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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 offered. For undergraduate students, you are permitted up to three opportunities to take the assessment for a module. For postgraduate students it is up to two opportunities. 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 all your examinations, or undertake the reassessment you have been set 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 'Optional' 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 Centre before submitting an appeal.

[STUDENTS WHO GRADUATED IN PREVIOUS YEARS 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 2007, 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.
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 Rules of Assessment pages.

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.

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.  You should start with your department, but the Students’ Union Advice Centre would be of help if you are considering appealing.

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 for your stage of study 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 submitting the appeal form.

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?

The 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 linked from the Rules of Assessment page.

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 relevant rule which can be accessed from rules of assessment web page. 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 course.






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