2.  Significant Changes to the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes for 2018/19

Change

A set of revised regulations:

3.23 For awards of the University of Bristol, credit points may only be used once and may not be used towards two or more awards of this University or another higher education provider institution and the University, with the exceptions as specified in clauses 23.9 and 33.5.

23.9 and 33.5 For awards of the University of Bristol, save as specified below, credit points may only be used once and not towards two or more undergraduate/taught postgraduate awards of this University or of another higher education provider institution and this University ….

23.10/33.3 No student registered for a programme of full-time study leading to a qualification of the University of Bristol may be registered study concurrently on a programme of full or part-time study leading to the award of a qualification at this or another higher education provider institution.

Rationale

To clarify that that the use of credit should only apply to awards made by Bristol, given it does not have jurisdiction over the awards made by other providers. It also acknowledges circumstances where a student may hold registrations at both their ‘home’ institution and Bristol e.g. under an articulation agreement; as opposed to concurrent ‘study’ on two programmes.

Change

A new policy and over-arching regulations on Academic Student Support, encompassing personal tutoring, provide a framework within which Schools and departments can operate an effective personal tutoring system which is sensitive to local circumstances and appropriate for the level of study. (section 5 and annex 4)

Rationale

The primary aims of the new policy are to: ensure a consistent approach is taken to academic personal tutoring in all schools for all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students; clarify the roles and expectations of Academic Personal Tutors, Senior Tutors and students in the personal tutoring process; and ensure undergraduate and taught postgraduate students experience enhanced academic support and transition to, within and from the University

Change

18.30 The manipulation of the mark itself is not permissible. should be considered only as a last resort and applied in exceptional acute circumstances by a higher mark being awarded on the basis of performance in other contexts.

Rationale

To clarify that it should not be permissible to manipulate a mark due to extenuating circumstances, where currently it is acknowledged as a possibility, albeit a ‘last resort’.

Change

37.10 A student must acquire the necessary credit before progressing to the next component of study. Where it has not been possible for the relevant board of examiners to consider the student’s formal progress prior to the commencement of the next component, the Chair of the Faculty Board of Examiners may permit the student to register for the next component without the necessary credit, pending and subject to the decision of the board of examiners. Where a postgraduate taught programme forms the taught component of a doctoral programme, it may have a bespoke programme structure and progression within the taught component may operate differently in those cases.

Rationale

To take account of the way that the credit-bearing taught component of integrated doctoral programmes are configured. These taught components do not follow the standard PGT programme structure. The two elements (taught and research components) may run concurrently and/or may span a number of years under approaches that meet the research training needs for each doctoral programme. Progression within the taught component does not therefore align the standard PGT progression rules. An addition to regulation has been made to acknowledge the bespoke structures and progression for these taught components.

Change

A new institutional approach for considering and dealing with circumstances that impact upon a student’s ability to submit a written piece of coursework by the set deadline (i.e. requesting an extension) in undergraduate programmes.

Rationale

Currently there is minimal policy governing requests for extensions, which has meant that schools have had to manage these circumstances and such requests. A new common approach (primarily relating to those pieces of coursework that are ‘high-stake’ and set well in advance of the deadline) has therefore been introduced for undergraduate programmes in the first instance.

Change

10.16 Students should be provided with a clear timetable at the start of the unit (or year of study for a programme, if appropriate) as to when coursework will be set, when it should be submitted and when they will receive feedback on it. Students should be given a reasonable amount of time for planning, writing and reviewing their work before the submission date, relative to the learning on the unit and their overall workload for the programme. Within this, coursework should be set at the commencement of the unit, unless there is good academic reason otherwise.

Rationale

To emphasise that students should be set their coursework at the start of a unit, such that they have maximum time to plan, prepare, write and review their work before the submission date, unless there is a good academic reason why it should be set later.

Change

29.9   A student will not be permitted to undertake the assessment again where they have already fulfilled the criteria for the award of credit points for the unit. As detailed in Section 17, a Board of Examiners must consider the effect of previous extenuating circumstances, if applicable, on its decision-making (e.g. disregarding a unit mark for the purposes of classifying the degree).

Exceptionally, a Board of Examiners may permit a student who has achieved credit for a unit or units, despite being affected by extenuating circumstances, to repeat an entire year of study without penalty. This should normally only apply where: (i) the circumstance has been classified as ‘severe’ and has affected the student for a significant period of their studies; and (ii) the board judges that it is in the student’s best interest and they are reasonably likely to improve their marks. Where such an exception is applied, the credit and the original mark for a unit that has been affected by extenuating circumstances should be voided prior to the student commencing the next academic year. Students should be informed of this course of action.

Rationale

To introduce the ability for a board of examiners to permit a student to repeat the entire year of study without penalty due to severe extenuating circumstances, despite the student having previously achieved the criteria for the award of credit in a unit or units. This will enable boards to void a year of study for a student who has been severely impacted by extenuating circumstances, but who has managed to marginally pass a unit, and enable them to repeat the entire year of study afresh without penalty where it is in their interest to do so.

Change

29.14.2 Students may be permitted to conditionally 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, provided conditions (a-f) are satisfied. Schools and faculties are not under any obligation to allow conditional progress on their programmes.

a) The failed unit is not “must-pass”, fundamental to the programme objectives, being discontinued with no available alternative, and/or is a prerequisite for units in the subsequent year.

b) The total of the failed unit/s does not exceed twenty credit points.

c) The student has achieved at least the pass mark for the year.

d) The student has not elected to undertake the supplementary year. Where applicable, conditional progression will be automatically applied by a board of examiners; however, a student may elect to instead take the supplementary year.

e) The student has attempted (and failed) the relevant assessments in the unit at least once.

f) The programme specification explicitly sets out where in the structure conditional progression may be employed.

Rationale

To establish that a student must have attempted (and failed) the assessment for a unit at least once in order to be eligible for conditional progression by the time they are considered for progression at the September board of examiners’ meeting. This will remove the possibility of a student self-certifying absence from an examination for both attempts before they are considered for conditional progression.

Change 8.6 and 23.13 Tier 4 students registered on a four-year Integrated Masters Degree in most circumstances cannot undertake a second supplementary year due to UK Immigration Rules’ application of a five-year study cap to Tier 4 study in the UK. Please contact the Student Visa Services Team to determine whether a student may be eligible. Additionally, Tier 4 students registered on a five-year Integrated Masters degree (e.g. with a Year Abroad/ in Industry) cannot undertake a supplementary year in any circumstance due to the same restriction on the visa.
Rationale To comply with UK Immigration Rules of a five-year study cap to Tier 4 study in the UK.
Change A new consolidated section on reasonable adjustment to assessment because of disability or other reason has integrated the content of and replaces the previous:
  • section on ‘assessment and disability’
  • the sub-section on ‘extenuating circumstances and disability’
  • the annex ‘guidance on reasonable adjustments to the assessment of disabled students'
Rationale To consolidate the information provided in the Taught Code on disability in relation to assessment into a single section and remove repetition.

Annexes