University using the online
reporting system. These guidance notes provide instructions on completing this

Accessing the report:

Type the following URL into the search engine:

Or, click onto Academic Standards located at the bottom of the NTU website
homepage ( and:

 select „Quality Assurance‟;
 select „External Examiners‟;
 select „Current and Prospective Examiners‟.

You will then be able to click Electronic Version of the External Examiner Report
Form; this will bring you onto the „login screen‟

The Online Reporting System for External Examiners

You are required to complete a number of sections of the report. These are
provided on separate electronic pages. You can progress through the form by
clicking on the „next‟ button, or using the progression bar at the top of each

Each section has a set of questions to which you are required to respond „YES‟ or
„NO‟. A response is required and it will not be possible to submit the form unless
these questions have been completed. The University extrapolates this
quantitative data to assure itself that programmes of study are meeting stated
aims and learning outcomes and maintaining the standards of their awards.

Given the importance of the report to the University, we would strongly request
that after each section you provide a commentary where appropriate. Your
comments in relation to each of the sections are of particular interest and will be
used by the University to inform both annual reports and Periodic School Reviews.
Where appropriate would you also please highlight what you consider to be
particular strengths and distinctive or innovative features, or weaknesses, in the
programme(s) examined.

You may find that there is some apparent overlap in a few of the questions you
are asked in the report. We would like to advise that each section of the report
seeks to raise slightly different considerations, i.e. standards, operation of
assessment processes, quality of learning, action taken on previous reports, etc.

Please do not name any individuals in this report, as it will be considered by
appropriate University Committees, which will include student membership. If
you wish to refer to a candidate (for example, in respect of a dissertation) please
use the candidate‟s examination number.

When should I complete my report?

You should return your completed report within 4 weeks of the Board of
Examiners meeting. Please note you will not be able to log on and complete your
report prior to your Board of Examiners meeting.


Please note: to protect the security of the application, unless you click the “save”
button within 90 minutes from the opening of the page, the application will be
deemed as inactive and will close. You will lose any unsaved work if this
happens. Please ensure therefore that you activate the “save” button in the
timeframe above.

Logging onto the system

You will have been provided with a username and password with your
appointment letter.

The username is the eMail that you have provided. If your eMail, or personal
details change or they are incorrect please contact us via The system will automatically generate a
unique password for you, which will normally consist of 8 letters and numbers.
The username and password are case sensitive.

Type your password and username and then press submit.

You have now logged into your personal reporting system.

The first time you use the reporting system there will be no reports visible.

Creating a report

Click onto „add new report‟.

If you are reporting on a single programme, please click the relevant subject. If
you are writing one report for multiple subjects select the individual programme
and press the "ctrl" button located at the bottom left hand corner of your

Now select the academic year for the new report. To do this please select the
appropriate reporting year from the „dropdown‟ menu.

Press „create this report‟.

The first page of the report will look like this:

Please input the date of the Board of Examiners, the system will not allow you to
submit your report without this information.

Using the following progression bar as a reference you will be able to identify
which screens you have completed:

If you have completed all the mandatory input fields of a screen the related Part
will be „ticked‟ on the progression bar. If you have missed a mandatory field this
will prevent you from submitting your report.

Please note: There are specific questions for examiners in their first year of

If you decide to leave the system, having partially completed the report, please
ensure you press the „save for later‟ button.

You can submit your report once all Parts on the Progression bar are ticked.

Now press „Part H‟. Pressing this button takes you to the submit screen – there‟s
still one more button to press!

Press the „submit‟ button within this section.

Once the report has been successfully submitted the following screen will appear:

You will also receive the following eMail:

The next time you log onto the reporting system you will be able to see your
report history, which shows previous reports submitted and the date they were
submitted. Press the „view‟ button to access any previous reports.


University Contacts:


Nottingham Trent University
Burton Street

Telephone:    0115 9418418

School Contacts:

Programme Leader Name:          ---------------------------------

Telephone Number:               ---------------------------------

FAX Number:                     ---------------------------------

E-mail address:                 ---------------------------------

Administrative contact:         ---------------------------------

Telephone Number:               ---------------------------------

FAX Number:                     ---------------------------------

E-mail address:                 ---------------------------------

Centre for Academic Development & Quality (CADQ)

Contact name:                   Michael Key
Position:                       Centre Administrator
Direct Line Telephone Number:   0115 848 8191
E-mail address:       

Contact name:                   Jane Dyer
Position:                       Standards & Quality Officer
Direct Line Telephone Number:   0115 848 8188
E-mail address:       

Contact name:                   Victoria Fanning
Position:                       Senior Standards & Quality Officer
Direct Line Telephone Number:   0115 848 8187
E-mail address:       

Contact name:                   Gillian Moore
Position:                       Quality Assurance Manager
Direct Line Telephone Number:   0115 848 8193
E -mail address:      


On receipt of your report the School will contact you to arrange payment of your
fee. This will require you to complete a payment form.

If you do not receive payment within 4 weeks of submission of your form, please
contact the related School directly.

Nottingham           Vivien Flynn     
Business School
                                                0115 848 2752

Nottingham Law       Lesley Kirby     
                                                0115 848 6419

School of Animal,    Mary Stevenson   
Rural and
Environmental                                   0115 848 5209

School of            Karen Watts      
Design and the                                  0115 848 6182
Built Environment

School of Art &      Joanne Calvert   
                                                0115 848 8432

School of Arts and   Jo Henson        
                                                0115 848 3265

School of Science    Martyn Giles     
& Technology
                                                0115 848 3348

School of            Luke Lowis-Dennis

                                                0115 848 3566

School of Social     Grainne Carroll  
                                                0115 848 6807

Business, Law and    Sarah Troy-Brown 
Social Sciences
Graduate School                                 0115 848 8112

Academic Standards and Quality Handbook

Section 7: External examining



   A. Introduction
   B. Rationale
   C. Policy:
      Rights and responsibilities
             Criteria for appointment
             Restrictions on appointment
             Period of appointment
             Extension of period of appointment
      Preparation, briefing and training
      Chief external examiners
      External examining of collaborative programmes
      External examiners' reports
      Resignation of an external examiner
      Dismissal of an external examiner
   D. Key issues in implementation
   E. Flowchart indicating involvement of external examiners in academic
      standards and quality
   F. School approval checklists for forms EE1 and EE2

A. Introduction

1.    Whilst the appointment of external examiners is established practice, an
      enhanced approach has been developed to ensure more effective use of
      their expertise and to ensure consistency with the precepts of the QAA
      Code of Practice on External Examining. This section explains the
      University's enhanced external examining system.

B. Rationale

2.    This University policy emphasises the importance of rigorous management
      and enhancement of academic standards and quality. The external
      examiner is a significant element in our standards and quality procedures
      and brings an independent and impartial perspective to the process,
      focusing particularly on the standards of our assessment processes and
      ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of students in assessments.
      Specifically, external examiners help the University to ensure that:
       the academic standard for each award and award element is set and
          maintained at the appropriate level and that student performance is
          properly judged against this;
       the assessment process measures student achievement against the
          intended outcomes of the programme appropriately, and is fair and
          equitably operated;
       our awards are comparable in standard with those of other higher
          education institutions;
       we receive expert external and independent opinion that can be
          utilised to enhance the standards and quality of our programmes.
3.    The principles outlined in this policy emphasise the reviewing and
      monitoring role of the external examiner as part of the University's
      moderation processes – external examiners do not act as second markers
      and should not be used to reconcile differences between internal markers.
      External examiner reports comment, through analysis and reflection, on
      the standards and quality of our programmes, as demonstrated by student
      performance, and the appropriateness of the assessment process in
      testing learning outcomes. The flowchart at the end of this section
      indicates the external's role in the University's standards and quality

C. Policy

4.    At least one external examiner must be appointed to each University
      award-bearing programme (the same external may examine a group or
      cluster of programmes).
5.    For new post-graduate, short courses or any programme of up to one year
      in length; an External Examiner should be in place for the start of the
6.    The programme team is responsible for nominating an external examiner
      at least 6 months before the commencement of their appointment. The
      programme team should ensure that potential external examiners are
      provided with sufficient information to enable them to identify whether
      they can carry out their responsibilities effectively. As part of this, the
      external examiner should consult the CADQ website.
7.    Each nomination should be initially scrutinised and approved by the
      appropriate School Academic Standards and Quality Committee (SASQC).
      For Validated Centre Collaborative Provision, scrutiny of the nomination

      should be by the Collaborative Provision Sub-Committee (CPSC), following
      approval by the Centre's Academic Board.
8.    School approved external examiner nomination forms, signed by the Chair
      of SASQC, should be forwarded to CADQ. Schools should use the standard
      University nomination form (which can be downloaded from the CADQ
      website). Validated Centres should also use the standard form.
9.    CADQ will ensure that the University's External Examiner Appointments
      Panel considers the nomination. The Panel will evaluate the nomination
      form and will make recommendations to ASQC.

10.   The principal role of the external examiner is to monitor the academic
      standards of programmes and the internal moderation and assessment
      processes and, in their judgment, to report on:
           whether the standards set for the programme are appropriate for
              its awards, award elements or subjects, by reference to published
              national subject benchmarks, the national qualifications
              frameworks, institutional programme specifications and other
              relevant information;
           the comparability of the standards with those of similar
              programmes or parts of programmes in other UK higher education
           the standards of student performance in the assessments for those
              programmes or parts of programmes which they have been
              appointed to examine;
           the extent to which the processes for assessment and the
              determination of awards are sound and have been fairly conducted;
           whether the action points in previous external examiner reports
              have been acted upon, and standards and quality thereby
           strengths and distinctive innovate features in relation to academic
              standards, the operation of the assessment process and the quality
              of learning.
11.   In order to perform these roles, the external examiner will be party to the
      internal moderation process, normally sampling work that contributes to
      the final award, through:
             consideration, as requested, of the form and content of the
              assessment tasks that are used to assess students;
             reviewing a sample of assessed work on site at NTU (the
              approximate size of the sample of assessed work to be reviewed by
              the external examiner should be agreed with them at the start of
              the programme/module) - the University's moderation policy
              provides indicative sample sizes (see I of Section 15 of the ASQ
              Guidance note
                        From 2010-11 it is the University’s policy that the review of
                        samples of assessed work undertaken by external
                        examiners should normally take place on site. This applies
                        to all external examiner appointments made after
                        September 2010. Transition arrangements for existing
                        external examiner appointments can be negotiated and
                        agreed at programme level. The new policy seeks to
                        mitigate the potential risk of assessment samples getting
                        lost through the postal system, create some time saving
                        benefits for local marking and moderation and strengthen
                        networking opportunities between the programme team
                        and external examiners.

             occasionally, and at the request of the programme leader or the
              Chair of Board of Examiners, advising internal assessors on cases
              where they cannot agree marks (but not to arbitrate on
      Rights and responsibilities
12.   The following rights and responsibilities apply to the role of the external

          The external examiner is expected to attend the NTU induction
           event for newly appointed external examiners. This excludes
           external examiners for Validated Centre Collaborative Provision,
           where the Validated Centre will conduct an appropriate induction,
           and non-UK based external examiners where Schools will conduct
           an appropriate induction.
          The review of assessment samples undertaken by external
           examiners should normally take place on site. Exceptional
           alternative arrangements require notification by the Academic
           Team Leader to the School Academic Standards & Quality
           Committee for approval.
           Guidance note
                   The circumstances that will justify alternative arrangements
                   being put in place for external examiners to review
                   assessment samples off site will vary case-by-case. Schools
                   may wish to draw a distinction between the unexpected ‘one
                   off’ event relating to the unforeseen personal circumstances
                   of an external examiner and other situations relating to the
                   particular nature of the provision.
          An external examiner must normally be present at a Board of
           Examiners meeting that agrees final awards (an external examiner
           need not attend progression Boards). If exceptional circumstances
           result in the external examiner being absent from such a meeting,
           the external should subsequently indicate by written notification –
           via the programme leader – that he/she has been involved in the
           assessment process and agrees with the decisions made at the
           Board. In the case of Referral Boards, at least one external
           examiner should be involved in the process but not necessarily
           through attendance.
          The external examiner should always sign the conferment
           statement to confirm that they have been involved in the
           assessment of students and agree with the final recommendations
          The external examiner must submit an annual report in the format
           prescribed by the University on the standards and quality of the
           programme(s) and awards for which they are responsible. This
           report is used in the production of the annual Programme
           Standards and Quality Report (PSQR) and for programme
           monitoring and enhancement generally.
          In order to carry out the preceding responsibilities an external
           examiner may, by prior arrangement with the appropriate School/
           Validated Centre, meet students to assist him/her to judge the
           overall quality and standards of the programme(s). This does not
           give the right to carry out viva voce examination of individual
          Assessment samples remain the property of the University and if
           taken off site should be returned in a timely manner.

           The external examiner has the right to be informed of major
             changes to programme(s) and may be consulted in advance about
             proposed changes, particularly where they affect the programme
             award(s), title(s), outcomes or the assessment scheme, major
             changes to modules or programme closure. This will allow the
             external examiner to comment on the changes from the
             perspective of his or her responsibilities.
           The responsibility for moderation and for agreeing marks and
             awards rests with all the members of the Board of Examiners. As a
             member of the Board, the external examiner has the right to
             contribute to discussions on the moderation of marks and on
             decisions concerning marks and awards to individual students.

13.   For some programmes there are subject and award external examiners.
      Subject examiners exercise the above rights and responsibilities in relation
      to a number of modules in a subject area, and are expected to attend
      Subject Boards to consider the results for all students taking the modules
      for which they have responsibility. Award examiners exercise these
      responsibilities in relation to a named programme or award. They are
      expected to attend the Award Board.

14.   An external examiner has the following entitlements.
          The external examiner may report directly to the Vice Chancellor on
             matters of major concern that pose a serious risk to the quality and
             standards of a Nottingham Trent award, if serious issues are not
             satisfactorily addressed by the Dean of School/Head of the
             Validated Centre (or nominee).
          In the event of an external examiner disagreeing with a
             recommendation for conferment, the matter should be decided by a
             vote of Board members. If, following a vote, an external examiner
             does not support the majority decision the matter should be
             referred to Academic Board before the results are ratified. In such
             cases, the external examiner may withhold their signature from the
             conferment statement.
          If the external examiner has major concerns about the internal
             moderation of marks from the samples they receive, they have
             right of access to all student work that is assessed in their area of
             responsibility for the purposes of further monitoring and checking.
          The external examiner does not have the authority to alter
             individual marks. However, it may be appropriate for the external
             examiner to recommend a review of marks in a particular mark


      Criteria for appointment
15.   Programme teams, SASQC (or CPSC) and the External Examiner
      Appointments Panel will be guided by the following criteria when
      considering external examiner nominations.
           An external's academic and/or professional qualifications, standing,
             expertise and experience should be appropriate to the programme
             in terms of both level and subject.
           An external should have sufficient recent external examining or
             comparable related experience to indicate competence in assessing
             students in the subject. An external may be appointed with no

             previous external examiner experience provided they have
             sufficient internal examining experience or other relevant and
             recent experience or training. Where possible, the examiner should
             join an experienced team or work initially alongside the current
             external, or be subject to other special induction arrangements.
             The nomination form should include an appropriate supporting
             statement clarifying these points.
            The appointment should secure an appropriately balanced team
             that is able to cover the academic and/or professional subject
             content. The Dean/Head of the Validated Centre has a duty to
             ensure that the appropriate number of externals is appointed to
             ensure adequate expertise is available to cover the major areas of
             the programme and cope with the volume of student work.

      Restrictions on appointment
16.   The following restrictions on appointments apply.
          An external must not be over-extended by the duties. S/he should
              not concurrently hold more than the equivalent of 2 substantial
              external examiner appointments. (If the external appears to exceed
              this norm, the programme team should provide supporting
              arguments, for example that the phasing of assessments alleviates
              the workload during an academic session).
          An external is expected to be impartial in judgment and should not
              have any direct current ties with the University or its staff, or have
              had any in the last 3 years. This applies also to external examiners
              for Validated Centre Collaborative Provision.
          An external should not have acted as a consultant to a programme
              team within the last 3 years. Prior to their appointment an external
              may have been a member of a panel established to approve the
              programme, however following their appointment they may not be
              a member of a panel established to review the programme.
          No external examiner may be appointed if by doing so a reciprocal
              arrangement for external examining would arise.
          An external should not normally be replaced by an individual from
              the same institution.
          Except in very large examining teams, there should be no more
              than one external from the same institution.

      Exceptions to this policy will only be approved where there are compelling
      reasons set out on the nomination form.

      Period of appointment
17.   Following the approval of a new post-graduate, short course or
      programme of one year in length an external examiner should be
      appointed in time to take up their duties at the start of the programme.
18.   A replacement external examiner should be appointed in time to take up
      their duties on or before the retirement of the predecessor.
19.   An external's normal term will be 4 annual reporting cycles but may be
      longer in respect of new programmes where the first output will not occur
      in the first year of appointment.
20.   For programmes operating to the standard academic year, appointments
      will run from the September of the first year to December of the fourth
      year, e.g. from September 2010 to December 2014. For other
      programmes, appointments should run from the standard intake date and
      cover referrals. For Validated Centre collaborative arrangements, the
      period of appointment will be subject to a successful institutional review.

      Extension of period of appointment/additional/reallocated duties
21.   An application for an extension of the period of appointment or to add or
      reallocate duties will be considered according to the standard procedures
      using the separate nomination form - EE2 (copies available from CADQ
22.   To request an extension to the period of appointment there should be a
      strong rationale for doing so. Only in exceptional circumstances may the
      total period of appointment for an external exceed 5 annual reporting
23.   Application may be made to the External Examiner Appointments Panel to
      vary the scope of responsibility of an external examiner without varying
      the period of appointment. A rationale should be provided to support the

      Preparation, briefing and training
24.   For all University-based programmes, CADQ will send a set of general
      briefing materials to each newly appointed external examiner via email as
            a letter of appointment;
            a copy of the External Examining section of the Academic
              Standards and Quality Handbook;
            a copy of the relevant Common Assessment Regulations;
            a copy of the Assessment Principles and Policies section of the
              Academic Standards and Quality Handbook;
            a username and password to allow access to the online reporting
      Hard copies of these documents are available on request.
25.   Induction events organized jointly by CADQ and Schools will be held for
      newly appointed external examiners.
26.   The School will be expected to brief and induct external examiners fully on
      all relevant aspects of the operation of the programme as part of the
      induction event. If an external examiner is unable to attend the induction
      event, alternative arrangements should be made to brief the external as
      soon as possible.

      The briefing should cover:
          the external's responsibilities in relation to the overall external
             examining team;
          details of any mentoring arrangements;
          the conduct of the Board of Examiner meetings;
          the dates, where set, or anticipated dates for on-site visits to
             undertake the review of assessment samples;
          the dates, where set, or anticipated dates of the Board of Examiner
          school policies in relation to special situations, borderlines cases;
          the impact of any professional, statutory and regulatory bodies or
             approved deviations from the common assessment regulations on
             the decision making process;
          moderation procedures;
          programme aims and outcomes, and those of the modules;
          assessment and teaching and learning strategies;
          assessment methods and marking scheme;
          assessment regulations including those for compensation;
          opportunities for reassessment;
          the extent of examiners' discretion;
          standards and quality reporting arrangements;
          the University's requirements and conditions for awards as set out

             in the Academic Standards and Quality Handbook.

      Additionally, the following should be made clear:
          University policy on equal opportunities;
          the contractual arrangements - including fee and expenses, term of
             appointment etc.

      As a minimum the external examiner should be provided with the following
          a copy of the programme and module specifications;
          the programme handbook;
          external examiner reports for the past 3 years;
          a copy of the PSQR or relevant parts of it.

27.   For Validated Centre collaborative arrangements, letters of appointment
      will be sent by CADQ but induction will be the prime responsibility of the
      Validated Centre. The University Verifier may assist in the induction of new
      external examiners.
28.   CADQ will periodically contact existing external examiners to inform them
      about developments, as appropriate, in the University's academic
      standards and quality arrangements. The CADQ website will also act as a
      source of guidance to externals.
29.   The programme team will keep the external examiner informed about
      appropriate developments to the programme and module specifications.

      Chief external examiners
30.   A chief external examiner may be appointed from within the team of
      approved externals. The approval of the appointment of a chief external
      examiner will be subject to the normal criteria set out above and the
      person will be expected to have subject responsibilities within the team.
31.   The additional responsibilities of a chief external will be decided in
      conjunction with the programme leader but are expected to include the
            to confirm - by negotiation with other externals in the team - that a
              consistent and acceptable standard is being maintained across the
            to coordinate the work of the team of externals and to liaise as
              appropriate with the programme team(s),
            to act as mentor for new and/or inexperienced externals,
            to produce a summary report capable of publication on behalf of
              the external examining team if agreed for the programme.

      External examining of collaborative programmes
32.   The external examining arrangements for programmes offered in
      collaboration (all categories of collaborative provision, see Section 10 of
      ASQ Handbook) with a partner institution(s) are equivalent to those that
      apply to programmes offered internally. This will include the criteria for
      selection and appointment, the roles, responsibilities and powers of
      external examiners, and annual reporting.
33.   Schools have responsibility for ensuring that the University's procedures
      and policy on external examining are clearly communicated to their
      collaborative partners.
34.   In some forms of collaboration the precise external examining
      arrangement may be varied to meet the needs of the partnership, e.g. the
      requirement for on-site review of assessment samples can be more
      flexible, the partner institution may scrutinise external examiner
      nominations and reports before submission to the University or the partner

      institution might provide payments or induction. Any such variations need
      to be clearly specified in the programme documentation for approval and
      subsequently monitored and reviewed by the programme team and School
      through annual reporting and by CADQ through collaborative review.
35.   Where programmes are delivered with an overseas partner, the
      programme team will need to ensure that the external examiner has the
      necessary language skills where instruction and/or assessment is not in
      English or will need to ensure that translation arrangements are
      sufficiently robust. In addition, it is expected that the external examiner
      team will include at least one examiner with experience of UK higher
36.   In all collaborative arrangements, the University's ASQC retains
      responsibility for the approval of external examiner nominations. The
      University's External Examiner Appointments Panel will consider all
      external examiner nominations.

      External examiners' reports
37.   All external examiners (including those for Validated Centres) must
      complete each year the University's External Examiner Report Form.
           The report will cover academic standards, the quality of learning,
              and the operation of the assessment process.
           The external is required to reflect, in his/her annual report, on the
              level and appropriateness of the assessment procedures and
              standards of student attainment in the light of his/her experience
              of the subject provision nationally.
           The external is also invited to comment on strengths and distinctive
              or innovative features.
           It is anticipated that an external examiner report will also include
              comments and observations, which the team will wish to respond
              to outside the rubric of the PSQR and within a reasonable
           The report must not refer to individual students or staff members
              by name.
           For programmes that have multiple intakes and Board of Examiner
              meetings, the external is only required to submit one annual report
              as agreed between the programme leader and the external.
           At the conclusion of a Board of Examiners‟ meeting, the external
              examiner will normally be asked to raise verbally any concerns or
              good practice that are likely to lead to action points in their report.
           The report should be submitted via the NTU online external
              examiner reporting system within 4 weeks of the Board of
              Examiners‟ meeting. The report is automatically received by CADQ,
              the named School or Validated Centre contacts and the Vice
           The PSQR will contain responses to the action points raised in
              external examiner reports. In some cases, the Programme
              Committee may wish to have more time to consider fully the action
              points, in which case those outcomes will be reported in the next
              PSQR. However, the current PSQR will always contain an initial
              response to any pressing action points;
           A copy of the PSQR will be sent to the External Examiner.

38.   The School/Validated Centre determines the amount of the fee payable to
      an external examiner. Payment of the fee is authorised on receipt of a
      satisfactorily completed External Examiner Report Form. Payment of the
      fee is processed by the relevant School.

39.    Claims for expenses should be submitted to the School/Validated Centre.

    Resignation of an external examiner
40. Other than in exceptional circumstances (e.g. serious illness) an external is
    normally required to give 6 months notice of resignation in order to protect
    students on the programme and the quality assurance arrangements
    associated with it. A resignation should normally take effect at the end of an
    academic year.

    Dismissal of an external examiner
41. ASQC may dismiss an external examiner not considered to be fulfilling
    responsibilities, on the basis of recommendation from the School to which the
    external was appointed. Grounds for the termination of appointment include:
            Failure to carry out properly the duties and responsibilities of an
            Failure to produce an adequate report;
            Conduct contrary to that required and expected of an external of
               the University.

D. Key issues in implementation
           External examiner nominations should be sought in good time, and
             presented to the External Examiner Appointments Panel at least 6
             months before the commencement of their appointment.
           Programme teams should ensure that their nominee has the
             appropriate qualifications, standing, expertise and experience to
             fulfill their duties.
           Programme teams should make themselves aware of the
             restrictions on the appointment of external examiners.
           Newly appointed externals should be properly briefed and inducted
             into their role, responsibilities and powers and about the
             programme specification.
           Externals should report annually using the University's online report
           Programme teams must provide an appropriate response to
             external examiners on their reports within a reasonable timescale.
           From 2010-11 it is the University‟s policy that the review of
             samples of assessed work undertaken by external examiners
             should normally take place on site. This applies to all external
             examiner appointments made after September 2010. Transition
             arrangements for existing external examiner appointments can be
             negotiated and agreed at programme level.

Academic Standards and Quality Handbook

Section 15: Assessment principles and policies



   A. Introduction
   B. Purposes of assessment
   C. Principles of assessment
   D. Boards of Examiners
   E. A note on plagiarism
   F. A note on assessment in languages other than English
   G. A note on the assessment of students with disabilities
   H. University policy on feedback to students on assessments
   I.   University policy on moderation of assessments
   J. University policy on anonymous marking
   K. A note on the retention of student work
   L. Implementation of policy

A. Introduction

This section of the ASQ Handbook is concerned with (a) the principles that
underpin assessment practices at NTU (including collaborative provision), (b) the
policies to ensure that these principles are translated into practice, and the
section leads into important information in Section 16 on assessment regulations
for undergraduate and postgraduate provision.

The context within which we plan, design, carry out and evaluate assessment
practices has developed significantly. Assessment is a core element in the
processes by which we and other external bodies, such as QAA reviewers and
PSRB assessors/accreditors, evaluate standards. One important way of
determining whether our programmes are successful in their intentions is through
measuring the extent to which students achieve the intended learning and
development. It is crucial that the processes of measurement we design are fit for
their purposes.

The following sections incorporate ideas and precepts contained in external
guidance documents, for example the Framework for Higher Education
Qualifications (FHEQ), the QAA Code of Practice section on Assessment of
Students, and material in the subject benchmark statements.

In June 2008, the University formulated new guidance on the development of e-
Assessment. These notes have been formulated on the clear understanding that
the purposes and principles of assessment set out in this Section of the ASQH
equally apply to e-Assessment. However the guidance note is designed to raise a
range of specific issues that should be considered when designing and introducing
e-Assessment to a module or programme. The full guidance note is set out in
Appendix 15.1; it will be reviewed on a regular basis.

In support of the new policies relating to assessment, the University will provide
staff development to ensure that staff are competent to implement these changes
and successfully undertake their roles in assessment.

B. Purposes of assessment

Assessment is a generic term for the processes that measure the outcomes of
students' learning, in respect of knowledge acquired, understanding developed,
and cognitive, subject-specific and transferable skills gained. At NTU,
      provides the means by which our students are graded, passed or failed
       (this process is referred to as 'summative');
      provides the basis for decisions on whether a student is ready to proceed,
       to qualify for an award or to demonstrate competence to practice (a
       'summative' process);
      enables staff to identify whether students have acquired a particular area
       of knowledge, understood a concept or developed a skill (this is referred to
       as 'diagnostic' assessment);
      enables students to obtain feedback on their learning and development
       and helps them improve (this process is referred to as 'formative'); and
      enables staff to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching.

C. Principles of assessment

The principles underlying assessment policies, practices and regulations are:
   1.   appropriateness to learning and to level,
   2.   reliability,
   3.   validity,
   4.   openness,
   5.   fairness, and
   6.   maintenance of standards.

   1. Appropriateness to learning and level is achieved through the careful
      and co-ordinated planning and design of assessments. The development
      and publication of an explicit assessment strategy for each programme
      of study ensures that:
              assessment is an integral part of programme planning and design;
              assessment tasks are explicitly related to intended learning
              all learning outcomes intended through delivery of the various
               modules are assessed;
              there is appropriate variety in assessments to reflect the range of
               learning outcomes relating to knowledge, understanding and skills
              assessment methods are selected that are the most effective in
               enabling students to demonstrate specific outcomes and to
               enhance learning;
              duplication of methods or over-emphasis on one particular form of
               assessment is avoided;
              staff and students are informed of the assessment methods and
               their operation, and consistency in approach is achieved.
              examinations on undergraduate degrees should be confined to the
               final 4 weeks of the third term – and spread throughout this period
               – to minimise the disruption to learning at other times in the year.
              viva voce examinations should not normally form part of the
               assessment at undergraduate level as it can lead to problems of
        Policy: Each programme of study delivered within every school
        must have an assessment strategy available for staff and students.
        Programme specifications should contain clear assessment
   2. Reliability of assessments and their outcomes is assured through
      thorough planning and careful design of assessment tasks and through
      clarity and explicitness of criteria for assessments and marking schemes
      and arrangements. Feedback to students on coursework has been
      identified by the National Student Survey and NTU‟s own satisfaction
      survey as an area for further development across the University. Staff are
      therefore required to adhere to the University‟s policy set out in part H of
      this section, and to produce and monitor Assessment and Feedback Plans.
      Policy: Programme and module staff are required to publish and
      disseminate clear briefings and assessment criteria for all
      assignments. Where used, mark schemes should be accessible to
      students to inform their preparations for assessments. Students
      must receive effective feedback on their assessments.

   3. Validity of assessments (Do the tasks assess what they are meant to? At
      the right level?) is ensured through initial moderation processes when
      assessments are being planned.
      Policy: Programme and module teams should ensure that - at the
      planning stage of assessment tasks - appropriate peers (other
      module tutors and/or in external examiners at levels that
      contribute to the final award) are consulted to check the validity of
      the tasks being prepared.
   4. Openness with students about the processes and outcomes of
      assessments is crucial to their learning formation. The procedures above
      related to clear briefings and criteria are relevant here. Additionally, it is
      critically important that students receive open, constructive formative
      feedback on their assessments at all stages of their development.
      The University's policy on feedback to students on their
      assessments follows in part H of this Section of the Handbook.
   5. Fairness means having procedures in operation to ensure that students
      receive consistent treatment in assessment processes, practices and
      The University's policies on assessment moderation and
      anonymous marking relate to fairness and are included later in this
   6. Standards in assessment relate to ensuring that the assessments set and
      the judgements reached are appropriate to the level and comparable with
      similar provision across the sector. Boards of Examiners are critical to the
      process of assuring and maintaining standards in assessments and
      judgements, and information about their operation follows below.
      The University's regulations for assessment (see Section 16 of this
      Handbook) and undergraduate and postgraduate frameworks (see
      Section 12 and Section 13) are key to assuring standards.

D. Boards of Examiners

   Each award-bearing programme should have a Board of Examiners to:
   a.   ensure there are consistent and fair arrangements for assessment;
   b.   make academic judgements on the progress of students;
   c.   make academic judgements on the conferment of awards;
   d.   consider any case of student performance that is giving cause for concern.

   a. A Board should operate with due regard to:
              the programme specification;
              any Academic Board agreements with other validating, accrediting
               or professional bodies (or a collaborating centre) as appropriate;
              principles and policies on assessment as set out in this Handbook.
   b. A Board may appoint a Subsidiary Examination Board if this is necessary,
      normally in the context of collaborative arrangements.
   c. A Board may be responsible for more than one programme provided this is
      approved at validation.
   d. A Board may operate a two-tier, Award Board/Subject Board, structure.

   a. The membership of a Board of Examiners should comprise:

           a Chair (normally a senior academic member of the School, for
            example an Academic Team Leader),
           a Secretary,
           the programme leader (programme co-ordinator from a
            collaborative centre),
           academic staff who teach on the programme,
           the external examiner(s),
           the University Verifier for programmes operating under a Validation
            Service agreement.
b. A Progression Board may be chaired by a member of academic staff below
   ATL level with appropriate experience, expertise and independence, and
   appointed by the Dean. An external examiner is not required to attend.
c. An external examiner who is unable to be present at a Board meeting
   should subsequently indicate by written notification, via the programme
   leader, their involvement in the assessment process and their agreement
   to the decisions made at the Board. An external examiner need not attend
   Progression Boards and Referral Boards. (In the latter case they should be
   involved in the process.)
d. Module leaders (or their nominees) should attend meetings unless prior
   arrangements have been made with the Chair, to ensure that the business
   of the meeting can still be conducted properly and thoroughly. Other
   members of teaching staff should do their utmost to attend.
e. All members must uphold the confidentiality of all meetings of the Board
   of Examiners.
f.   A member of the Board is required to declare any personal interest,
     involvement or relationship with a student being assessed.
g. A student cannot be a member of a Board of Examiners or attend a
   meeting other than as a candidate for assessment (i.e. where a viva voce
   is held).

Terms of reference
a. The Board should meet:
           at the key stages in order to determine student progress or
           to consider referrals;
           to consider - as required - any case of student progress that is
            giving cause for concern and is likely to lead to the termination of a
            student's study on the programme (In these circumstances it will
            be the responsibility of the programme leader, or equivalent
            person, to notify the Registrar or his nominee of the need to
            convene such a meeting);
           when required by Academic Board to reconsider any
            recommendation regarding student assessment.
b. The business of the Board is to:
           confirm that the student assessments have been conducted in
            accordance with the appropriate Common Assessment Regulations
            (and any special validated dispensations);
           ensure that appropriate moderation arrangements are in place and
            have been used in the setting and marking of assessment tasks;
           receive and consider agreed marks and all other information
            pertinent to student assessment and to make decisions on the

           progress of or the conferment of the award on each student
          exercise academic judgement upon individual matters concerning
           student assessment arising;
          act on special situations and/or academic misconduct, and - in
           exceptional circumstances - academic appeals;
          confirm the procedures to be followed in notifying students of its
          consider any special issues concerning student assessment brought
           to its attention by an external examiner or member of the Board;
          consider any matter referred to it by the Academic Board.

Duties of key members of the Board
a. Chair
   It is the duty of the Chair to ensure that:
          attendance at the meeting enables the Board to fulfil its terms of
           reference (where this is not the case it is the Chair's responsibility
           to determine a course of action);
          Board members have all the information necessary for them to
           exercise a judgement, including student results and the outcome of
           the consideration of special situations and/or academic misconduct;
          assessments have been conducted in accordance with the
           appropriate Common Assessment Regulations (and any special
           validated dispensations);
          the Board takes into account all information pertinent to student
           assessment and that the Board's decisions in respect of progression
           and the conferment of the award result from informed and
           impartial academic judgement;
          proper procedures are in place to notify all students of the Board's
           decisions and that - in cases of student referral or failure -
           immediate and appropriate actions are taken to notify students of
           the decisions;
          together with the external examiner, sign the conferment
           statement or annotated results sheet;
          marks and award recommendations as confirmed by the board are
           prepared and checked in close collaboration with the minute-
          following the board that the minutes are checked and approved as
           a true record of the proceedings;
          feedback is provided to School Executive in accordance with School
           procedures on any issues arising from the Board to inform the
           monitoring and enhancement of practices and processes associated
           with the work of Boards of Examiners.
   New chairs are required to undertake the training provided for this role
   and existing chairs are expected to attend refresher training events.
b. Programme leader
   The programme leader is responsible for ensuring that:
          assessment activities are planned, including the dates of Board
           meetings and the moderation procedures, and this is agreed with
           the external examiner;
          the membership of the Board is agreed annually with the Chair,
           and that the membership list is accurately maintained for the

              programme and that the external examiner appointment(s) is valid
              to cover the appropriate assessments;
             the business of the Board is well defined and appropriate agendas
              are prepared (in conjunction with the Chair and Secretary);
             all information necessary for the Board to fulfil its duties has been
              collated, scrutinised and agreed before the meeting and that copies
              of this information are available to all members;
             the final decisions are accurately recorded and the Board's
              decisions are carried out efficiently and effectively.
   c. Secretary
      The Secretary will be expected to:
             make all the administrative arrangements for the effective
              operation of the Board, e.g. the notification of dates and times,
              room booking, the circulation of papers;
             record all decisions accurately;
             ensure all the necessary administrative actions are carried out
              following the meeting.

E. A note on plagiarism

The University takes very seriously the issues of plagiarism in its various forms,
which it defines as follows (the University's policy/guidance on academic
misconduct is accessible on the CADQ WebPages):

'The incorporation of material derived from the work (published or unpublished)
of another by unacknowledged quotation, paraphrase, imitation or other device in
any work submitted for progression towards or for completion of an award in a
way which suggests that it is the student's original work.'

Additionally staff take preventative measures to minimize the likelihood of
plagiarism through the following strategies:
      Providing clear guidance to students (a) on the nature of plagiarism, (b)
       on ways of checking that material has not been plagiarised inadvertently,
       (c) on the University's processes for investigating suspected plagiarism
       and (d) on the range of possible penalties;
      Using a variety of forms of assessment including those in which the
       student's involvement is evident and difficult to disguise, e.g. projects,
       portfolios, logs, presentation/performance, unseen examinations;
      Avoiding setting the same assignment for different cohorts.

Academic Misconduct Groups (AMG) have operated in all Schools since 2008/09.
AMGs operate to:
      make fair and consistent recommendations for penalties or actions in all
       confirmed cases of major misconduct;
      provide a retrospective review of minor cases, so that the School may be
       confident in the efficacy of its follow-up procedures;
      act as an advisory group to the School on academic misconduct.

For more details, see Section 17 of the ASQ Handbook.

F. A note on assessment in languages other than English

The language of assessment and teaching will normally be English. If, for valid
reason this is not the case, the programme team should ensure that standards
are not at risk. The programme team will be expected to demonstrate at
      how individuals with the necessary expertise in the appropriate
       language(s), subject knowledge and assessment methods will be identified
       and employed;
      how suitable external examiners fluent in the relevant language(s) will be
       identified; appointed and involved with the assessment process;
      If translation is used, how the reliability and validity of the assessment
       judgements arising from the marking of translated assessments will be

The moderation procedures for the programme should reflect the approved

G. A note on the assessment of students with disabilities

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the University has a duty to ensure
that disabled students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison
with their non-disabled peers. This duty applies to modes of teaching and learning
and to assessment methods. If a student is unable, through disability, to be
assessed by the normal methods set out in the programme specification, the
Board of Examiners may make reasonable adjustments to ensure that such
students are not substantially disadvantaged, provided that such adjustments
enable academic or other prescribed standards to be maintained.

It is the responsibility of the programme leader in consultation with module
leaders and referring to Student Support Services and Registry for guidance as
necessary, to:
      implement modes of teaching and learning which provide the student with
       an equal opportunity to acquire the stated learning outcomes;
      agree new or modified methods of assessment which will enable the
       student to demonstrate that they have acquired the stated learning

The programme leader should ensure that any adjustments to the assessment
methods are notified to the Board of Examiners, with due regard to requests for
confidentiality from students in relation to communication about the specific
nature of the disability.

H. University policy on feedback to students on assessments

1. Introduction
Constructive feedback is a core part of the learning process and has a variety of
purposes. The key purposes are to support students in reflecting on their
progress, to help them to enhance their future work and to help them become
increasingly independent in their learning. Underpinning these purposes is the
belief that assessment itself functions not only to evaluate learning, but also to
develop learning. In all of this, the shared responsibility of student and tutor must
be recognised.

The intended beneficiary of feedback is, of course, the student; however,
feedback may also be used by:
    module leaders in reflecting on the assessment strategy;
      personal tutors in advising their personal tutees;
      external examiners as part of their monitoring of standards and quality.

Feedback arrangements may be considered by external and internal reviewers in
Periodic School Review or Collaborative Review.

It is expected that feedback will be offered for all assessments (inclusive of
examinations and placement assignments). However, it is anticipated that the
type of feedback may vary considerably. For example, while individual feedback
might be appropriate in some circumstances, group or cohort feedback may be
more fitting in others.

2. Purposes of this policy
This policy is designed to ensure that:
      all students at NTU receive feedback for their assessments, as appropriate
       to context, within in a framework of other learning activities;
      students are informed of feedback timings, types and formats and of their
       role in engaging with feedback to develop their work;
      the feedback offered to students is related to learning outcomes and
       assessment criteria, and is consistent with the mark/grade awarded;
      the feedback received informs students on their progress and helps them
       to improve their future performance;
      students are enabled, by participating in feedback activities, to participate
       in the process of evaluating their learning and development; and
      feedback to students for their assessed work is seen as an integral part of
       the assessment process.
Programmes should have in place mechanisms for reviewing and monitoring the
nature and timeliness of feedback for all forms of assessment.

3. Terms
The following designations are used in this document, in referring to feedback:
    Type       the nature of feedback offered, for example, group, individual,
               tutor, peer, pre-task, post-task, on work-in-progress
    Format     the medium in which feedback is conveyed, for example, written,
               verbal, audio
    Method     type plus format
    Content    that which is expressed in feedback

4. Feedback characteristics
Given the principle that assessment and feedback are integral to learning and
teaching activities, then feedback methods may vary considerably, as appropriate
to context. However, in all instances, there should be clarity about the date by
which feedback will be provided and published feedback dates should be
honoured. In addition, all feedback offered should have the following
   a. Feedback should be appropriate to the assessment task and level of study.
   b. Feedback should relate clearly to the learning outcomes and the
      assessment criteria.

   c. Feedback should be developmental, as well as offering an overview of
   d. Feedback should be timely enough to feed into the next piece of work, as
      appropriate to context.
   e. In all instances, there should be clarity about the date by which feedback
      will be provided and published feedback dates should be honoured.
   f.   Tutors should ensure that students have opportunities to reflect on their
        performance and development, while recognising that it is each student‟s
        responsibility to take up these opportunities.
   g. In communicating feedback, or facilitating peer feedback, tutors
      should be mindful of the diversity of students on the programme.
   h. There should be equity in the provision of feedback to students.

5. Planning for feedback and assessment
The Programme Leader, with the support of the programme team, should engage
in annual assessment planning and create an Assessment and Feedback Plan.
(Guidance note: this is an extension of and additional to the Assessment
Schedule required for programme approvals.) This will include:

           i.    Assessment types
           ii.   Assessment dates
           iii. Feedback schedule and rationale, including:

                      o   Feedback types and formats
                      o   Feedback points and/or periods across the year
                      o   Where there will be opportunities for students to reflect on
                          feedback with their tutor
           iv. Return dates for student work and feedback

   b.    Thereafter, there should be ongoing reflection on this Assessment and
         Feedback Plan at key points of the year. It will be useful to regard the
         setting of and reflection on the Plan in the context of ongoing
         programme monitoring and annual reporting.

   c.    The Assessment and Feedback Plan should be communicated to students
         in the programme handbook, or equivalent in NOW, and in module

   d.    The module handbook, or equivalent in NOW, should articulate further
         guidance on assessment tasks, including:
                the learning outcomes to be assessed;
                the assessment criteria and how they relate to the intended
                 learning outcomes;
                guidance on the task;
                submission deadlines;
                any additional information on the arrangements for communicating
                 feedback and for the return of work.

     a. Programme teams should consider which feedback types and formats,
        or combination thereof, are fit for context and should articulate the

           pedagogic rationale for their decisions in the Assessment and Feedback
        b. The feedback schedule in the Plan should refer to all feedback that will
           be offered. This would include, for example, general cohort feedback,
           feedback offered in preparation for an assessment, on work-in-progress,
           or after an assessment task.
        c. The feedback schedule should balance the ethos of timeliness (Feedback
           characteristic 4d above), with recognition of constraints in undertaking
           marking and moderation.
        d. Where feedback is offered to students on drafts or other work-in-
           progress, then it is advisable to specify clearly the extent of this and the
           means by which it be done.
        e. It is advisable to emphasise that it is each student‟s responsibility to
           take up feedback opportunities and to engage with the feedback

6. Monitoring, evaluation and support
   a. Programme leaders/ATLs should put in place a regular review of the
      feedback provided across a programme/subject (and the mechanisms for
      offering such feedback).
   b. Staff should be in a position to outline their approach to strengthening the
      effective use of feedback.
   c. Programme teams should comment in Programme Standards and Quality
      Reports (PSQRs) on the significant outcomes (including enhancements) of
      their approach to provision of feedback (if appropriate in any given year).
   d. SASQCs should keep under review procedures for feedback to students on
      assessments and identify any salient points in the School annual report
      (SSQR), so that processes across the institution can be monitored and
      enhanced. Such salient points should be taken forward through the
      School‟s ILTES Action Plan. The Collaborative Provision Sub-committee
      (CPSC) will undertake such activities in respect of Validated Centres.
   e. In the five-yearly Periodic School Review, or in Collaborative Review,
      reviewers consider the methods and quality of the feedback provided to
      students within the School.
   f.    CADQ will advise and support staff by providing information and guidance
         on feedback to students for assessments.

I. University policy on moderation of assessments

1. Context
The University is committed to sustaining high standards of student achievement,
consistency in the standards of its awards and both rigour and fairness in the
assessment of students against those standards. In order to ensure that
standards remain appropriate and are met through the set assessments, systems
for the continuing monitoring and moderation of assessment processes and
outcomes are crucial.

2. Rationale
It is necessary to have a clearly articulated and consistently applied policy for
assessment moderation, in order that:

       assessments are related to the aims and aligned with the learning
        outcomes of programmes and modules;
       assessed student work is marked consistently across programmes and
       the outcomes of assessments are clear, reliable and valid; and
       fairness is achieved for students in all their assessment elements.

3. Assessment moderation policy
   a. Moderation of assessment starts at the initial stage of planning of
      assessment and extends through to the determination of marks and
      results. This policy contains 4 sub-sections relating to the stages of the
      moderation process, and requires the following responsibilities and
      activities to be undertaken.

   Moderating assessment planning and coherence
   b. Working within the overall School (or Collaborative Partner) assessment
      strategy, the programme leader has the lead responsibility for ensuring
      overall assessment coherence within the different levels of the programme
      and across the programme as a whole. Coherence should be checked
      before students receive the assessment details.
   c. The programme committee/team should review overall assessment
      coherence as part of the normal programme monitoring process and
      report on any action points within the PSQR. This report enables the
      School to consider standards and assessment procedures and processes
      across all programmes within its SSQR.
   d. In line with the terms of reference for Boards of Examiners, an opportunity
      should be provided at their meetings to discuss aspects of assessment
      design, tasks and coherence and provide advice to programme leaders,
      committees and teams on assessment issues that have arisen through the
      marking and moderation processes. The consideration of this item and the
      advice offered should be recorded in the minutes of the Board.

   Moderation of assessment design, tasks and methods
   e. All assessment tasks and supporting material should be checked by an
      academic peer, who might be the programme leader, the curriculum
      manager, a team leader, a mentor or another member of the module
      team. Where the assessment contributes to the classification of the final
      award, the external examiner might also be included as one of the
      academic peers. Programme committees/teams must specify and record
      who is responsible for undertaking this checking procedure. This peer
      moderation process should involve checking:
              the alignment of assessment with the relevant learning outcomes;
              the clarity of the task description;
              the clarity of any additional rubric or guidance notes accompanying
               the tasks;
              the criteria by which it is intended to mark the assessment;
              the available guidance for markers, e.g. model answers;
              the academic challenge of the tasks in relationship to the level;
              the workload/time requirements of the assessment tasks.
   f.   The agreed assessment information should then be systematically
        communicated by staff to students at the appropriate time to support their
        learning and achievement.

Moderation of assessment marking and results
g. The main effort in moderation of marking and results should be targeted
   at assessments which contribute to the final award.
h. Programme committees/teams are responsible for planning appropriate
   moderation and for ensuring clarity and explicitness of:
           the marking arrangements;
           the forms of moderation to be employed;
           the sample to be reviewed (size, range and threshold cases); and
           the nature of the sample to be referred to the external
i.   Moderation of marking is generally undertaken by reviewing a sample of
     students' marked work. This involves the moderator in reviewing (rather
     than marking in the full sense) an agreed sample of work to establish
     whether the marking is at the appropriate standard, consistent and in line
     with the explicit assessment criteria.
j.   This sampling process should concentrate at the boundaries of
     classifications and should normally involve between 10% and 25% of
     assessed student work, depending on the numbers of students within the
     cohort. For example, where there are more than 50 students, a 10%
     sample is appropriate and for cohorts under 50 the percentage sample
     should increase up to 25% according to the precise numbers. Where there
     are very large cohorts of students (100-200 and more) then the 10%
     sample guideline can be reduced, but the sample selected needs to be
     carefully constructed to ensure adequately robust moderation. Where a
     small cohort of students is involved, the proportion of the sample should
     increase appropriately.
k. Moderation can also be completed in specific instances through double or
   team marking. In this case student work is independently marked by more
   than one marker. Double or team marking can be undertaken as blind
   marking, where each marker is unaware of the marks allocated by the
   other(s), or as second marking, where all markers are aware of the marks
   they have assigned.
l.   Double or team marking should be used as the moderation process for
     dissertations and major projects/studio work at final award level.
m. At levels that contribute to the final award, the external examiner should
   monitor the moderation process at appropriate stages. The programme
   committee/team should indicate in their moderation planning precisely
   how the external examiner will be involved. Where a level contributes only
   a percentage to the final award, the involvement of the external examiner
   may include reviewing a sample of moderated student work, but may be
   limited to receiving for comment the assessment tasks and checking the
   final results spreadsheets. The nature of the external examiner
   involvement in such cases is a matter for negotiation between the
   programme leader and the external (also see para. q.iii) - the review of
   samples of assessed work undertaken by external examiners should
   normally take place on site.
n. Statistical analyses (means, standard deviations) should be undertaken as
   part of the moderation process to identify anomalies and trends, which can
   then be addressed by one or more of the preceding moderation
   techniques. Such statistical analyses can be effectively used to inform
   decisions of Boards of Examiners and the further development of the
   programme's assessment strategy.
o. Where assessments do NOT contribute to final award classifications,
   moderation should be focused at the pass/fail threshold, which is the

        crucial determinant for progression to the next stage of the programme. In
        cases where there are no students at that threshold, then the assessed
        work of the 5 nearest students should be moderated. Programme
        committees/teams may wish to extend the range of moderation in these
        non-qualifying assessments in relationship to particular issues of interest
        or concern.

   Outcomes of moderation processes
   p. Schools need to ensure that mechanisms are in place to ensure the
      validity of assessments and the resolution of differences in cases where
      the moderation procedures outlined in points 1 - 7 of this policy
      demonstrate unacceptable variation in assessment approaches and
   q. In cases where differences remain unresolved in the moderation of
      marking (for example, those occasions where the moderator's mark or
      review may indicate a significantly different outcome, rank order or
      distribution of assessments at the classification borderlines), the following
      procedure is recommended.
          i.    The marker and moderator should review the assessment criteria
                and their interpretation of them. If a divergence of understanding
                or interpretation is identified and resolved, re-marking and further
                moderation should be undertaken as appropriate.
         ii.    If no divergence in interpretation of assessment criteria is identified
                but a difference in marking remains or if an identified divergence
                remains unresolved or if re-marking and further moderation still
                identify inconsistency between marker and moderator, the matter
                should be referred to the programme leader, who should
                investigate the case and determine a course of action. This might
                      arranging for a second moderator to sample the student
                      arranging for a second marker to mark all the students'
                      marking the assignment(s) her/himself and recommending
                       these marks to the Board of Examiners.
         iii.   The external examiner should NOT be used to reconcile differences
                between internal assessors, but might be called upon to advise
                internal markers on their resolution of differences. The external
                examiner's role is to monitor the standards achieved by students
                on the programme and the consistency and effectiveness of the
                assessment processes. (see Section 7 of this Handbook on External
   r.   In implementing this policy staff should ensure that documentary
        evidence is always kept to enable demonstration of the moderation
        processes that have been used.

J. University policy on anonymous marking

1. Introduction
The following statement gives detail of the University's policy on anonymous
marking, the underpinning rationale, and the way in which it will be carried out.

2. Rationale

The assessment of a student's work without knowledge of the student's identity
(anonymous marking) is used to limit the possibility of grades or marks being
inadvertently influenced by factors other than the qualities of the work under
consideration. The University's adoption of anonymous marking in specified
circumstances is, therefore, intended to secure increased fairness for students
and enhanced reliability of marking.

For complete anonymity, a marker should not know the identity of a student until
after the grades for work assessed have been formally recorded.

While anonymous marking is relatively straightforward to undertake in relation to
formal written examinations and in some forms of coursework, there are other
assessed tasks for which the identity of each student is inevitably and
unavoidably available to the marker: examples include those requiring direct
observation of student performance and those tasks that are unique to each

3. University policy
It is University policy that anonymous marking should be used wherever possible
and appropriate – Validated Centres may implement anonymous marking.

This policy is implemented in the following ways.
   a. Anonymous marking is used for ALL timed written examinations, for which
      papers will be identified only by student numbers.
   b. It is the responsibility of each programme committee/team/subject area
      annually to identify and agree which of the remaining assessed tasks will
      or will not be marked anonymously and to have a clear rationale for the
      decision in each case.
   c. SASQCs have responsibility for ensuring that (a) programme
      committees/teams/subject areas are operating this policy and (b) systems
      are in place within the school to support anonymous marking and that
      staff receive clear guidance on the operation of those systems.

This policy will have to be sensitive to the needs of students with disabilities.

K. A note on the retention of student work

The University‟s Document Retention Schedule (available on the e-Central
webpages) sets out the policy on retaining student work.

L. Implementation of the policy
   a. SASQCs have oversight of the assessment strategy across all programmes
      and should ensure that there is a clear rationale for the application of not
      using anonymous marking in assessments other then by examination.
   b. ASQC will review its assessment principles and policies from time to time
      to ensure they meet best practice across the sector.


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