Summary of changes
An update has been made to clarify the procedures relating to School Examination Boards, in particular emphasising that they are the means to ensure the requisite involvement of External examiners, giving more guidance on the consideration of Extenuating Circumstances and on managing PGT student outcomes.
An amendment has been made to the double counting regulations in the Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning policy such that University or Nottingham students who have taken an Integrated Masters programme are not disadvantaged compared with outside applicants. Instead of expressing the limitation in terms of modules taken as an Undergraduate student it is now expressed in terms of the level of the modules rather than of the student.
A new set of regulations has been added for the Professional Doctorate in Workplace Health and Wellbeing. In addition, the Regulations for the Professional Doctorate of Education (EdD) have been revised to clarify the relationship between the taught and research stages of the programme, the fallback awards, and bring the outcomes of the examination of the research stage into line with equivalent PhD regulations. The regulations for the Doctorate in Forensic Psychology have been revised to reflect the addition of a required 100 hours of relevant practice experience along with a British Psychological Society accredited Masters in Forensic Psychology for direct entry into year 2 of the programme. The title of the fallback award has been amended to Criminological Psychology in line with British Psychological Society requirements and the availability of a similarly named Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma has been added. The progression requirements between taught and research stage have been expressed such that an overall merit level is required in the taught element and the research dissertation and that the student will have completed 100 days of relevant practice in an appropriate setting and under appropriate supervision. The role of the HCPC registered Forensic Psychology Practitioner as co-ordinating supervisor is made explicit and finally, in line with PSRB requirements, the requirement for a successful viva voce examination for both the research thesis and practice portfolio is confirmed as being required for this accredited programme.
The Changes of Taught Course Regulations have been amended to make it clear that a student cannot request a course transfer to pre-empt failure and thereby avoid the regulation that disallowed such transfers if more than 60 compulsory credits of the previous programme form part of the proposed new programme.
Quality and Standards Committee has approved a recommendation that students should be required to submit an electronic copy of their thesis as well as softbound copies when submitting for examination unless there were good reasons for an exemption to be granted from this requirement e.g. where there were intellectual property concerns. The PhD/MPhil Regulations, Role and Appointment of Examiners and Responsibilities of the Supervisor entries have been revised to reflect this change in research degree submission requirements.
QSC also approved a requirement that in circumstances where it is appropriate to the student’s discipline, students are required to submit all data collected during the period of study as a research student of this University to their School prior to arrangement of the viva voce examination. Failure to do so may mean that the thesis is withheld from examination. The PhD/MPhil Regulations and Responsibilities of the Supervisor entries have been amended accordingly.
The Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedure has been amended following feedback from schools and consideration by Quality and Standards Committee as follows:
In section 1.7 of the policy students with ongoing circumstances should now submit an extenuating circumstances form each semester (rather than year) to ensure that appropriate account is taken of the circumstances and appropriate support can be offered to the student.
In section 1.8 of the policy it now states that students making a complaint should make the school aware they have made a complaint, or intend to do so, in writing.
In section 1.13 it is now stated that students should first discuss the matter with their school if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of an Extenuating Circumstances claim, and that if they remain dissatisfied after that discussion they should submit a review request form by email. Academic Processes will then make an initial assessment and if it is considered there may be evidence of a procedural irregularity the matter will be transferred for consideration under the University's Academic Appeals Policy. In all other cases the Deputy Director (Academic Administration) in Academic Services Division will undertake a paper-based review on behalf of Quality and Standards Committee.
In section 2.5 a clarification has been added to make it clear that a student will not get feedback on the first submitted version of coursework unless they fail to submit a further version of the work.
In section 2.8 a note referring to the possibility of schools putting in place an alternative process to submission of an ECs form has been removed as a result of a QSC decision that all schools should use the EC policy and form as set out in the Quality Manual to avoid confusion for students.
A new paragraph 2.11.3 has been added to state that where a claim has been accepted as being with good cause and the student requests to take the assessment again in order to gain a fully representative mark they should be permitted to do so and this would be deemed to be a full adjustment for the circumstance that would then not be taken into account in any award/progression decision.
Changes have also been made to Appendix 1 - Guidance on Circumstances and Required Evidence - to make it clear that a level of judgment on each individual case is needed and some detailed consideration may need to be undertaken rather than refusing something in a blanket fashion because it appears in the list of unacceptable circumstances (or vice versa). These changes deal with accommodation disturbances and paid employment/voluntary work issues.
Use of vivas
The policy on use of vivas in the policy on Marking and Grading has been amended to reflect a decision by Quality and Standards Committee that vivas can only be used as part of a documented assessment procedure, not as part of any other decision making process and so cannot be used in making borderline decisions (in line with the Degree Classification regulations).
The Academic Misconduct policy has been updated to add a paragraph (4.2.3) to state that where it is considered that a disciplinary offence may have been committed in order to commit academic misconduct, the Head of School should refer the case to the Chair of the Academic Misconduct Committee via the Secretary to the Academic Misconduct Committee, for liaison with the University Assessor to determine whether the case should be considered under the Code of Student Discipline in addition to, or instead of, the Regulations on Academic Misconduct.
The PhD/MPhil Regulations (33 and 34) have been amended to reflect a decision by Quality and Standards Committee (following consultation with Schools) that examiners may exceptionally where a student has been previously registered as a part-time student and it has been demonstrated that circumstances exist such that it would be in the best interests of that student, the examiners may recommend that the degree be awarded subject to minor amendments being completed within six months rather than the usual three months.
The entry on Role and Appointment of Examiners has been amended to state that where a candidate has a contract of employment with the University of Nottingham, schools should consider whether the appointment of an Internal Examiner would risk the introduction of the perception of bias into the examination process. Where such a risk is identified, schools should always take the option of appointing two External Examiners.
Changes to the Extenuating Circumstances Policy and related Documents and Policies
During the 2012/13 session discussions relating to the Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) Policy and related policies took place with a range of interested groups resulting in the redrafting of the policy.
This redrafting has resulted in a significant suite of new and amended policies/guidance documents. The overall aim has been to ensure that all of the policies inter-link to ensure that the University is able to manage all types of non-attendance and engagement, whilst ensuring that ECs are appropriately taken into account. In particular there is an increased ability to take action at an earlier stage where students are failing to engage with teaching and/or assessment.
The documents listed below have been amended or created and have been approved by the Quality and Standards Committee on behalf of the Teaching and Learning Board. The following paragraphs summarise the significant changes.
Extenuating Circumstances Policy:
• Separates the documentation into a policy and procedures with the aim of making it easier to follow.
• Includes a specific procedure for students whose study (as opposed to assessment) is being affected, with outcomes differentiated from those whose assessment is affected.
• Contains information on managing ongoing circumstances – and does not allow the same circumstances to be used more than once unless appropriate actions have been taken (such as seeking adjustment) or there is an acute flare up of a longer term condition.
• Emphasises the possibility of a student taking a voluntary interruption of study to ensure that they are fit or to enable appropriate adjustment to be put in place. A follow on from this would be that the term ‘suspension’ would be used where the University has required a student to suspend, whilst ‘interruption’ would be used where the student requests it, although for the time being on the student record system both categories will be represented as ‘Suspended’.
• Requires that where an extension to coursework has been requested but no response has been received from the School, the student should submit what they have done on the submission date such that it can form the assessment should the extenuating circumstances not be accepted.
• Includes a section on the responsibilities of students, pointing them clearly to the procedures, highlighting the timeframes for submission, stating that it is their responsibility to seek professional help if their performance is being affected and that they must ensure that they are available for all required teaching and assessment.
• Requires that a student who has ongoing external circumstances (such as the serious illness of a relative) keeps their School informed of the circumstances and submits an EC form each session (if appropriate) to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to their case at each examination board.
• Requires that a student should submit an extenuating circumstances claim within 7 days of an examination that they believe was affected and before a coursework deadline is reached and allows a further 7 days to submit supporting evidence if it is not available at the time of submission of the form.
• Makes the possible outcomes for different groups of students clearer than currently, particularly in relation to PGR students.
• Points out that where an assessment process has been disrupted students should not have to submit an extenuating circumstances claim, and the circumstances should be dealt with through the normal moderation process
• Incorporates the new requirement that where a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of a claim of ECs they have the right to take their case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). In order to manage this process template letters are provided and should be used to notify students of the outcome of their claim. The Academic Services Division will be responsible for reviewing all cases prior to a Completion of Procedures (CoP) letter being issued. A CoP letter is what a student is required to have in order to take their complaint to the OIA and indicates that we have completed all relevant internal procedures.
• Introduces the ability for the Quality and Standards Committee to substitute a different decision on behalf of the University where it considers that the outcome is unfair or unreasonable.
Guidance on Student Employment during Studies:
• A new guidance document to help students to understand that they should ensure that employment should not impact on their studies and to support the statement in the ECs policy that employment will not normally be considered as an EC.
Extenuating Circumstances Form:
• Removes the distinction between short and long-term coursework extension which has been redundant for some years following the abolition of Faculty Assessment Boards.
• Matches the section on nature of circumstances with the new ECs policy.
• Changes Section B removing a student column headed ‘actual date of submission of coursework’ and adding a column for the School to enter an amended deadline date.
• Attempts to make the section that students have to complete clearer and adds a reminder that all required information must be provided or the form may not be considered.
• Includes a reminder that immigration requirements may restrict the range of reassessment choice available to Schools and suggests that when in doubt colleagues should speak to the International Office.
• Adds a note that this is the minimum requirement and some Schools may have a requirement for more information (we are frequently asked to include something that is subject specific and we cannot accommodate that on a generic form). In order to avoid confusion extra information should preferably be collected on a supplementary form.
Regulations Governing Attendance and Engagement:
• Largely an amendment of the current Attendance procedure but tightening up on the management of those who are not engaging appropriately and placing more emphasis on active engagement.
Regulations Governing Registration:
• A new Quality Manual entry adapted from regulations that currently sit on the Academic Services Division website.
Policy on Voluntary Interruption of Study:
• Adapted from the current Voluntary suspension policy (with some material from that going into a new policy on Maximum Period from Initial Registration – see below).
• In future when a student has requested a break in study it will be known as an ‘interruption’ with the term ‘suspension’ being reserved for those cases where the University has imposed a suspension eg for discipline or debt.
New forms for students to request an interruption – taught and research (available at bottom of page
• Based on the previous forms to request Voluntary Suspension but slightly reworded and including an office management section for use by ASD or equivalent. These versions relate to the UK campus only at this stage. It is hoped that versions for the Malaysia and China campuses will be available by September.
Guidance on Non-Registered Statuses
• A new document enunciating the position of various types of non-registered students and what conditions apply to them (produced as the result of legal advice).
• An amended version including the normal length of a programme (and therefore of period of registered study) according to the qualification type.
Maximum Period from Initial Registration:
• A new policy intended to ensure that regardless of personal circumstances students will not have unduly extended periods of study.
• Incorporates some of the material that was in the Voluntary Suspension Policy.
• A minor amendment to make it explicit that student must attend all required examinations and that if they do not they will be managed under the Regulations Governing Attendance and Engagement.
In addition there are minor wording changes to the Academic Misconduct Policy and Procedure and the Programme Specification guidance to accommodate linking to new/changed policies.
The entry entitled Release of Personal Information has been updated to give clarification that it is University policye that permission always be sought from current students before disclosure is made about degree information relating to them.
The Regulations on Academic Misconduct come into effect on 1 August 2013 and should be used for any cases of suspected academic misconduct from this date onwards. The Academic Offences Policy should now be used only for those cases where proceedings commenced prior to 1 August and will shortly be removed from the Quality Manual when it is no longer applicable.
The EngD Regulations have been amended to state that thesis submission must be made by the end of four years of registered study.
The Regulations on Academic Misconduct, which will replace the current Academic Offences Policy, have now been published and will come into effect from 1 August 2013.
The Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure has been amended at 2.2.3 to cover cases where a decision making body makes a revised recommendation which differs from the student's preferred outcome. In such cases the student will be given the option of accepting the revised recommendation and ending the appeal process or continuing with the appeal.
The MPhil and PhD regulations have been amended to make it clear that where there is an element of collaboration with another institution there may be additional requirements for a student to satisfy in order to receive an award (for example, where agreements require submission of extra copies of the thesis, having a different format for the viva, writing more reports etc.).
The MPhil/PhD Regulations and Annual Review entries have been revised to state that where a sponsor report has been made during the year it should form part of the consideration of the student's progress at the annual review.
Following discussions between the Dean of the Graduate School and academic colleagues some guidance on the norms for annual leave for research students has been developed, stating that their entitlement will normally be 25 days per year, plus public and University holidays.
The Code of Practice for Student Complaints has been revised and re-titled the 'Students Complaints Policy'. The main changes in the revised policy are: the introduction of a timescale for responding to complaints; a new requirement for complaints at levels 2 and above to be sent for logging and administration to the Governance Team; for responses from Head of School/Dean to be sent to the complainant by Governance; and the introduction of a new level 4 – Office of the Independent Adjudicator. In addition, the revised level 3 now includes the possibility of a complete review of the complaint, including content of the complaint as well as the way in which the complaints procedure has been applied, which is missing from the current process. Decisions on whether to conduct a full review would be made by the Dean with responsibility for handling the complaint, and may include a request for further evidence to be provided if this is appropriate. Deans of Faculties have now replaced Pro-Vice-Chancellors in this role following the recent changes in the University’s senior management structure.
A minor clarification has been made to the policy on Feedback to Students to state that feedback on academic performance may be given prior to release of marks online, and may normally be given by the candidate's personal or course tutor.
The Regulations for Undergraduate Courses (13, 15 and 20) have been amended as follows:
Regulation 13: The right to one re-assessment in each failed module has been amended to read ‘a right to one re-assessment in each failed module where this might enable a student to satisfy progression requirements’ i.e. in circumstances where a student would be unable to progress, even if successful in an outstanding reassessment, there is no longer a right to a reassessment.
Regulation 15 has been amended to clarify circumstances in which a reassessment may take place at a time other than in the August/September immediately following the first assessment subject to Regulation 16. This regulation is also now reads ‘(subject to Regulations 16 and 20 below)’ rather than ‘(subject to Regulation 16 below)’.
Regulation 20: It was previously only possible to apply Regulation 20 (carrying 20 credits of failed modules to the next academic session without progressing from the previous stage) if used with Regulation 19 (exceptional second reassessment). Regulation 20 has been amended to permit use with Regulation 13 and Regulation 16 if the student is being reassessed in modules worth no more than 20 credits, at the discretion of the School.
Schools using Regulation 20 should ensure that the student is aware of the additional assessment burden which will be placed on them and the risks associated with this i.e. failure to satisfy the progression requirements of the previous stage will mean that their course is terminated on the grounds of academic failure even if they successfully complete the next stage. Where possible, the reassessment opportunity should be arranged as early as possible in the academic year.
Regulation 14 of the regulations for Taught Masters Degrees, PG Diploma and Certificate Courses has been amended. The right to one re-assessment in each failed module has been amended to read ‘a right to one re-assessment in each failed module where this might enable a student to satisfy progression requirements’ i.e. in circumstances where a student would be unable to progress, even if successful in an outstanding reassessment, there is no longer a right to a reassessment.
Regulation 14 has also been amended to clarify circumstances in which a reassessment may take place at a time other than in the August/September immediately following the first assessment.
Minor amendments have been made to the Regulations for Higher Doctorates to streamline the approval stage and update administrative procedures.
The Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure has been amended to include further information at 2.2.10 about the constitution of the panel to be convened in cases involving appeals against the decision of a Fitness to Practise Committee or a Practice Assessment Panel.
Additional information has been added to the Extenuating Circumstances policy clarifying the next steps which a student may take if their request for extenuating circumstances has been rejected, including the possibility of putting a case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
The Student Engagement policy has been revised, following approval by Teaching and Learning Board. The new policy reflects the University's compliance with the QAA Chapter B5: Student engagement in the Quality Code, and incorporates the former Quality Manual entries on Student Representation on School Teaching Committees, and Learning Community Fora (LCFs). Most importantly, the policy now requires Schools to hold at least 3 LCF meetings a Session, with at least one meeting each Autumn Term.
The e-Assessment Policy has been updated to provide additional guidance to staff.
Some minor amendments have been made to the entry on Annual Review of Research Students at
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/research-students/annual-review.htm to clarify that the elements listed for Confirmation Review must all be included within this process conducted by Schools, and that where Schools are using the Annual Review process (eg for students registered for the degree of MPhil) the process should include an interview of the student by an Internal Assessor if the School if considering recommending that the student be transferred to a degree at doctoral level.
Research Degree Programmes section updated.
Minor amendment to UNQF.
Minor text changes to e-Assessment Policy.
The Extenuating Circumstances Form has had the notes and signature sections moved to provide clarity in relation to requirements for completion.
A clarification of the procedures relating to students transferring course and repeating some or all of a stage.
Minor amendments to regulations for Undergraduate Courses.
A clarification has been made to the Feedback Procedure to make it clear that where a mark has been expunged from the record the process does not apply.
Minor amendments to sections 5 and 6 within the Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil).
Amendment to section 2.4 of Changes of Taught Course to reflect Quality and Standards Committee role.
Following the update to the University’s Charter, Statutes and Ordinances in July 2010, regulation 5 of the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy Regulations at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/study-regulations/HigherDegreeRegs2.htm#PhD has been amended to take out the reference to Ordinance XXIII re applications to be staff candidates as this Ordinance no longer exists.
An amendment has been made to the minimum English Language entry requirements entry at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/recruitment-admissions/eng-lang.htm to include the Pearson Test of English on the list.
The Quality Manual has also been more widely amended to reflect the new staff structure in Academic Services Division.
Following consultation with the Students’ Union, the title of Student-Staff Feedback Committees has now been changed to ‘Learning Committee Fora’ (see http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/taught-programmes/student-feedback.htm for further information).
An amendment has been made to the policy on submission and approval of new modules at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/taught-programmes/new-modules.htm to give further information about the circumstances in which Schools may submit new modules for approval.
The University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/QAstructures/UNQF.htm has been updated to reflect a change in the number of credits which must be taken at Level 4 for Taught European Masters Degrees.
The regulations for undergraduate degrees at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/study-regulations/undergraduate-regulations.htm have been amended to include a cross-reference to Fitness to Practice regulations where appropriate.
The regulations for postgraduate taught courses at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/study-regulations/taught-postgraduate-regulations.htm have been amended to include a cross-reference to Fitness to Practise regulations where appropriate.
The extenuating circumstances policy at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/assessment/pro-guid-ext-cir.htm has been amended at section 2.4 to clarify that Schools have discretion as to whether to consider extenuating circumstances claims that are submitted after the seventh working day from the affected assessment.
A minor revision has been made to the Extenuating Circumstances policy at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/assessment/pro-guid-ext-cir.htm to clarify that withdrawal of IT facilities or suspension of registration for reason of debt will not be acceptable as an extenuating circumstance.
The extenuating circumstances procedure has been revised following discussions with colleagues and consideration by the Quality and Standards Committee. It takes into account feedback received from colleagues in Schools and issues arising from academic appeals. Some references to specifically UK entities have been removed. It now focuses equally on coursework and formal assessments and includes specific guidance on the possible outcomes of acceptable claims of extenuating circumstances. The spirit is largely unchanged, but the wording has changed significantly.
A new policy specifying deadlines for the return of coursework and associated feedback has been added to the guidance on Feedback to Students, within the Assessment section. In normal circumstances, marked coursework and associated feedback should be returned to students within 28 days of the published submission deadline.
A summary of the key principles which govern the operation of quality assurance arrangements for the international campuses has been added to the Quality Assurance Structures section under the title Compliance with the Quality Manual - the International Campuses.
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Fitness to Practise Procedures have been updated to reflect changes in Faculty structures and nomenclature, and:
• to permit disclosures of concern about a student to be made verbally (paragraph 1.2)
• to make explicit the power of the Dean of Head of Studies to exclude a student from clinical placements with immediate effect (paragraph 1.3)
• to clarify the procedure relating to the method by which students are informed of the disclosure (paragraph 2.1)
• to allow students to appeal to the University's Academic Appeals Committee against any decision taken by the FTP Committee (paragraph 8)
Policy on the audio and visual recording of lectures and other interactions by students has been added to the Miscellaneous Policies section.
A flow chart of progression, compensation and reassessment for Postgraduate Taught Courses has been added to the Regulations for Taught Masters Degrees, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate courses.
Regulation 18 of the Taught Postgraduate Regulations has been amended to allow students a second resit opportunity, at the discretion of individual Schools.
Learning & Teaching Committee has agreed revisions to the University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework (UNQF) in light of changes to the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and the National Credit Framework for HE in England, both of which are effective from September 2009. The following changes have been made:
• An amendment to Appendix B of the UNQF to map our awards on to new QAA levels and new titles of levels:
• An amendment to Appendix A of the UNQF to reflect new QAA qualification descriptors:
• The relocation of Ordinary Degrees from UNQF level 2 to level 3 awards, and a change of the credit requirement for Ordinary Degrees from ‘300 credits with at least 160 credits at level 2 or above' to ‘300 credits with at least 60 credits at level 3 .'
• A change of the credit requirements for the Practitioner Doctorate from ‘540 credits with at least 450 credits at level 4 and above and at least 270 credits at level 5' to ‘540 credits with at least 450 credits at level 4 and above and at least 360 credits at level 5'.
Following the acceptance by Learning and Teaching Committee of recommendations made by the Marking and Classification Working Group the Quality Manual has been updated as follows. Full guidance may be viewed in the relevant sections.
1. School Examination Boards
Where programmes are offered at the International Campuses, there should be appropriate involvement of International Campus Staff in the School Examination Board.
2. Code of Practice for External Examiners
Powers of the External Examiner
Point 9.2 relating to the entitlement to meet with students has been extended to include reference to meeting students from the International Campuses.
Point 9.5 has been replaced by a new Point 9.5 and 9.6 relating to the involvement of External Examiners in adjusting marks and the signing of marksheets by External Examiners.
Dealing with the External Examiner's Report
Where programmes are offered at the International Campuses, Schools should ensure that a copy of the External Examiner report is available to the International Campus and that they International Campus is involved in the response submitted to the external examiner and University.
In addition, the External Examiner Report Form has been updated to encourage specific reference to programmes offered at the International Campuses where these are offered.
Regulation 12 of the Regulations for Undergraduate Courses, which permits specific programmes more stringent progression requirements than the University norm, has been redrafted to clarify existing practice. Additionally it codifies existing practice for students who fail to meet the progression requirements of the Foundation Stage of any programme.
Late Submission of Extenuating Circumstances : revised guidance on the late submission of extenuating circumstances was approved by Learning and Teaching Committee in February, to be effective immediately. The guidance has been revised to state: ‘Schools are entitled to reject automatically and without consideration all extenuating circumstances claims that are submitted after the relevant marks or qualification outcomes have been published to students. The only exception to this provision is where the student provides authoritative evidence (e.g. from a doctor) that they were clinically unable to submit the extenuating circumstances any earlier.'
Updates to the Assessment Section of the Quality Manual
1. The section on Rounding within the Marking and Grading guidance has been amended to provide more clarity.
2. Examples of Marking Schemes are available in the Good Practice Guide. Schools are encouraged to forward copies of marking schemes using the full range of marks (including categories above 70% and below 40%) to Sandra Mienczakowski for inclusion in the Guide.
3. Following the acceptance of recommendations from the Marking and Classification Working Group by Learning and Teaching Committee, the following updates have been made to the Quality Manual to be implemented for students registering on programmes from the 2009/10 academic year onwards:
i) Use of Borderlines :http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/quality-manual/assessment/degree-class.htm
Schools should use a weighted profiling system for determining the degree class of borderline students and this should be made explicit and clear to students at the start of their studies through School Handbooks. Examples of profiling systems are available in the Good Practice Guide and Schools are encouraged to forward copies of profiling systems already in use to Sandra Mienczakowski for inclusion in the Guide.
ii) Approved degree classification weightings :
A list of approved degree classification weightings has been added to the Programme Specification Guidance. The use of these weightings in degree calculation should be applied to students commencing their studies in 2009/10 and graduating from 2011/2012.
iii) Use of Vivas :
Further guidance on the use of individual vivas for borderline candidates on taught programmes has been added to the section on Viva Voce Examinations. Formal records of all such vivas should be kept.
Guidance on minimum levels of assessment necessary to test learning outcomes has been added to the Module Specification guidance. The guidance outlines minimum levels by module credit value. See section 17 of the Module Specification Guidance.
The policy and procedures for Collaborative Course Approval have been updated to include revised guidance on preferred types of agreement and the procedures for approval and review.
The Procedures for requiring a student to withdraw temporarily or permanently from the University on the Grounds of Health and Safety have been updated. The update includes clarification of the procedures for the Special Committee of Senate.
Recent Changes to Research Degree Programmes Section:
• Appointment of Supervisors entry: this has been amended to remove the requirement for members of academic staff eligible to act as supervisors to be full-time and to clarify support arrangements for staff who are new or inexperienced in the supervisory role.
• Role and Appointment of Examiners entry: this has been amended to remove the requirement for members of academic staff eligible to act as Internal Examiner to be full-time; in addition, the cross-reference to eligibility criteria for Supervisors has now been removed.
• Amendments have also been made to the Students Studying in Outside Organisations entry. Schools will normally be required to appoint two supervisors based at the University of Nottingham as well as a supervisor in the outside organisation, (for example for schemes such as the Malaysia-Nottingham Doctoral Programme).
• The University's Regulations for PhD/MPhil Degrees (in particular Regulations 7 to 15 inclusive) have been amended to include the information set out in more detail in the Annual Review of Research Students entry, on Confirmation and Progression Review.
• Annual Review of Research Students entry: it has been clarified that Schools continue to have the option of putting in place a supportive or corrective plan of action as a result of the Progression Review process, if this is appropriate.
Following consultation with Academic Boards, the regulations for the Degrees of Master of Research and MA/MSc by Research regulations have now been amended to enable Schools with appropriate marking criteria available for the reference of examiners to be able to recommend these awards with Merit or Distinction if they wish to do so.
The entry on Attendance Procedures has been amended to include a sentence which states: "Permission to register on a second course to be taken concurrently at the University must be sought in advance from the School with which the student is initially registered. Students will not be permitted to register on two full-time courses at the same time" This is in the Study Regulations section.
The following changes have been made to the Research Degree Programmes section:
1. Changes to Policy on Annual Review of Students
Learning and Teaching Committee considered the issue of the initial registration of research students in November 2007, and endorsed the proposition that students accepted to undertake a PhD should be registered by Schools as PhD from the first year onwards. As a result of this decision, the Quality Manual entry on Annual Research of Research Students has been amended to reinforce this position. A statement has been added that ‘Offers to students who have applied for a PhD programme should be a place on that programme, except where the calibre of the applicant suggests that a place on an MPhil programme would be more appropriate'. Further, PhD students will now be required to undertake a strengthened annual review process at the end of their first year, which provides a robust mechanism for downgrading students at the end of Year 1 if they are clearly unable to perform at the PhD level.
2. Changes to entry entitled The Thesis-Pending Period
This entry has been amended to clarify that students on MRes and MA/MSc by Research degrees are not entitled to a thesis pending period, but nonetheless are subject to the related extension policy and procedure if they are unable to submit by their deadline. A further sentence has been added to state that for students commencing their research degree as from Session 2009/10 access to facilities in the thesis pending period will only be available if students are registered as ‘thesis pending' students and pay the appropriate tuition fee.
3. Change to the entry Responsibilities of the Supervisor
This entry has now been amended to make the requirements for the format of supervisions to be more flexible, but to stress that the format should be as close as possible to face-to-face supervision for a proportion of the meetings where it was not possible for meetings to take place.
4. Instructions for Research Degree examiners
The instructions enclosed for the guidance of examiners when they are sent theses for examination have now been amended to invite them to give feedback if they wish on the quality and content of the University's research degree programmes in their Independent Reports. In addition, examiners for doctoral examinations who wish to recommend the award of a Master of Philosophy qualification after re-examination are asked to consider whether the criteria in the University's Master Level Qualification Descriptor are met.
The following changes have been made to the Assessment section:
1. Following a report from the Joint Honours Working Group, Taught Courses Committee approved the inclusion in the Quality Manual of a policy document clarifying the responsibilities of Schools in relation to Joint Honours Programmes. The document 'Management of Joint Honours Programmes' has been added to the Assessment section.
2. The section on School Examination Boards has been updated to include guidance in the Overview regarding consideration of extenuating circumstances at Board meetings and to update in relation to Board consideration of students on Joint Honours programmes.
3. The information on the Layout of Exam Papers has been amended slightly. The front page of the exam paper should now state that "Candidates may complete the front cover of their answer book and sign their desk card but must NOT write anything else until the start of the examination period is announced"
Following consultation with School representatives via Academic Boards in the Spring Semester, the University Regulations for Taught Masters Degrees, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate courses have been updated as follows:
A new Regulation 5 to state that work submitted for an award must be the result of work done mainly wile the candidate is registered as a student of the University of Nottingham; A change to the Regulation on compensation (now Regulation 11) to state that enable Schools to amend their programme specifications to allow up to 20 credits of module marks below 40% to be compensatable as long as the student is able to satisfy the requirements to have passed 80 credits and have an overall average for the taught stage of at least 50%; A new Regulation 12 stating that progresssion requirements may only be more stringent than those stated in regulation 11 if there is a demonstrable requirement for this from a professional or accrditing external body; An amendment to the Regulation setting out eligibility to receive a Masters award (now Regulation 19) stating that Schools wishing to use the dissertation mark towards the award of a Postgraduate Diploma may only do so if this is specified in their course supplementary regulations.
The Student Support and Development section has been amended to clarify the personal tutoring expectations for Joint Honours students (see section C1) and the responsibilities of Schools in providing personal tutoring for exchange students (see section D1).
The guidance on Double Counting of Accredited Prior Learning has been amended to clarify that credits gained as part of an undergraduate qualification may not be used towards a postgraduate qualification.
Following approval by Learning & Teaching Committee, it has been clarified that offers to students who have applied for a PhD programme should be a place on that programme, except where the calibre of the applicant suggests that a place on an MPhil programme would be more appropriate. This is in the Recruitment and Admissions section.
The Learning Outcomes Working Group (LOWG) of Learning & Teaching Committee has provided guidance to Schools on transferable / key skills learning outcomes for use within programme and module specifications. The LOWG, following consultation with Academic Boards, has identified a range of transferable/key skills that will maximise the employability of Nottingham graduates and provide them with skills to manage their career progression and lifelong learning. This is included in the Learning Outcomes guidance, in the Programme Approval, Monitoring and Review section. There are also example Skills learning outcome statements in the Good Practice Guide.
A minor amendment has been made to Model 3 in the Degree Classifications guidance. Previously the First Class threshold the borderline was defined as a score within 12 points of the threshold and for all other thresholds the borderline was defined as a score within 8 points of the threshold. This has been revised so that the threshold for all borderlines is defined as a score within 12 points of the threshold.
The Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure has been revised. The triage approach to appeal submissions continues with various levels of decision making in operation. Vice-Deans now assume responsibility on behalf of Academic Boards for appeals where primae facia grounds may exist and a decision is required on whether a hearing should take place. Where the original decision (against which the student is appealing) was made on by an Academic Board, a representative from Learning and Teaching Committee makes the judgement.
Guidance on the definition and use of learning outcomes has been added to the Programme Approval, Monitoring and Review section. This supersedes guidance previously contained in the Programme Specification and Module Specification guidance.
The Programme Specification Guidance has been updated to clarify the relationship between University and Supplementary Regulations.
In section C, part 3 Assessment, it is clarified that "Programme Specifications may incorporate more stringent progression and award hurdles, only if there is a demonstrable requirement from a professional or accrediting body. Students who fail to satisfy the more stringent requirements in programme specifications associated with a professional or accrediting body but who satisfy University regulations should have the opportunity of transferring to a named ‘fall back’ non-accredited degree."
And in section C, part 4 Other Regulations, it is clarified that "The requirements of Programme Specifications should be in addition to, rather than instead of, the University’s regulations."
The University's Bologna Advisory Group has formulated a Statement of Compatibility with the European Higher Education Area. which has been added to the University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework . It provides an explanation of how University of Nottingham qualifications meet the requirements of each cycle of the qualifications framework adopted at the Bergen Summit of the Bologna Process for the creation of a European Higher Education Area (see EHEA ).
A new section has been created called Miscellaneous Policies . It has collated various polices which do not sit easily within the other sections:
• Use of Students for Teaching
• Information to be provided for students on their programmes of study
• Release of personal information
• Emergency contact protocol
• School training and staff development plans
• Policy on Occasional Teachers
• Ordinary Degrees - Guidance for Schools
Included in the section is new Guidance on Religious Observance .
Streamlining of Committees: Various sections of the Quality Manual have been updated to reflect the streamlining of the decision-making and dissemination processes, most notably changes to Teaching Committee (now called Learning & Teaching Committee) and its sub-committees. Revisions of note are to the following:
• Compliance with the Quality Manual (clarifying ownership and implementation responsibilities)
• Extenuating Circumstances Procedure (clarifying the role of the School now the Assessment Group of TCC has ceased to exist)
• Programme approval (clarifying the role of Academic Boards in programme approval now that the Programmes Committees have ceased to exist).
Research Student Supervision: Clarification has been provided on the composition of the supervisory team appointed to research students, as well as their roles within the team. See section 3.2 in the guidance on the Appointment of Supervisors.
Year-Long Modules Guidance has been provided for Schools on the creation and implementation of year-long modules. This includes guidance on assessment and making provision for mobility students. This has been added to section 6 of the Module Specification Guidance.
In anticipation of possible Bologna developments, provision has been made for a 540 credit Extended Integrated Masters degree, which will supplement the existing 480 credit Integrated Masters Degrees. For both the Extended Integrated Masters and the Integrated Masters degrees, 120 credits need to be gained at level 4, not all of which need to be taken in the final year. This is in the University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework.
The Responsibilites of the School guidance of the Research Degree Programmes section has had a minor amendment to clarify that a School should put in place a system for storing and monitoring supervision records, see section 8.
The External Examiner Report Form has been updated, removing Part II, the confidential report to the University. Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act we are unable to guarantee that reports will remain confidential to the University and external examiners will now be advised to write their whole report on the assumption that it will be accessed by students and may become a public document. External examiners will be able to make a confidential report under separate cover which can be anonymised should the need arise to release the document under an FOI request.
The guidance on Invigilation of University Exams in the Assessment section has been updated to reflect the introduction of a central invigilation service for centrally scheduled main University examinations.
Student Staff Feedback Committee
It has been agreed that Student Staff Consultative Committees are to be renamed Student Staff Feedback Committees SSFCs). It has also been agreed that Schools must display clearly on their School website the names and contact details of the student representatives on the SSFC. This is in addition to the requirement to display clearly on the School noticeboard details of the SSFC membership, terms of reference, dates of meetings for the current session, and a copy of the minutes of the previous meeting.
ASSESSMENT SECTION UPDATE
The amendments and additions have been made to the Assessment section in light of revisions to Section 6 of the QAA Code of Practice.
The additions include an e-assessment policy which outlines the minimum requirements that the University expects should be met by Schools when assessing by on-line examination. There is an associated procedure for Schools wishing to assess by e-assessment using QMP.
Amendments include a requirement for Schools to bring policy and guidance to the attention of students, rather than just making it available (see Overview); clarification that the language of assessment is English, unless stated otherwise in the relevant programme or module specification (see Assessment Regulations); that Schools should specify the nature and extent of assessment feedback and whether this is accompanied by the return of assessed work (see Assessment Feedback Policy); that Schools should inform students how and when results will be issued (see Marking and Grading Policy); and that Schools should tell students where anonymity in the assessment process ends (see Anonymous Marking).
In response to revisions to Section 4 of the QAA Code of Practice, the policy on external examiners had also been revised to clarify the duties of the external examiner in regard to the moderation of scripts and to define what would be considered inappropriate reciprocity in external examiner appointment.
RESEARCH DEGREE PROGRAMMES SECTION UPDATE
The following changes have recently been made to the Research Degree Programmes section of the Quality Manual:
• The Notice of Intent to Submit Form has been updated to amend the wording in the section for the supervisor’s signature and to include a space in which supervisors can add any comments they wish to make
• An Independent Report Form template has now been attached to the Procedures for Assessment entry (the Registry will continue to send out candidate-specific forms to Examiners with theses)
• Updated entry on Appointment of Examiners, taking out references to probationary staff as a result of the introduction of the Research and Teaching Job Family
• Updated Instructions for examiners (a minor change for clarification).
Schools have also been informed that the Quality Manual entry on the supervision of research students has also be changed, following consultation with Academic Boards, to make it a requirement to appoint more than one supervisor to a research student.
In addition, it was agreed at the May 2007 meeting of Research Degrees Committee that the MPhil/PhD Regulations should be amended to state PhD students re-submit for PhD after initial submission, thus removing the option previously available to examiners that PhD candidates should re-submit for either the degree of PhD or MPhil. As a result of this regulatory change, the Procedures for Assessment entry, the guidance to examiners and Joint Report Form have been updated. Please see the attachment entitled “Information for examiners, supervisors and candidates for the degree of PhD” at the bottom of the entry on Procedures for Assessment.
Following a review by Teaching Committee of Personal and Academic Support, this section of the Quality Manual has been substantially revised and re-titled Student Support and Development. The revised section clarifies and develops the personal tutoring function, as well as giving recognition to the role that central support services play in assisting students.
The guidance on ‘Marks and Credit Transfer for Students on Placements’ has been revised in light of feedback from Schools and students, revisions to the Quality Assurance Agency Code of Practice on Placement Learning, and following discussions between the International Office and the Courses Office.
Revisions to the current policy include:
• Clarification that the policy is aimed at students on educational exchanges (not work exchanges)
• Confirming that responsibility for agreements is at School level, rather than Academic Board level
• Removing a distinction between U21 and non-U21 exchanges
• Confirming that it is mandatory to complete an individual Learning Agreement for each student
• Confirming that School Exchange checklists are advisable, but not mandatory.
The guidance is within the Placement Learning section of the Quality Manual.
There's been an addition to the guidance on appointing module convenors in the Module Specification Guidance to clarify that where a module is delivered in both the UK and an international campus, a module contact should be appointed at the international campus. The module contact will: undertake the liaison with the UK-based module convenor; have delegated responsibility for the modules delivery at the international campus; be the contact person in regard to that module for students at the international campus.
The Collaborative Course Approval Policy and Procedure has been revised to clarify the types of collaborative provision supported by the University and the approval process.
Following approval at Teaching Committee, the following changes have been made with a view to streamlining assessment and taught provision:
1. Module/Programme Specification Guidance
• The replacement of all but the first two sentences of the section 17 of the module specification guidance ('Assessment details') with the following statement, 'The assessment for the module should be no more than the minimum necessary to test its learning outcomes. Where it is felt necessary to have more than one component of assessment to cover all the learning outcomes, assessing any given learning outcome more than once should be avoided if possible. There should normally not be more than one timetabled examination for a module, except where it is necessary to have both a written and a practical examination.'
• The addition to section 21 of the module specification guidance ('Learning Outcomes') that 'Only learning outcomes which are being assessed should be listed and these should therefore be few in number, with five learning outcomes being the norm, though this may vary with the credit size of the module.'
• The addition to section D of the programme specification guidance ('Learning Outcomes') that 'The reoccurrence of the same learning outcome in a large number of modules should be avoided. This is with a view to minimising the number of learning outcomes in each module and thus restricting the amount of assessment that needs to take place to test those learning outcomes.'
2. New Modules
The addition of the following to the policy on approval of new modules, to come into force with regard to modules being submitted for approval from the beginning of 2007/08:
'In submitting a new module for approval, the School should either:
• Indicate the existing module which is being withdrawn and replaced by the new module, or
• Indicate the new programme of which the new module forms an integral part.
Where neither of the above circumstances exist, the School will need to make a case for the module to be approved, citing the significant institutional interests served by the module. The relevant Programmes Committee will seek the advice of Teaching Committee in considering any such case.'
3. 5-credit Modules
The addition of the following to section 3 of the module specification guidance ('Number of credits'):
'The minimum credit size of a module is 10 credits and all credit sizes must be divisible by 5. 5-credit modules are only permitted where these place no demands on either the teaching or examinations timetables.'
4. Course Structures
• The removal of the section of the University of Nottingham Qualifications Framework requiring Schools to permit their students to take a number of credits (60 for Honours students) from outside their School.
• The addition in the paragraph of Section C2 ('Course Structure') of the Programme Specification guidance relating to restricted modules, of a statement that 'the number of active modules listed in this section can have a total credit value no more than 5 times the total credit value of the modules the students must choose e.g. where students must take modules totalling 30 credits from a list of modules, that list cannot contain active modules totalling over a maximum of 150 credits.'
5. New Programmes
The addition of the following statement to the Quality Manual section on approving new courses:
'One of the aims of a new programme should be to increase (or, at least, help maintain) the overall intake of students to the University.'
6. Withdrawing Programmes
The addition of the following statement to the Quality Manual section on Closing or Suspending a Taught Course:
'The University will automatically close any programme which has not had a student registered upon it for three years and for which there are no outstanding applications, unless the School is able to demonstrate likely future recruitment of significant numbers of students onto that programme.'
19 February Regulation 12 of the Regulations for Taught Postgraduate Courses has been amended to clarify that a student who, at the first attempt, has not satisfactorily completed the taught stage or research stage of the course has a right to one re-assessment in each failed module at a time to be specified by the admitting School but normally by the end of the following academic year or equivalent for part-time students.
19 February There have been two amendments to the Code of Practice for External Examiners (Undergraduate & Taught Postgraduate Programmes): 1. to include the addition of a requirement for reports to be available to, and considered by, the School's Staff-Student Feedback Committee; 2. To extend the appointment of External Examiners up to a normal maximum of three to five years' service (from the previous three years).
6 February A Form to allow a research student to request to Register for an Additional Year of Study has been added to the Research Student progress and Annual Review section. Where it is agreed that a student's course should be extended into a fourth year of study (for students registered as PhD candidates) or a third year of study (for students registered as MPhil candidates and intending to submit for that degree), the form should be completed and returned to the Registry, E Floor, Portland Building , University Park .
26 January A policy on waiving English Language Requirements has been added to the Recruitment and Admissions section. Applicants who are nationals from the listed countries and who have graduated in their countries with a recognised degree and/or who have successfully completed the equivalent of year 12 in high school will automatically satisfy the University English language requirements. Applicants from non-listed countries but who have completed a recognised degree and/or who have successfully completed the equivalent of year 12 in high school in one of the listed countries will automatically have their English language requirement waived if they completed these studies within the last ten years.
16 January An additional requirement has been added to the Information to be provided for students on their programmes of study section. Schools are required to provide details, for each module, of the format of the assessment(s), including, for written examinations, whether it is essay questions, MCQ etc
11 January The Assessment Feedback section has been revised to state:
1. All students should receive a clearly advertised opportunity to receive satisfactory feedback on their examinations. Where no other suitable mechanisms exist for providing feedback the module convenor should supply on the Web a generic feedback report (no more than one side of A4) for each module to the relevant group of students which:
(a) highlights examination questions on which students' performance could be improved,
(b) suggests strategies for improving performance in those questions,
(c) gives general comments about technique.
An optional template is provided at:
2. All students failing a module should be given feedback on request which, as a minimum (though only where relevant), comprises a breakdown of their marks question-by-question.
Schools are asked to make any necessary changes to their procedures in time for the January 2007 examinations where possible.