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Quality Manual
   
   
  

Marking and Grading

 

1. Internal and External examiners

All assessments for courses and modules leading to a University award must involve both one or more internal examiners and one or more independent external examiners. In addition, all members of academic staff will act as internal examiners in the subjects in their School. 

The School has a duty to ensure that any individuals acting as internal examiners who are not academic staff of the University, are fully briefed and have relevant experience and sufficient knowledge of their subject area to assess students' knowledge and skills (see Policy on Occasional Teachers).

Postgraduate students with teaching responsibilities may also act as internal examiners (see Use of University of Nottingham Students for Teaching). In respect of any assessment carried out by postgraduate students with teaching responsibilities, Heads of School should ensure that:

  1. they are supervised by a named member of academic staff
  2. they are provided with training appropriate to their role in the assessment process
  3. such assessments as contribute to the final module/course mark:
    • are moderated by a member of academic staff
    • are limited, as far as practicable, to those elements of assessment that do not contribute to the degree classification
    • such assessments which do not contribute to the final module/course mark are second marked where appropriate on a sampling basis by a member of academic staff.

The University of Nottingham policy on Appointment and Responsibilities of External Examiners can be found online. Students should be informed by their School when and how they will receive results and the various stages of the process of distributing results.

2. Marking Criteria

It is recognised that there is a need for School Boards to conduct the assessment of students in a manner that is appropriate to individual disciplines and to the methods of assessment employed.

All Schools are required to have written marking criteria across the full range of marks available (0-100) which is published in School Handbooks. marking criteria must include categories from 70% to 100% and 0% to 40%. Marking advice should be available to markers in relation to all forms of assessment used within the School/Department.

The School's marking criteria should be included in its programme specifications (Section C. Supplementary Regulations, 3. Assessment).

Examples of marking criteria are available here.

In pursuit of assessment practices that are fair, valid and reliable the University recognises double-marking (preferably "blind" where the first mark is not made known to the second marker) as good practice for all assessments where appropriate.

3. Moderation of Marks

Normalisation

A School is expected to consider data regarding marks on modules for which it has responsibility, eg average marks for each module, to identify possible issues regarding consistency of marking.  Any adjustment of module marks by the School arising from this analysis (as distinct from adjustments occurring through the normal moderation process) should only be made where inconsistencies are believed to result from a flaw in some element of the assessment, for example the inappropriate formulation of a question or a misapplication of marking criteria.

Moderation

Schools should have a policy on the internal moderation of marks (External Examiners will not be involved in the marking process as their role is to endorse the recommendations of an examination board to indicate they are satisfied that policies and regulations have been appropriately applied and with the assessment process).

As a minimum, Heads of School shall ensure that any set of marks submitted to the Board of Examiners which is of immediate relevance to the determination of the final classification for the students concerned has been previously moderated by someone other than the first marker.

It is advisable for each marker to keep a record of all marks awarded and to make his/her own notes to indicate the rationale for awarding each mark. Schools are advised to devise notes to assist markers, incorporating the requirement for individual record-keeping.

Once internal moderation processes are complete, marks should be submitted to the Board of Examiners for confirmation.

Examples of moderation include:

  • Sampling, by an internal second marker;
  • Additional marking of borderlines, firsts and fails;
  • Additional marking where there is significant disparity between the different elements of assessment for an individual student, in a unit or across the programme;
  • Additional marking where there is significant disparity between the marks of different markers in a particular unit or programme. 

4. Viva Voce Examinations

Viva voce examinations may only be used as part of a documented assessment procedure and should not be used as part of the consideration of borderline candidates or in the final decision making process.

The only exception to this is where an external body requires that a Viva Voce examination is held as a separate assessment forming part of the decision-making process.  In such a case the School must publish a written policy that must be included in the student handbook or otherwise drawn to the attention of students.  It should address the following issues:

• the name of the body that requires the viva voce examination to take place

• the role of the viva in the assessment/classification process

• who has the authority to call a student for a viva

• selection criteria

• whether attendance is compulsory or voluntary

• notice given to a student

• procedures followed and documents produced

• whether a student can request a viva  

Formal records of all such vivas should be kept. 

Schools are encouraged to organise meetings for external examiners with representative groups of students as a mechanism for ensuring quality and standards control but this should not form part of the assessment process.

5. Penalties for late submission of assessed coursework

University policy on penalties for late submission of assessed coursework can be found online.

6. Legibility of work submitted for assessment

University policy on legibility of work submitted for assessment can be found online.  

7. Marking by numbers

For formal written examinations the University operates a marking by numbers (or anonymous marking) system. Details of the system can be found at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/assessment/anonymous-marking.htm 

Schools are encouraged to mark coursework anonymously where possible. 

Schools should ensure that clear statements of the responsibilities of those involved in computation, checking and recording of assessment data exist.

8. Rounding

For the purposes of classifying undergraduate degrees, marks will be rounded at the stages detailed under Degree Classification for each individual Model.

Degree Classification

The University convention on rounding of numeric marks for all awards is as follows:

Marks should be rounded at two stages only: 

1. when two or more unit marks are computed (using a weighting formula), the result should be rounded into a single integer module mark;

2. when the overall weighted average mark has been computed, it should be rounded into a single overall integer mark, before a classification is assigned. 

Rounding means that any mark of x.5 and decimal fractions above, becomes the next highest integer e.g. 69.5 is rounded to 70, 59.5 to 60, and so on. Decimal fractions below x.5 are rounded to the next lowest integer e.g. 69.4 is rounded to 69. For the purposes of rounding, only the first decimal place is used.

Following the rounding convention set out above, overall marks of 39.5, 49.5, 59.5, and 69.5 will be rounded to 40, 50, 60 & 70 respectively.

Progression

For the purposes of progression, overall average marks will be rounded to the nearest integer so that marks of 29.5, 39.5 and 49.5 will be rounded to 30, 40 and 50 respectively. Decimal fractions below x.5 are rounded to the next lowest integer e.g. 69.4 is rounded to 69. For the purposes of rounding, only the first decimal place is used.

 

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Amended 10 December 2013

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