8.   Forms of Assessment

The University has established a series of institutional principles for assessment and feedback in taught programmes. The principles are a statement of the University’s approach to assessment and the provision of feedback such that both staff and students share common expectations and are aware of their responsibilities. They are available at: www.bristol.ac.uk/academic-quality/assessment/assessment-and-feedback-principles/.

8.1      The assessment methods that might be expected in taught programmes are provided at: www.bristol.ac.uk/academic-quality/assessment/annex/annex-formsofassessment.html.

8.2      A programme need not employ all the forms of assessment but the range should be sufficient to enable the full spectrum of knowledge and skills (both subject specific and generic) embodied in the programme and unit intended learning outcomes, to be appropriately assessed individually or cumulatively.

8.3      In assessing a unit composed of more than one component, it is the unit as a whole, not each component that needs to be satisfactorily completed, except where it has been designated as ‘must-pass’. Components need not be capable of being separately assessed, although programmes may require a component to be satisfactorily completed in order for a unit to be passed and enable the credit points to be awarded.

8.4      All assessment should be undertaken in the language in which the material from the unit is taught, unless there is a clear academic rationale for doing otherwise. Where this is the case, the rationale must be approved as part of the normal programme and unit approval process and students informed prior to or on the commencement of their studies. Students may not request assessment to be conducted in an alternative language other than as allowed by this clause.

Assuring assessment criteria and intended learning outcomes at unit level  

8.5      Faculties are responsible for ensuring that students are given clear guidance on the assessment requirements of their programmes, whilst Schools are responsible for this at the unit level. 

8.6      Unit specifications must provide sufficient information about the assessment in relation to the intended learning outcomes.

8.7      Any significant changes to a unit, at whatever level it is approved, should automatically trigger a review of whether the assessment methods and criteria remain congruent with the unit’s intended learning outcomes.

8.8      Annual review mechanisms for units (annual unit or programme reviews) must provide appropriate opportunities for evaluating whether the assessments test the stated unit objectives/learning outcomes.

Academic scrutiny of assessment

8.9      The Head of School is responsible for ensuring that procedures are in place to assure the quality and standards of assessment. These procedures are normally implemented by one or more School Examinations Officer(s) (see Section 20).

8.10      All summative assessment tasks and marking schemes should normally be subject to review by a second person, except in cases where the assessment accounts for the equivalent of 25 percent or less of the overall mark in a 20 credit point unit (e.g. 50 percent in a 10 credit point unit).

8.11      External examiners should be asked to scrutinise all examination papers and any summative assessment tasks that accounts to the equivalent of more than 25 percent of the overall mark in a 20 credit point unit and contributes to the final degree result. To facilitate this, external examiners should have access to the relevant information relating to aims and objectives, contents, intended learning outcomes, assessment methods, marking criteria and any model answers.