Annex 1

GLOSSARY and DEFINITION OF TERMS

Academic year

The University’s teaching year, made up of two teaching blocks, running from late September to mid-June the following year. For most postgraduate Masters degree students, the period of study extends throughout the summer vacation.

Academic Personal Tutor

A member of academic staff in the student’s school who is their first point of contact for any personal or academic problems.

Accreditation of prior learning

See Recognition of Prior Learning.

Anonymous marking

A process whereby, to ensure impartiality, the identity of students is not revealed to those marking their examination scripts or to the Board of Examiners.

Assessment

A generic term for processes that measure students’ learning, skills and understanding. Assessment can be formative/for learning or summative/of learning.

Formative assessment

Also known as assessment for learning; it is designed to provide feedback to students on their progress towards meeting stated learning objectives/outcomes.

Summative assessment

Also known as assessment of learning; it is designed to provide a clear statement of achievement or failure in relation to stated learning objectives/outcomes

Assignment                  A piece of coursework (e.g. project or essay) to be completed by a student.

Award                          A degree, diploma or certificate.

Credit points

Credit points denote the notional amount of time (formal classes plus private study) to be allocated to that unit of teaching. Credit points are awarded to a learner in recognition of the verified achievement of designated learning outcomes at a specified level.

 

Credit transfer

A mechanism which allows credit awarded for a higher education (HE) awarding body to be recognised, quantified and included towards the credit requirements for programmes delivered by another HE provider.

 

Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (CATS)

A system which enables learners to accumulate credit and which facilitates the transfer of that credit within and between education providers.

 

Compensation

The award of credit to a student to permit progression, despite failure to achieve a pass mark associated with a taught unit(s) at the first attempt, on the basis of specified criteria.

 

Competence standard

The academic, medical or other standard(s) applied for the purpose of determining whether or not a student has a particular level of competence or ability.

 

Conditional progression

Where a student is permitted by a board of examiners to progress to the next year of study and make up a credit deficit in identified programmes where they have failed a particular unit or units, where specific conditions are satisfied.

 

Co-requisite

A requirement that certain units must be studied together, either at the same time or in sequence.

 

Dissertation

A member of the academic staff assigned to a taught postgraduate student undertaking a dissertation to provide academic guidance and personal support.

 

Double marking

A process whereby student work is independently assessed by more than one marker.

 

Exit award

If defined, an award conferred upon a student who has achieved the credit for a defined stage of a programme.

 

Extenuating circumstance

Reasons external to study (such as illness, an accident or personal or family problems) put forward by a student to explain absence or a negative impact on their performance in assessment. Such circumstances and their effect on performance will be considered by a Board of Examiners when it makes decisions on progression, completion or classification.

Extension of period of study

 

Taught postgraduate students may apply for an extension where circumstances necessitate an extension to the normal period of study in order to complete a dissertation or equivalent.

Foundation year programme

A year of study in a stand-alone programme, taught at the equivalent of level 3 in the national Qualifications and Credit Framework, which prepares students for admission to higher education generally. Such programmes are subject to specific regulations.

Gateway year programme

A year of study, taught at level 4, which is integrated with and prepares students for studying on an identified non-modular professional degree programme. Such programmes are subject to specific regulations.

Intercalation

The circumstance in which a student takes up the opportunity to pause their study on a registered programme to study for a degree in a different programme of study. The student resumes, as normal, on their registered programme following the period of intercalation.

Intended learning outcomes

Statement of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of a process of learning.

Levels of study

There are five defined levels of study within undergraduate programmes. All programmes are awarded at one of these levels as defined in the University's credit framework. Minimum credit points required at each level are also defined in the framework. The levels are:

NQCF level 3 (generally called level 0)

Level 4 (Certificate)

Level 5 (Intermediate)

Level 6 (Honours)

Level 7 (Masters)

Mark

A mark is the numerical value by which a Board of Examiners assesses the performance of a student. Such a mark is normally on a scale linked to the specified criteria.

Marking criteria

The learning outcome knowledge, understanding and skills requirements that are taken into account in awarding assessment marks.

Marking scheme

A detailed structure for assigning marks where a specific number of marks are given to individual components of the answer.

Model answer

The examiner's perception of what an answer should be, made available to the external examiner.

Moderation

A quality assurance process whereby the marks are reviewed, to ensure that the individual marks awarded are appropriate in terms of consistency, fairness and rigour in the assessment. Methods of moderation include:

  • Sampling, either by an external examiner or by an internal second marker;
  • Additional marking of work that has received a mark near the boundary between classifications, 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.

Must-pass unit

A unit for which a student must obtain the credit points by achieving the pass mark and any additional criteria (i.e. it cannot be compensated). A unit may be deemed ‘must-pass’ by the faculty either for entry onto a subsequent unit(s) or because it is determined to be an integral part of the programme for pedagogic or for professional accreditation reasons.

Negative Marking

Sometimes used in multiple choice or extended matching index assessments, where marks are deducted from the overall score for a wrong answer. Negative marking is designed to discourage students from guessing when they do not know the answer to the question.

Norm-Referencing

Norm-referenced assessment is the process of allocating students’ marks according to a fixed distribution of bands of achievement which is determined by the performance of the cohort overall.

Notional hours of learning

The number of hours which it is expected that a learner (at a particular level) will spend, on average, to achieve the specified learning outcomes at that level.

 

Open unit

A unit that is outside of the student’s subject discipline which a student can take (normally at level 4), subject to programme structure, space and timetabling constraints.

 

Pathway

A pathway is a defined route through a programme which reflects a specialism that may lead to a specific title on the award certificate in the following format, ‘Master of Science in Management (Leadership and Change)’.

A pathway is comprised of specified groups of units that can be either mandatory or optional. Pathways on a programme will lead to the same award e.g. Bachelor of Science.

A pathway may be selected by the student at the time of application to a programme, or may be chosen at a progression point.

 

Penalty

Action taken when a student does not comply with University regulations, which has a consequence for the student.

 

Plagiarism

The unacknowledged inclusion in a piece of work of material derived from the published or unpublished work of another, whether intentional or unintentional. This includes material obtained from the internet.  Students submitting work for assessment must acknowledge all sources of information correctly and confirm that the work is their work alone.  Proven cases of plagiarism attract a range of penalties which are detailed in the University Examination Regulations.

 

Policy          

A common University statement / expectation established by common consensus that will be followed, unless there is good and validated reason otherwise.

 

Preliminary year programme

A year of study taught at the equivalent of level 3 in the national Qualifications and Credit Framework, which is integrated with and prepares students for studying on an identified modular degree programme. Such programmes are subject to general regulations.

 

Pre-requisite

A requirement which must be satisfied as a condition of entry to a programme or unit.

 

Programme

A programme is a defined and approved set of units leading to a named award. It must have a single intended award, which must be the highest award available on the programme. A programme may only have one group of mandatory units.

A programme must have a single programme specification, which contains information about: programme aims, intended learning outcomes, learning and teaching methods, assessment, specified units. The structure of each taught programme is available in the Programme Catalogue: www.bris.ac.uk/unit-programme-catalogue/.  

There will be a single set of measurable programme intended learning outcomes, which all students will seek to achieve. The programme ILOs should map to the programme’s mandatory units and, if the programme includes a pathway/s, the pathway’s mandatory units.

A programme specification must demonstrate that the ILOs will be achievable by all students on a programme, including all pathways, where applicable.

A programme must have one lead Programme Director even where the programme is taught across more than one school. The lead programme director is responsible inter alia for the production and updating of the relevant programme specification.

Progression

All students are required to make satisfactory academic progress before being allowed to progress to the next year of study (undergraduate degree programmes) or to the dissertation stage (most postgraduate Masters programmes). Students on taught programmes are required to achieve a certain level of attainment, and to have acquired a certain number of credit points, as laid down in the regulations, in order to progress.

QAA

Quality Assurance Agency

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

A process whereby students can be exempt from some parts of their chosen programme of study by recognition of previous learning. This may be either certificated learning or prior experiential learning where learning achieved outside education or training systems is assessed and recognised for academic purposes.

Regulation

A rule set by the University which must be followed.

Repeat year

Where a student is permitted by a board of examiners to either:

  • re-take all units in a year of study with no penalty as a result of extenuating circumstances, or
  • in a non-modular professional programme, re-take all units in a year of study as a second attempt as a result of academic failure and being unable to progress to the next year of study

Re-sit

A re-assessment that is taken because of failure to achieve the required standard in summative examinations.

Required to withdraw

Students on taught programmes who fail to make adequate progress with their academic work, or who repeatedly fail to attend scheduled classes without providing an acceptable explanation, may be asked to leave the University.

Results

The term ‘results' covers the range of formulations currently used in the University to reflect the outcome of examinations.

Sampling

see Moderation

Scaling

The systematic adjustment of a set of marks (applied to the marks of the whole cohort), according to a scale, in order to ensure that they properly reflect the achievements of the students concerned as defined by the assessment criteria.

Second marking

see Double marking

Supplementary assessment

An assessment that is taken without penalty (i.e. “as if for the first time”) because of validated extenuating circumstances.

Supplementary year

An additional year of study within a programme that provides eligible students the opportunity to meet the criteria for progression whereas otherwise they are not able to progress to the next year or component of study.

Suspension of studies

A formal introduction of a pause in a student’s studies during which they are not required to engage with their studies.

Teaching block

A teaching period of 12-weeks, followed by an assessment period.

Unit

A unit is a component of learning, which must be assigned a level and (and for modular programmes, a credit value), and a coherent and explicit set of intended learning outcomes and assessment.

Individual units do not have an intrinsic status as mandatory, optional or ‘must-pass’ as attributes, but are defined as such in relation to a specific programme or pathway.

  • A unit is mandatory if all students on a programme or pathway must undertake that unit before they are permitted to the next level of study or qualify for a designated award.
  • A unit is optional if a student is able to choose from a specified list on a particular programme or pathway.
  • Please also see ‘must-pass unit’ and ‘open unit’ for definitions.

Withdrawal

Students who, for academic or personal reasons, wish to leave the University before completing their programme of study