In-Course Test

What is an ' In-Course Test'?

The following definition of 'in-course test' (ICT) was approved by LTB in January 2016 (LTB Paper 2016/08) :

A format for elements of assessment of a module with the following characteristics:

  • May be open- or closed-book
  • Organised by a School independently of the University examination timetable, but may be administered in part by the Central Student Administration Office (CSAO)
  • ILP arrangements will be managed by Schools even where the ICT is administered in part by CSAO
  • Conducted under similar rigorous conditions as University examinations with regard to honouring ILPs, invigilation, individual working and adequate desk/lab space and compliant with Central Student Administration Office's new protocol
  • Where an ILP is in place, the adapted test will allow ILP students to demonstrate their achievement of all the test learning outcomes. So as not to disadvantage students with ILP arrangements, abbreviated test content must not be used as an adaptation where the ILP specifies increased time
  • Time limited (no longer than 45 minutes)*.

* The ICT has been limited to 45 minutes in order to suit the timetable slots available. If a longer time is required, it may be possible to schedule the ICT in two timetabled slots (1.5 hours) depending on CSAO and Timetabling.

Where can I get assistance and advice to run my In-course test?

The CSAO can provide guidance and assistance for running ICTs and a checklist is available for ICTs run by Schools.

When will this new definition apply?

This definition was approved in January 2016 by LTB and will impact Autumn and Spring modules for 2016/2017.

Can my 'in-course test' be worth more than 20% of the module?

Following further discussions on limiting the percentage value of ICTs, it was agreed at the March LTB (Minute 1366 12.10) that "a single formal ICT should not contribute more than 20% of the total marks for a module.” This means that any single ICT can contribute up to 20% of the final module mark only. Modules currently running with an ICT worth more than 20% of the module mark will need to be changed in time for the start of 2017/18. This applies equally to 15 and 30 credit modules.

How will this affect my modules which currently include 'tests'?

Many modules currently include in-course (i.e. term time) written 'test' elements previously known under various headings such as in-class exam (ICE), in-class test (ICT) or in-class assessment (ICA). These will now fall into the category of in-course test (with a limit on the percentage value). Assessments meeting this definition will be categorised as 'in-course test' and will not form a part of the 'coursework' category. There are implications arising from this such as reporting requirements for SITS and module catalogue; revising module specifications and providing accurate information to students on assessment patterns (see above). Module conveners are advised to match their existing test structures to the new in-course test definition. Attention is drawn to the time restriction, percentage limit, test conduct requirements and ILP management. Further detailed guidance for Schools on managing in-course tests is currently being drafted by CSAO.

My module includes OSCE*/practical/performance style assessments. Are these included?

No. The ICT category includes exam style written tests similar in format to June exams but held in term time (see definition above). In general, if your assessment was called an in-class exam (ICE), in-class test (ICT) or in-class assessment (ICA), it is most likely covered by the new definition. If in doubt, check with your Faculty Associate Dean (L&T). *Observed Structured Clinical Exam.

What is included in the definition?

As indicated above, the definition applies to written exam-style tests conducted out of the normal June exam period. If you have any questions, check with your Faculty Associate Dean (L&T).

What do I need to do?

For 2016/2017: Information provided to students (e.g. Module Guides, handbooks etc.) must be updated to show in-course tests separately from coursework.

For 2017/2018: Modules containing ICTs will need to be updated during 2016/17 as follows:

  • Update new headline assessment weightings: A simple re-categorisation of in-course tests to reflect the change from coursework to the new headline ICT weighting can be treated as a minor change.
  • Modules containing single ICTs over 20%: Any current ICT that is for greater than 20% will need to be changed in the usual way for a change in assessment weighting. OSCE type exams do not fall under the definition above and so will not require changes.

Revisions to SDS: A further consideration for Schools is to meet deadlines for reporting ICTs as part of module information for SITS as follows:

  • Assessment Pattern Description by the end of February 2016
  • Assessment Type Events by the end of March 2016
  • ICTs to be identified in Module Catalogue.

Why has this definition been introduced?

In 2014, questions were raised regarding tests and the reasons for using them in modules. It was suggested that some of these reasons may be administrative rather than pedagogical, and that the accurate management of this form of assessment could be blurred by the categorisation of a 'test' as coursework despite it's similarity to exams (and the students perception of the test as an exam). It was also noted that in class assessments were interpreted differently by different Schools and concerns were raised to both the Learning and Teaching Board (LTB 46/2014) and the Assessment and Feedback Steering Group (AFSG 14-2015) regarding the lack of a standardised University wide definition of in class assessments.

Fairness of test management was raised as a concern by SSW and CSAO since tests, as coursework, had been administered under a range of conditions with differing levels of security. Some tests may be of a high assessment weighting, but invigilation, security and ILP adjustments are unknown and not monitored at University level.

In the interests of consistency, fairness and transparency of data to students (for example through Key Information Sets (KIS) data) a definition was proposed in 2015 and approved in January 2016. The Central Student Administration Office have guidance on managing ICTs (where they are not being managed by CSAO) so all students receive a consistent test experience. See CSAO.

For more information on assessment@kent contact the curriculum development team.

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Last Updated: 19/10/2017