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Assessment Policy and Procedures pre September 2022

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Students studying prior to September 2022

The University’s Assessment Policy and Procedures defines a series of general principles and policies behind the assessment of individuals' knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills.

1. Introduction: the purpose of assessment

In line with the UK Quality Code for Higher Education Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning (QAA, 2013), assessment describes any processes that appraise an individual’s knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills. There are many different forms of assessment, serving a variety of purposes. These include:

  • promoting student learning by providing the student with feedback, normally to help improve his/her performance
  • evaluating student knowledge, understanding, abilities, skills or competencies
  • providing a mark or grade that enables a student's performance to be established, and may also be used to make progress decisions
  • enabling the public (including employers) and higher education providers, to know that an individual has attained an appropriate level of achievement that reflects the academic standards set by the awarding institution and agreed UK norms, including the frameworks for higher education qualifications. This may include demonstrating fitness to practise or meeting other professional requirements, as required by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies.

In addition, as a higher education institution with responsibility for the academic standards of awards made in its name, the University is required to have effective procedures for:

  1. designing, approving, monitoring and reviewing the assessment strategies for programmes and awards;
  2. implementing rigorous assessment policies and practices that ensure the standard for each award and award element is set and maintained at the appropriate level, and that student performance is properly judged against this;
  3. evaluating how academic standards are maintained through assessment practice, which also serves to encourage effective learning.

2. General Principles of Assessment

These principles draw on published guidance on best practice in assessment in higher education and reflect the UK Quality Code for Higher Education Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning (QAA, 2013).

2.1 Assessment will be reliable

Reliability refers to the need for assessment to be accurate and repeatable. This requires clear and consistent processes for the setting, marking, grading and moderation of assignments.

2.2  Assessment will be valid

Validity ensures that assessment tasks and associated criteria will effectively measure student attainment of the intended learning outcomes.

2.3  Information about assessment will be explicit and accessible

Clear, accurate, consistent and timely information on assessment tasks and procedures will be made available to students, staff and other external assessors or examiners.

2.4  Inclusive and equitable assessment

The University is committed to the provision of an environment which encourages and properly supports a diverse learning community.

The University will continue to work towards ensuring that assessment tasks and procedures are designed to be inclusive and do not disadvantage any group or individual (for example students with disabilities, students with varied cultural backgrounds). Programme teams should show that they are aware of the University’s regulations on the assessment of disabled students. The equality impact assessment carried out early in the process of planning a programme should explicitly cover assessment as well as other aspects of the learning and teaching strategy for the programme.

2.5  Assessment will address all of the programme/level aims and outcomes

Assessment tasks will primarily reflect the nature of the discipline or subject but will also ensure that students have the opportunity to develop a range of generic skills and capabilities.

2.6  The amount of assessed work required will be manageable

The scheduling of assignments and the amount of assessed work required will provide a reliable and valid profile of achievement without overloading staff or students.

2.7  Formative and summative assessment will be included in each course and at each level of study

Formative and summative assessment will be incorporated into programmes/levels of study to ensure that the purposes of assessment are adequately addressed. Many programmes will also wish to include diagnostic assessment.

2.8  Feedback will be an integral part of the assessment process

Students are entitled to feedback on all (submitted) formative and summative assessment tasks. The nature, extent and timing of feedback for each assessment task should be clear to students in advance.  The University has developed a set of 7 Feedback Principles that will be included in every Programme/Award Handbook (see Appendix A).

2.9 Each programme/level will include a variety of assessment types

Variety in assessment (including computer aided, and self and peer assessment) promotes effective learning and allows a range of intended learning outcomes to be appropriately assessed. In addition, varied assessment tasks support a range of approaches to learning and ensure that inclusivity is planned for and addressed.

2.9.1 Assessment tasks will be designed so as to minimise opportunities for plagiarism

While the primary responsibility for good academic practice lies with students, plagiarism can also be minimised through careful task design, explicit education and appropriate monitoring of academic misconduct.

3. Regulatory Requirements

3.1 Fulfilment of programme Outcomes

The purpose of summative assessment is to enable students to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the outcomes of the programme of study and that they have achieved the standard required for the award(s) they seek.  All programmes of study are subject to regulations, which relate the assessment requirements of the programme to its outcomes, and it is within those assessment regulations that the examiners make their judgements on the performance of students.

3.2 Confirmation of standard

Assessment should reflect the achievement of the individual student in fulfilling the award outcomes.  At the same time, assessment should relate that achievement to a consistent national standard of awards.  It should, therefore, be carried out by competent and impartial examiners, using methods which enable them to assess students fairly.   External examiners should be involved in the assessments which may count towards the classification of an award and their particular role is to ensure that the standard of the institution's awards is maintained.

3.3 Examiners' judgement

Students’ work will be marked in accordance with the published assessment referencing criteria. The calculation of degree and other classifications is normally undertaken automatically (within the appropriate award regulations) using the University’s Student Information System which gives an indicative classification for ratification by the Award Board.

3.4 Award Assessment Strategy

All awards shall develop an assessment strategy, which will be defined in the Programme Specification, to ensure that the defined outcomes of the award are explicitly and appropriately tested through a variety of methods in the context of the programme of summative modular assessments.  Where appropriate to the subject area, the assessment strategy may include a proportion of assessment under controlled conditions.

3.5 Modular Assessment Design

The choice of format of module assessment shall be appropriate to test the achievement of all the specified module learning outcomes and designed as an integral feature of the process of learning. When appropriate, assessment shall also be designed to meet the requirements of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies. Subject teams will be expected to develop assessment criteria which encourage the use of the full range of marks. In order to secure comparability of task and parity of treatment, Schools shall create appropriate procedures for the internal scrutiny and review of all summative assessment tasks prior to any required submission to External Examiners.

3.6 Volume of Modular Assessment

Module assessments shall occupy a specified proportion of the notional learning time allocation of the module/unit of study. Subject Areas will be expected to develop consistent guidelines on issues such as length, complexity, intellectual challenge and the volume of assessment. The overall award assessment strategy should set the context for the range and number of assessments. The specified learning outcomes should be assessed through the minimum of discrete tasks.  The same range of tasks will be used for the same module regardless of mode or location of delivery, although implementation may reflect experiential learning opportunities or cultural contexts where appropriate.

3.7 Summative Assessment and Formative Feedback on Modules

The study of all modules will include both summative assessment and formative feedback. Explicit criteria against which performance is to be assessed will be published in advance of all summative assessments.

A summative assessment may also provide the necessary formative function if the student receives detailed feedback normally no later than 20 working days (excluding days on which the University is officially closed) after submission and at least 10 working days prior to the deadline for any end of year/teaching block summative assessment.  Such feedback must be given against the published performance criteria for the assessment.

As appropriate, students will receive purposeful and systematic feedback on their learning and progress through participation in other activities that fulfil a formative function (for example, seminar presentations).  Such feedback may be provided in a variety of forms, including oral, written and electronic formats to individuals or to groups of students.

3.8  Annual Assessment schedule

Student & Academic Services (SaAS) will publish an annual assessment schedule, which will include the deadlines for:

  • Submission of first and resit examination papers (previously approved by External Examiners).
  • Publication of examination timetable to students.
  • Receipt of marks for entry into SITS.
  • Publication of results to students.

4. Moderation of Assignment Briefs and Examination Papers

Coursework and Examinations

The Head of Department has overall responsibility for overseeing the internal moderation of assignment briefs and examination papers for modules at all levels of study.

Internally moderated briefs and papers for those modules delivered both on campus and at partners and which contribute to the classification of students’ awards (levels 5 -8 and 4, where appropriate), both first sits and resits, will be sent to the External Examiner by the Student and Course Administrator for approval prior to their publication. Any changes recommended by the External Examiner, if accepted by the module leader, shall be incorporated into the final version of the brief or paper. If the proposed changes recommended by the External Examiner are not accepted by the module tutor, the module tutor should discuss the issue with both the Head of Department and the School Associate Dean Students before providing feedback to the External Examiner.

The module handbooks made available to students must include outline assessment briefs including the assessment criteria, approved by external examiners prior to publication, and both hand-in and return dates.

Arrangements for the submission of coursework shall be detailed in the course handbook made available to students studying both on campus and at Partners. Students must be directed to submit coursework through Blackboard, except in those instances where this is not possible (artefacts etc).

Schools and Partners will also take reasonable steps to ensure that all students are aware of the procedures and process with regard to claims for extenuating circumstances.

The University will ensure that information on the date, time and location of all examinations is published in good time.  Students are responsible for making themselves aware of the date, time and venue for all examinations that they are required to take and for presenting themselves at the examination room in good time before the examination is due to begin.

Coursework and Examinations – Partner Institutions

For franchised and validated provision Schools must ensure that:

Partners are provided with approved University examination papers, coursework tasks and other assessments in good time, where the partner is utilising assessments developed by the University.

School staff should review and approve the form and content of proposed examination papers, coursework tasks and other assessments developed by the partner before their submission to the External Examiner.  Designated staff will ensure that:

  • All assessment briefs are appropriate for the level of study and will enable students to demonstrate that they have met the identified learning outcomes for the module; and
  • Clear assessment criteria are produced for each assessment and that the criteria are closely linked to the learning outcomes being assessed. 

School staff should review comments submitted by the External Examiner on any proposed examination papers, coursework tasks and other assessments developed by the partner and liaise with the partner to respond to these.

In the case of common assessment tasks used by multiple partners, Schools should ensure that:

  • All partner course teams have a common understanding of the assessment brief; and
  • All course teams have a common understanding of the assessment criteria.

In the case of dual or joint awards, a shared understanding must be reached at validation regarding the assessment responsibilities of each partner in relation to maintaining oversight of the academic standards of those components of the programme for which they are responsible.  In many cases, subject experts from both institutions will work together to develop examination papers, coursework tasks and other assessments.

5. Anonymous Marking

All formal written examinations, including those at Partners, must be marked anonymously.

With the exception of assessed activities for which the anonymity of the candidate is not possible or desirable, all summative coursework assessments must also be marked anonymously.  Examples of assessments which may not be marked anonymously include:

  • Observed assessments, e.g. practice-based, presentations, etc.
  • Laboratory and fieldwork (although not assessments submitted by students which related to that laboratory or fieldwork)
  • Oral assessments
  • Work done on placement / work experience
  • Group work where the work is submitted individually but the performance of others contribute to the final mark

6. Moderation of Assessment Results

6.1   Introduction

6.1.1 Internal moderation is a process separate from that of marking and provides  assurance that assessment criteria have been applied appropriately, reflecting the  shared understanding of the markers (UK Quality Code for Higher Education Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning (QAA, 2013)).

6.1.2 Second marking is an aspect of examining and assessment which is important for a number of reasons. It is one of the means by which the University seeks to ensure that students are assessed accurately, fairly and with only those aspects of subjectivity which are academically justifiable.

6.1.3 The University has a policy of refusal to hear appeals from students against the marks awarded to students as this questions the academic judgment of examiners, although the University will hear appeals against failures in process. This is an essential protection of an important part of academic freedom but does depend on the integrity and efficiency of the assessment processes which are used.

6.2    Process

6.2.1   Moderation of module results involves marking and second marking by tutors and review by External Examiners. Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that this takes place. It is not the expectation that external moderation is required for referral assessments.

6.2.2  Tutors are responsible for ensuring that students have been fairly assessed in  accordance with the module assessment criteria and also for maintaining accurate records of students’ marks. Where two or more staff are involved in the assessment of a module, the module leader is responsible for moderating marks, entering those results into the University’s computerised student record system and checking them.

6.2.3 The 60 credit dissertation in masters programmes must be ‘double blind’ marked.  This means that the two markers must mark the work without having sight of the mark awarded by the other marker.  The markers must then determine an agreed mark and the form and content of the feedback.

6.2.4  All final year undergraduate dissertations (and not a sample thereof) must be second marked for verification purposes. The second marker will review all work already first marked, with annotations and/or marks still attached from the first marker in order to verify overall standards.  Verification means that the marks awarded by the first marker are scrutinised in order to verify that they are fair and consistent with the marking scheme for the assessment.

6.2.5 For all other forms of assessment, Head of Departments have overall responsibility for ensuring that a sample of all coursework submissions and examination scripts are second marked for verification purposes.

6.2.6 The sample for verification second marking is at least ten or ten per cent (whichever is the greater) of the scripts. Where the number of scripts is less than ten, then the marking sample should be set at 50%.  The size of the sample will only vary in exceptional circumstances, such as being a requirement of a professional, statutory or regulatory body.

6.2.7 Where there are significant discrepancies  between the first marker and second verification marker (either within classification boundaries or at a classification  borderline), and this discrepancy cannot be resolved between the two markers, this should be reported to the Head of Department to take appropriate action, which might include:

  • Requiring the first marker to review all assessment marks for the module in the  light of the second marker’s comments.
  • Asking a third marker to mark the same sample of work.
  • Requiring that all work in a particular class be re-marked.
  • Requiring that all work for the module be re-marked.

It must be noted that any amendment to the marks of the sample as a result of the internal moderation process must be applied to the rest of the cohort in order to ensure equity and consistency.

6.2.8  In those cases where the overall module mark is at the borderline of pass/fail or a
 classification threshold (module marks of 39, 49, 59 or 69), the module leader must  review the mark in advance of the moderation process.

6.3  Partners

6.3.1 Schools should ensure that appropriate staff review a sample of examination scripts and a significant proportion of summative coursework marked by each partner institution to verify the standard of marking for at least the first three years of (a) a new partnership or (b) the delivery of programmes in a distinctively new subject area by an existing partner. The sample of assessments must represent fully the cohort of students’ work and the spread of classifications in the module.

6.3.2 Following this period of three years, the partnership Due Diligence Group may decide that the partner can assume more responsibility for internal moderation.  The outcomes of annual monitoring and reports from External Examiners will inform the Partnership Due Diligence Group’s decision.  Schools wishing to delegate internal moderation to partners must make a recommendation to the Group.

7. Coursework Feedback

7.1  Background, purpose and scope

7.1.1 The UK Quality Code for Higher Education Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning (QAA, 2013) states that institutions should provide:

 “Feedback on assessment which is timely, constructive and developmental.” (p18)

7.1.2  The aim is to ensure that there is a consistent approach to giving feedback to students throughout the University and also to make students aware of the processes which staff are required to follow in order to provide effective feedback to support continual learning.

7.1.2  These arrangements apply to all taught undergraduate and postgraduate University awards, irrespective of the length or mode of delivery.

7.2 Key principles

7.2.1 Feedback is an important and integral part of the ongoing student learning process.  Although feedback is given in relation to an assessed task, it is a key mechanism which is used to inform future learning and to motivate students to continue learning. To be meaningful, feedback is:

  • Provided in a timescale which can inform subsequent assessments
  • Closely linked to the specified learning outcomes and assessment criteria
  • Used to identify areas for improvement
  • Provided in a format which is appropriate for the assessment and in line with discipline specific pedagogies

7.2.2  At the start of each award, and then periodically thereafter, students should be reminded about the importance of feedback to their learning.  As part of the annual monitoring process, the views of students on the methods, content and timing of feedback is gathered. These views are considered, and, wherever possible, used to further inform the feedback regime in each area.

7.2.3 Guidance on providing high quality feedback to students is provided through the 7 Feedback Principles (Appendix A).

7.3 Definitions

7.3.1  Feedback refers to any comments (both written and verbal) on an assigned task. This can either be formative or summative. 

7.3.2 Formative feedback does not contribute to a formalised, recorded mark and is normally used as an ongoing mechanism to enhance the development and progress of students.  Examples of the way in which formative feedback might be given are:

  • Written feedback
  • Oral feedback in class
  • Online assessment exercises
  • Computer generated audio feedback
  • Peer feedback
  • Self-assessment

7.3.3.  Summative feedback is always formalised and recorded.

7.4 Content of feedback

7.4.1   Whilst accepting that each subject gives feedback in a way that is appropriate for their  area, the following precepts are expected to be observed by all staff who provide  feedback relating to assessment:

  • Feedback is sufficiently detailed to inform future learning and development.
  • Summative feedback must directly relate to the intended learning outcomes for a module so that the student can be given confirmation as to whether or not each one of these has been met.
  • Wherever possible, feedback includes information about the positive aspects of students’ work, as well as the areas for development.
    7.4.2  All summative assessment feedback for on-campus students must be provided electronically, regardless of the method of submission.

7.5 Timing of feedback

7.5.1   Students will normally receive feedback on all their assessments within 20 working days following the date of submission.  For some assessments the feedback period will be less than 20 working days.  However, it may be the case that the 20 day rule for some assessments cannot be met for justified reasons (for example, modules on which a large number of students are enrolled).  However, it is anticipated that this will apply to only a small number of modules and, in those cases, the feedback return period will not exceed 25 days.

7.5.2 Any information on marks or performance that is provided to students prior to completion of moderation and approval by Boards of Examiners must include an explicit statement that the marks are provisional, and subject to change by moderation, and the decision of the Board of Examiners.

7.5.3  All students are informed about the assessment and feedback schedule. This information is normally communicated to students through module and/or award handbooks.

7.5.34 As part of a University-wide agreed service standard, all feedback on summative assessments is given to students normally within four working weeks. 

7.7 Communication to students

7.7.1  In order to manage expectations, information about the nature and extent of feedback and the timescale for this to occur must be made available to all students. This is normally done through module handbooks.

7.7.2  Prior to commencing an assessment, students are made aware of assessment criteria, marking schemes, the content and structure of agreed feedback templates.

7.7.3  The planned schedule of assessment and feedback is explicitly communicated to students.  This is normally achieved via module/award handbooks issued to students at the beginning of the academic year, and tutors are required to signpost students to where this information is available (electronic and, where appropriate, in hard copy).

7.7.4  Any unforeseen changes to the method and timing of feedback are communicated to students at the earliest opportunity. In all cases, this must be before an assessment is taken.

8. Introduction and rationale

8.1.1 Having access to post examination feedback makes a significant contribution to the on-going learning process of students.  Due to the variety of subject areas and the wide range in the size of student cohorts, post examination feedback may take a variety of formats. As a minimum, however, generic feedback must be made available to all students who take written examinations.

8.1.2  Feedback must also be given in a timely way so as to inform the future performance of students in either referrals or subsequent examinations.  The manner in which post examination feedback is provided should be  made explicit at the start of every academic year and communicated to students to ensure transparency of the process.

8.2 Definition and context

8.2.1  Examinations are regarded as time-limited, formal, summative assessments which normally occur at the end of a module. If class test scripts are not normally returned to the student, then they too are covered by the provisions of this policy.

8.2.2  For final year students, feedback should be provided on examinations and class tests that occur part-way through the year (normally at the end of semester 1). Where appropriate, feedback on examinations at the end of the last teaching block in the final year should be provided in the form of generic, group feedback through Blackboard, the University’s VLE.

8.3   Feedback methods available to subject areas

8.3.1  Although post-examination feedback is guaranteed in all areas that use this method of summative assessment, this takes a variety of formats and may be either generic or personalised, dependent on the strategies agreed by each subject area. This decision is dependent on a number of factors including the nature of the subject, the nature of the examination, student needs and the numbers of students in each cohort.

8.3.2  As part of the annual process of curriculum planning, subject areas select the method of post-examination feedback.  Examples of how this feedback might be provided include:

  • Post examination tutor-led workshops, allowing students to have access to their own individual scripts and relevant examiner/marker comments.
  • Post examination workshops whereby tutors provide generic commentary on common mistakes and key learning points relating to each question.
  • Individual feedback sheets for each student, providing detailed comments on the strengths and areas for development in relation to the specific questions.
  • Access to model answers for all questions, giving specific details of the marking scheme adopted,
  • Opportunity to request individualised one-to-one feedback from the marking tutors for each student.
  • Generic feedback provided through the VLE which may or may not be time-limited.

8.4  Timescales for feedback

Examination feedback should be provided as soon as possible after the relevant examination and in advance of the next examination period for the relevant cohort.

9. Terms of Reference of Assessment and Awards Boards

Single-Tier Award Board

Each named course will have a single-tier Award Board to receive module results and confirm progression and award decisions. The Award Board will normally meet at points of progression and completion within a course, and will operate within the Staffordshire University Academic Award Regulations.


The constitution of the Award Board comprises:

Dean of School or nominated Associate Dean for the courses under consideration (Chair)
The Course Leader(s) for the courses under consideration
A representative of each subject area contributing core or option modules to the courses under consideration
The Award External Examiner(s) for the courses under consideration
The Student & Course Administrator (Secretary)

Terms of Reference

The Award Board is empowered to:

a) receive confirmation of module results, following moderation, to ensure that standards are comparable to those of cognate subjects both within the University and in other higher education institutions;
b) confirm decisions on progression and awards;
c) confirm decisions on termination of registration, along with any intermediate awards, 
d) approve, for release to students, results and any associated recommendations on the retrieval of assessments;
e) confirm the application of compensation;
f) receive the outcomes of Academic Misconduct Panels and to confirm the agreed recommendation;
g) receive the outcomes of Extenuating Circumstances claims and confirm the recommendation;
h) inform the External Examiner Annual Report regarding the health and standards of the courses under consideration.  

10. Publication of Results

10.1 The Officer from Student & Academic Services (SaAS) present at a Board of Examiners will record the Board’s decisions on the progression of students and the awards for which they are recommended.

10.2 SaAS is responsible for the publication of official results to students following the meeting of Boards of Examiners. Publication of results will be made electronically via the Evision student portal (SOLE) and will include access to individual module results, the progression decision and the award agreed by Boards of Examiners.

10.3 It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain his or her results.

10.4  As examination results are personal data, student results must not be displayed on notice boards and students should be encouraged to access their results via the Evision student portal. Results should not be disclosed over the telephone, unless a suitable security system is in place to ensure that the caller is in fact the student concerned.

10.5  When the Award Board has confirmed student results, SaAS will provide the student with an official transcript, access to the HE Achievement Record and award certificate (where appropriate) .

11. Ownership of Students' Assessed Work

11.1  Students hold the intellectual property inherent in all work produced for assessments, but the material produced by students for assessment (essays, projects, examination scripts, dissertations, artworks, computer disks, etc) is the property of the University, and may be retained pending confirmation of marks awarded by Examination Boards, possible appeals and quality audits. With the exception of examination scripts, the University will endeavour to return to students any artefacts or hard copy dissertations whenever a student explicitly requests this. Arrangements for returning assessed work to students are the responsibility of individual tutors.

11.2  Assessed coursework that has not been collected by the student will be retained by the University for six months after the relevant Examination Board, after which time it may be disposed.

Equality issues have been taken into account during the development of this policy and all protected characteristics have been considered as part of the Equality Analysis undertaken.

Appendix A Staffordshire University 7 Feedback Principles

Staffordshire University 7 Feedback PrinciplesBecause of these principles you, the student, can expect:

1. Be an interactive process involving student-tutor and student-student dialogue

There should be an agreed point of reference and common starting point between students and staff as to what constitutes the purpose and use of feedback as part of a learning process. The content of this originates from the knowledge and professional expectations of the subject discipline.  Determining the common starting point is an iterative process emerging out of interactive dialogue between staff, students and their peers, where all participants challenge and are open to each other’s views.  

  • To agree with staff and other students on why you will get feedback
  • To debate with other students
  • To learn from other students
  • To debate with lecturers and other staff
  • University staff to learn from you
  • Every conversation about your studies to be a type of feedback you can learn from (we are an Academic Community)
  • To get feedback throughout your course
  • To also get specific and timely formal written feedback from lecturers on your marked assessments

2. Facilitate the development of self assessment and reflection

The feedback should generate a series of questions for the student which makes  them think about their learning now, and what they need to do to develop their learning in the future.  This will enable them to understand the purpose of the feedback in each specific context; create the capacity to developing evaluative judgement; the ability to review their own performance against professional and academic criteria; and to think about learning strategies they need to develop in the future.  

  • To ask yourself new questions about your learning
  • To ask yourself new questions about your subject
  • To improve your understanding of your own thoughts
  • To improve your ability to see the worth of other people’s work and thoughts
  • To improve your ability to evaluate your own work and the work of others
  • To become better at working in order to meet specific goals or targets
  • To get better at working out what types of feedback you need and working out when you need feedback

3. Clarify for students and staff, through dialogue, what good or bad performance actually is in the assignment or task.

This involves identifying and justifying the strengths and achievements of the assignment, artefact or task under discussion.  This should also then lead to outlining how changes and improvements may be made, through reference to discussion around what constitutes the criteria for good performance and how the outcomes of the task have been met.  Students need to be aware that feedback is a process that can take place at any time or place, and isn’t restricted to formal learning situations.

  • To get better at seeing where your work is good and where it needs improvement
  • To get better at seeing where other people’s work is good and where it needs improvement
  • oT get better at giving people help to improve their work
  • To get better at accepting and using help from other people to improve your own work
  • To discuss how ideas like “good” and “bad” relate to marking criteria
  • To get and give feedback wherever you can: not just in tutorials or seminars

4. Be developmental, progressive and transferable to new learning contexts

The dialogue and understanding that emerges from the feedback should be applicable both to the current debate and also contain elements that are able to be translated to a range of current and future learning situations. As the student progresses through their learning journey they should be developing a more sustained and sophisticated approach to their learning, culminating in the expression of the graduate attributes appropriate to their level and subject specialism.

  • Your feedback to be relevant to your course
  • Your feedback to be relevant to the way your wider subject area is developing
  • Your feedback to give you useful ideas for ways of doing future learning
  • Your feedback to help you get a deeper understanding of your subject
  • Your feedback to help you develop your overall thinking

5. Be ongoing and embedded in the learning process

Feedback isn’t simply an activity that takes place after assessment – it isn’t something that is simply done to students!  Feedback that is effective and timely occurs when students know when they need it, recognise what they want it for, and know how to ask for it in a way that is appropriate to their needs.  It is multi faceted both in terms of content and format. 

  • To give and receive feedback frequently
    To learn to recognise when it would be useful for you to get feedback
  • To learn to recognise what type of feedback it would be useful for you to get
  • To learn how to ask for appropriate feedback
  • To recognise that there are many appropriate ways of giving feedback

 6.Motivate, build esteem and confidence to support sustainable lifelong learning

Feedback needs to point out what has been done well, both in terms of the task process and the product. Feedback needs to offer ‘do-able’ actions for future learning/work, so that students are able to improve. Modules/awards need to engage students with multiple feedback opportunities.


  • To get, and give, praise for things that have been done well
  • To get ideas that will help you improve your future learning and work
  • To give ideas that will help other people to improve their future learning and work
  • To get a lot of chances to receive and give feedback in a variety of ways

 7.  Support the development of learning groups and communities

Good feedback – as outlined in Points 1- 6 - should create the environment whereby effective and productive learning is taking place, leading to the emergence of a flourishing learning community. 


  • To be part of an improving learning community
  • To be personally responsible for helping that community get even better
  • To see other people also taking personal responsibility for helping the community to get even better

Appendix B

Generic Assessment Criteria

The University’s generic assessment criteria draw together the university eight learning outcomes into three groups, and adds a further criterion relating to professional requirements. Separate criteria have been provided for each academic level.  This information can be used by both students and staff to explain how work will be assessed and assists in the provision of written feedback which aligns to the university learning outcomes statements and the percentage grade awarded.

Learning outcomesFirst classUpper secondLower secondThirdFail
90-100%80-89%70-79%60-69% 50-59%40-49% 30-39%20-29%Below 20%

Knowledge and Understanding



demonstrating a
highly-detailed understanding of the issues and methodologies, concepts, theories and/or data and the link to with other fields of study;appreciation of the uncertainty, and limits of knowledge. Exceptional presentation and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative  data.
An outstanding
answer demonstrating a detailed understanding of the issues and methodologies, concepts, theories and/or data; awareness of the uncertainty of knowledge. Excellent presentation and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data. 
knowledge and understanding of the issues and methodologies, concepts, theories and/or data and its inter-relationship with other subjects. Very good presentation of qualitative and quantitative data.
Good knowledge
and understanding
of the issues and
methodologies, concepts, theories and/or data. Some understanding of limits of knowledge. Good presentation and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data.
Sound knowledge
and understanding
of the issues and
methodologies, concepts, theories and/or data. May contain errors and/or discussion of irrelevant issues. Adequate presentation and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data.
Satisfactory knowledge and understanding of
the key issues raised by the question but some elements of knowledge missing. Limited presentation and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data.
Unsatisfactory, but shows a limited grasp of some
subject. Limited awareness of limits of knowledge, or ability to present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data. 
An attempt to answer the
question, but
without any significant grasp of material or appropriate skills. Minimal application of knowledge, or use of information. 
No answer or an answer which is totally irrelevant or fundamentally wrong. Minimal or no evidence of learning.
Problem Solving 
Independent thinking, rigorous argument and an impressive use of evidence. Thorough and accurate analysis of subject with evidence of breadth and depth of study. Excellent application of theory to problem. Outstanding analysis displaying independent thought and strong, well-organised argument and highly competent application of evidence and theory to solve problems. Excellent analysis displaying independent thought and strong and well-organised argument, competent application of evidence and theory to solve problems. A very good analysis and well- organised argument, very well supported by evidence.
Evidence applied well to provide solution to problems.
Good analysis and argument, well supported by evidence. Good application of evidence and theory to solve problem. Arguments and analysis adequate, accurate and supported by evidence, but may be superficial or limited.
Some application of
evidence and theory to solve problem.
Argument and analysis may be illogical, irrelevant, or contradictory in places and/or unsupported by evidence. Limited application of evidence and theory to solve problem.  Brief, irrelevant or deficient argument and analysis; unsubstantiated generalisations
. Little or no attempt to draw conclusions. Little or no attempt to apply evidence and theory to
solve problem. 
Absence of analysis and argument. No evidence of application of knowledge to solve problem. Or no answer offered.
Communication Reflection  Exceptionally effective communication skills appropriate to the level of study, task, audience and discipline. Exceptional demonstration of managing own learning and initiative, learning ability, qualities or skills necessary for future study.   Extremely effective communication skills appropriate to the level of study, task, audience and discipline. Excellent demonstration of managing own learning and initiative , learning ability, qualities or skills necessary for future study.  Highly effective communication skills appropriate to the level of study, task, audience and discipline. Extremely good demonstration of managing own learning and initiative, learning ability, qualities or skills necessary for future study.  Very effective communication skills appropriate to the level of study, task, audience and discipline. Good demonstration of managing own learning and initiative, learning ability, qualities or skills necessary for future study.   Effective communication skills appropriate to the level of study, task, audience and discipline. Some demonstration of learning ability necessary for future study.   Adequate communication skills appropriate to the level of study, task, audience and discipline but with evident weaknesses. Adequate demonstration of learning ability necessary for future study.  Unsatisfactory communication skills appropriate to this level of study. Poor level of learning ability necessary for future study.  Some evidence of communication skills appropriate to this level of study. Limited or no evidence of managing own learning.   Limited or no evidence of the communication skills appropriate to this level of study.
Limited or no evidence of managing own learning.

(Not usually
weighted and
usually a
component of

 Meets the
competencies or
standards of proficiency required by professional/ statutory or regulating bodies. 
 Meets the
competencies or
standards of proficiency required by professional/ statutory or regulating bodies. 
 Meets the
competencies or
standards of
proficiency required by professional/ statutory or regulating bodies. 
 Meets the
competencies or
standards of
required by
professional/ statutory or regulating bodies.
  Meets the
competencies or
standards of
required by
professional/ statutory or regulating bodies.
 Meets the
competencies or
standards of
required by
professional/ statutory or regulating bodies.
 Fails to meet the competencies or standards of
proficiency required by professional/ statutory or regulating bodies.
 Fails to meet the competencies or standards of
proficiency required by professional/ statutory or
regulating bodies.
 Breach of
of individuals/
from a practice
learning setting.