Frequently Asked Questions
Rules of Assessment
General Rules of Assessment
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are Rules of Assessment?
Rules of Assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the
University uses to calculate your course progression and final results. You
can find them on this web site, and they are arranged into different
documents by course type and year (known as
‘Stage’), so you should look for
the one relevant to you.
Will I automatically be given a chance to
be reassessed if I fail a single module?
The Rules of Assessment allows students to be reassessed in a single
module, so in most cases reassessment in a single module would be
undergraduate students, you are permitted up to three attempts at a module. For
postgraduate students it is up
to two attempts. In both cases however, if you simply do not attempt
an examination or do not turn up, then you may not be
offered the reassessment attempt (if you do not
attend any of your examinations, then you are likely to be
required to withdraw from the University). It is up to the Board of Examiners
to decide whether or not a student is reassessed.
Will my marks be capped (marks limited) if I
have to take reassessment?
Probably. The capping of marks (i.e. limiting
the maximum possible mark to a pass mark) is what happens if you are given a
re-assessment opportunity. For undergraduate students, the “cap” is at the
pass mark, which is 40. For postgraduate students, the
pass mark and the cap are at 50. However, if your reassessment is
regarded as a “first-sit” attempt because you had extenuating circumstances,
then the marks will not be capped.
Capping is only applied to the module aggregate mark, and not to the
reassessed assignment or exam itself.
What is the difference between a core,
compulsory and optional module?
When a module is 'Core'
within your course structure, it means that the module must be taken
and passed for you to either progress to the following stage, or
pass the course. A 'Compulsory'
module must be taken (attempted) but does not have to be passed. An
module is where the course structure permits students to
choose a module from a list. It is treated in the same way as a 'compulsory'
module: it must be taken (attempted) but it does
not have to be passed in order to proceed or graduate.
You should note that although we use the term 'pass' a module here, we are
using it in the broadest of terms. There are other requirements in the rules
of assessment that require a module to be passed even when it is not Core. For
example, a stage mark of 40 is required for First year (or students in the
first stage) and a mark of no lower than 20 in a module. Therefore, although
a module might not be called a Core module, you would still need to pass it
in order to fulfil the other rules of assessment requirements.
You should, however, always take a holistic view
of your course/award requirements. Just because a fail
in a compulsory module is permitted, does not mean that you can fail all of them
and still progress. You will still need the minimum
number of credits to proceed / for the award. Passing all Core modules
is required in addition to the requirement to pass
a given number of credits.
To find out which modules are core, compulsory or optional in your course, you
should refer to the programme specification. You may find this information
either in your departmental student handbook, or in the
programme specifications available on the web.
I don’t think my marks are correct.
Is there a way to get them checked?
If you suspect there is a problem with your marks then you should speak
to your relevant Department or School, where they can check if there was an
administrative error in the recording of marks.
There is no process to request that an exam script be
remarked. This is a check for administrative issues only.
Will I get extra marks if I hand in an
extenuating circumstances form?
No. Boards of Examiners are not permitted to “impute”, make up or guess
marks that you might have achieved, even if you think you
might have done better.
Boards use other methods to take into account extenuating circumstances,
such as permitting further reassessment opportunities for uncapped marks.
Furthermore, a Board may accept your extenuating circumstances as valid and
serious, but decide not to take any action because it might not be
appropriate to do so in your particular circumstances.
Boards are looking for clear evidence that your performance has dropped from
your normal standard due to your extenuating circumstances. This might not
be evident when they look at your marks. You can check information on
extenuating circumstances on-line for further information.
The Board of Examiners has decided that I
am required to withdraw with immediate effect. What does this mean?
This means that unfortunately, you have not passed enough credits
during the year in order to progress to the next stage of
study or graduate, and that you are not being
offered any further reassessment opportunities and have failed the course.
You will be informed if you are eligible for another award (we call them
‘exit awards’) such as a Diploma or Certificate of Higher
Education, or PG Diploma or Certificate.
There are places that you can go to for advice and support on what to do
next, such as the Students’ Union Advice Centre and Student Support.
I am not happy with the decision of
the Board of Examiners. What can I do to change this?
If you believe you have grounds to challenge the decision of the Board of Examiners,
then you are permitted to make an appeal.
You should use the appeal
process when you would like to
challenge final results, such as a degree class.
Undergraduate students may 'Consult with the Dean' before taking this route in cases where you
wish to challenge a progress decision (such as being required to withdraw or
undertake reassessment). There are very limited
grounds for making an appeal and
a strict process, including deadlines, so you
should read those carefully or seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice
[GRADUATES ONLY] The
classification of my award does not appear to be correct against the
published Rules of Assessment. Should I have been given something else?
Your degree classification, both at undergraduate and
taught postgraduate level, would normally be based on the Rules of
Assessment at the time that you undertook your course. If for instance, you
graduated in 1998, then the currently published rules will not have applied
to you. In the case of taught postgraduate students, for example, the award
of a 'Merit' over a standard pass did not exist for most departments prior
to 2007. Therefore, even if your marks would be in the Merit range under the
published rules, you would not have been entitled to a Merit because the
rules could not be retrospectively applied and the decision would have been
based on what was available at the time.
How can I find out what marks I need to
get for a class of award (degree)?
The rules which explain how your degree class will be calculated can be
found in the Rules of Assessment documents for your particular course and
year. For three-year honours degrees for students
graduating in July 2011, section ‘3.3 Award Classification for Three Year
Degrees’ of the 2009/10 rules is relevant to you.
It is important that when looking at the Rules of Assessment,
you make sure that you are looking at the set of
rules which apply to you. The Rules of Assessment documents for
undergraduate students are divided into sections by type of course (e.g. 3
year degree) and by stage (year). The rules for “award classification” are
usually found at the end of the documents and can be accessed from the
How can I find out what marks I need to
pass the stage (year)?
The relevant rules of assessment documents contain this information. You
should refer to the sections in the relevant rules of assessment document(s)
which talk about ‘progression’ which are specific to the stage that you are
in. To pass a stage of study you need to obtain a minimum
number of credits at the required level. Credit is awarded
by passing a module at the required level (pass mark).
IMPORTANT: You should note that although the University has a generic set of
rules for undergraduate and postgraduate students, there are also variations
to those rules which are course specific. For
example, as well as passing a module with a mark of 40 overall, you may be
required to pass the exam or coursework with a minimum mark also. You should
make sure that you check if you have any such variations for your
course which you can find in Appendix A of the
Undergraduate Rules of Assessment. If you do not meet these additional
requirements you may not be able to pass the stage or to graduate.
Can I still get a 1st class degree with a
module mark at a 3rd?
Yes. Under the Arithmetic Average method
set out in the Rules of Assessment, you
need to obtain a degree mark average of 70% or over, and there is no
stipulation that students are not permitted to have anything below a 3rd
class module aggregate. It means that you will need to have done well enough
in other modules to increase your average. You will not
be able to obtain a 1st class degree under the other - Dominant Quality -
method of calculation.
I had problems during my end-of-stage
exams. Will my problems be taken into account?
Your difficulties will only be taken into account if you submit an
Extenuating Circumstances form by the published deadline.
The Board(s) of
Examiners considers all submitted forms and evidence.
(LAW SPECIFIC) Would having failed a particular
module affect my chances of having a qualifying law degree?
Possibly. In order to obtain a Qualifying Law Degree (referred to as QLD)
students must pass the ‘foundations of knowledge’ subjects. The subjects are
typically the topics covered in your compulsory modules, except
Jurisprudence. If you would like to know what these are speak to someone in
the School of Law. However, you can still obtain a Law degree without it
being a qualifying one for the purposes of a legal career in England and
Wales. It would still be a valid academic qualification.
You can also refer to the Solicitors Regulation Authority web pages for
further information on their requirements.
I have failed my degree having reached the
end of the final stage. Can I get an award for the credits I have passed?
Possibly. The University offers Diplomas and Certificates as awards to students who have not met the requirements
for their registered honours award, but have met the requirements of another
award. The requirements for those awards are published on the
Rules of Assessment website.
Diplomas are the most common awards given to students
who leave/fail near the end of their 3 or 4 year course.
The Board of Examiners has given me
more than one choice of reassessment. Where can I go for advice?
There are several sources of help and advice
available to students provided by the University and the Students’ Union.
Student Support and the Students’ Union Advice Centre are good places to
start. You can also speak to your academic department.
You must make your decision on reassessment by
submitting your request on-line, and by the published deadline.
I have failed the stage, but I don’t
understand why because I have got a mark of 40 in each of my module aggregate
marks and a stage mark of 40?
It is likely that you have additional rules of assessment requirements
for your course that you have not met.
You need to look at
Appendix A of the undergraduate rules of assessment which will show any
additional course requirements that you may not have met.
I have been told to repeat the whole
stage (year) but I only want to re-sit examinations over the summer. Is
there a way I can do this?
If you have been told to repeat the stage following
the examination period in May/June, then it is probably because you have failed more than 60
credits. The only viable alternative is to take re-sit examinations
without attendance (possibly with coursework depending on what you failed), which
would mean intermitting for the stage and returning only to do the exams.
Although this would save you money on tuition fees and other associated
costs, it does mean that your module aggregate marks would be capped at the
pass mark and you will not be able to attend tuition.
If you would like to have an alternative type of reassessment rather than
repeating the stage, then you should “consult the Dean” by completing and
What happens if I fail my reassessment?
Will I have a chance to take it again?
If you are in the unfortunate position of having failed reassessment,
then you may be offered further reassessment. This reassessment
could take different forms depending on the time of year that you took the
reassessment, and how many credits you failed. For example, in a typical situation
where a student failed reassessment in September, then the next reassessment
opportunity would be in the following May/June examination period. You will
be told after the release of results, whether or not you are given another
chance at reassessment.
There are limits to the number of assessment
opportunities a student may be
offered. Undergraduate students can only be assessed up to
three times for
a module. Furthermore, there is an additional restriction that students must
complete a full-time undergraduate degree within the length of time their
course takes as standard, plus a maximum of two years. This means that a
student might not be able to have a third attempt at a module
if they have
already taken too many additional years during the length of the course.
How can I find out what marks I need
to get for a pass, merit and distinction?
Rules of Assessment documents set out the requirements for a Pass, Merit and Distinction, applicable to your course.
Do I have to pass anything in addition to
the standard pass requirements?
Possibly. Some awards have a variation to the rules of assessment, and
they are displayed as separate documents on the rules of assessment web
site. It is important to check whether there is an
approved variation for your course so that you are clear
about the requirements to pass. You will be able to find the documents at
the bottom of the
I was found guilty of an academic offence and
had to resubmit some coursework. If I fail this module can I be
reassessed in it?
No. A resubmission of any assessment is counted as a
second-submission for postgraduate students. So,
if despite having resubmitted the assignment you still fail the module, you will not be permitted
further reassessment in that module.
If I fail the course can I repeat it?
No. The Rules of Assessment for postgraduate taught awards
only allow reassessment for up to a maximum of 40 credits worth
of modules for taught masters degrees. The second attempt
is at the assessment only and does not include repeating (attending) the
module. The Board of Examiners
will inform you if you are eligible for reassessment (by
having met the minimum requirements as set out in the rules) once it has considered
your marks. For further information on second attempts, you should read the
rules of assessment applicable to your course.
What happens if I fail my dissertation?
If you fail the dissertation it is possible that the Board of Examiners
will permit a resubmission of the work, provided that you meet the criteria
as set out in the
rules of assessment document. Alternatively, if you have
obtained enough credits in your taught modules, you may be eligible for
another award such as a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate.
I failed a module with
a mark above 40, but below 50. The module was condoned, but why does my
transcript not show that I have been given the credits?
The Rules of Assessment state that students may have a
module condoned, where they achieve a mark of between 40 and 49 but in that
situation credit is not awarded. This means that although you would have
been permitted to continue on the course and may still be eligible for your
award, that module will not provide you with credits towards your overall