Academic session: The University’s teaching year, made up of three terms, running from late September/early October to mid-June the following year. For most postgraduate Master’s degree students, the period of study extends throughout the summer vacation.
Accreditation of prior learning (APL): The identification, assessment and formal acknowledgement of prior learning and achievement. This may be either certificated learning (APCL) or prior experiential learning (APEL) where learning achieved outside education or training systems is assessed and recognised for academic purposes.
Anonymous marking: The identity of students is not revealed to markers and/or the Board of Examiners.
Assessment: A generic term for processes that measure students’ learning, skills and understanding. Assessment can be diagnostic, formative or summative.
Assignment : A piece of coursework (e.g. project or essay) to be completed by a student.
Credit points : Credit points are awarded to a learner in recognition of the verified achievement of designated learning outcomes at a specified level.
Credit accumulation : The process of achieving credits over time in relation to a planned programme of study.
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 a programmes delivered by another HE provider.
Credit value : The number of credits, at a particular level, assigned to a body of learning. The number of credits is based on the estimated notional learning hours (where one credit represents 10 notional hours of learning).
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.
Co-requisite: A requirement that certain units must be studied together, either at the same time or in sequence.
Debtor: A person owing money to the University e.g. tuition or accommodation fees.
Dissertation Supervisor: A member of the academic staff assigned to a taught postgraduate student undertaking a dissertation to provide academic guidance and personal support.
Double marking: Student work is independently assessed by more than one 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 where double marking is used are advised to devise brief notes to assist markers, incorporating the requirement for individual record-keeping as outlined above.
Element: A self-contained body of teaching (e.g. lecture group, tutorials, laboratory studies), given to a common group of students. An element need not be capable of being separately assessed.
Extenuating (or mitigating) circumstance: Reasons put forward by a student, with supporting evidence, to the Board of Examiners in advance of the Board’s meeting, to explain absence from or poor performance in assessment/s.
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:
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. The Code in no way prescribes how the marks are determined: in each subject, examiners will adopt procedures appropriate to their discipline.
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 is 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:
The less prescriptive the assessed task (i.e. the lower the expectation of conformity to a model answer), the more necessary it is to ensure an effective moderation strategy.
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 (i.e. not have any pre- or co-requisites), subject to space and timetabling constraints, normally at level 4.
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 his/her work alone. Proven cases of plagiarism attract a range of penalties which are detailed in the University Examination Regulations.
Pre-requisite: A requirement which must be satisfied as a condition of entry to a programme or unit.
Programme: A formal structured course of study over one or more academic years during which a number of units in a subject discipline or group of disciplines are taken leading to an award. The structure of each taught programme is available in the Programme Catalogue:
QAA: Quality Assurance Agency
Re-sit: A re-assessment that is taken because of failure to achieve the minimum standard at the first attempt. A “re-sit” need not be in the same form as the original assessment, as long as it: tests the same learning outcomes, does not compromise any competence standards; and applies to the entire cohort of students who are undertaking the re-assessment.
Qualification descriptors: Generic statements of the outcomes of study for the main qualification at each level which exemplify the nature and characteristics of that qualification.
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.
Teaching block: Although, for attendance purposes, the year is broken up into three terms, teaching on taught programmes is delivered in two 12-week teaching blocks, followed by a 5-week assessment period.
Term: A teaching period of about 10 weeks. The autumn term is followed by the Christmas vacation (approximately 4 weeks), the spring term is followed by the Easter vacation (approx. 4 weeks) and the summer term is followed by the summer vacation (approx. 14 weeks)
Unit: A unit may be mandatory or optional and must be capable of being separately assessed. A unit may consist of one or more elements.