Teaching

Validation Handbook

Section 7 Guidance on Boards of Examiners Meetings

The guidance in this section has been extracted from the following:

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7.1: Boards of Examiners

7.1.1 Who sits on a Board of Examiners?

A Board of Examiners is appointed for each programme of study and is made up of:

  • One or more External Examiner(s), appointed by the University.
  • One University of Kent examiner, from the relevant School, who acts as Chair.
  • One examiner from the Validated Institution who is appointed as Deputy Chair (normally the programme leader or equivalent).
  • Examiners from the Validated Institutions i.e. normally one marker for each module on the programme.
  • One Secretary to the Panel, a member of staff from the Validated Institution.
  • One member of staff from Kent’s QAO who acts as an advisor to the Board.

Boards of Examiners are appointed annually by the University, in line with this requirement Validated Institutions will routinely be asked to provide CVs for examiners.

Please see Section 2 of this Handbook ‘Annual Timetable’ of dates for more information.

7.1.2 What are the responsibilities of the Board of Examiners?

The Board of Examiners is responsible for:

  • Reviewing the marking of coursework and confirming the marks to be awarded;
  • Making recommendations for the award of Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees to students who have successfully completed programmers of study;
  • Making recommendations with regard to progression, referrals and termination of registration of students.

7.1.3 How often does the Board of Examiners meet?

A Board of Examiners will meet at least annually. Some partners may require more than one Board per year, for example where they have undergraduate and postgraduate students completing at different points in the calendar.

7.1.4 What does the External Examiner do in relation to Boards of Examiners?

The External Examiner is required to attend Boards of Examiners at which decisions are to be made about the award of degrees.

Externals will submit an annual report to the University within four weeks of the meeting of the Board of Examiners via an online submission system.

A copy of this report will be made available to the Validated Institution by the QAO and they will be asked to respond to it within four weeks of receipt.

The full roles and responsibilities of the External Examiner are detailed in Annex K, section 9: http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/codes/taught/annexk.html#role

Please note the following:

  • An External Examiner, as a full member of the relevant Board of Examiners (BoE), has the right to be present at all BoE meetings at which significant decisions are to be taken in regard to the specialisms with which he/she has been concerned (including where appropriate the setting of papers), and is required to be present at all final BoE meetings in the subject(s) in which he/she has been involved. At the end of such Board of Examiners meetings, the External Examiner is required to sign the pass list or other list of students progressing from one stage to the next to confirm that he/she endorses the decisions made at the Board.
  • Where a Board of Examiners has been arranged, but the External Examiner then advises that he/she is no longer able to attend on that date, that absence may only be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, and only under exceptional circumstances. Where such absence is not approved, the Board of Examiners must be re-arranged for the earliest date possible.
  • External Examiners are invited, but are not required, to attend meetings of Boards of Examiners convened to consider referral results and deferral results. Boards of Examiners will have considered students’ cases following the initial assessment and will set out provisional decisions in each student’s case pending the results of the referrals and the deferrals. The decisions about awards to students following referrals and deferrals taken by Boards of Examiners in the absence of a relevant External Examiner will be subject to confirmation by the appropriate External Examiner.

7.1.5 Where can I find further information on the role of External Examiners?

As stated further information on External Examiners can be found in Annex K of the Code of Practice for Taught programmes - http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/codes/taught/annexk.html
Information is also available on the appointment and renewal of External Examiners within this Handbook, in Section 13 - http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/collaborative/validation/handbook/section13.html

7.1.6 What does the Deputy Chair do?

The Deputy Chair, appointed from the Validated Institution, is responsible for:

  • Making arrangements for meetings and for informing members of those arrangements.
  • Ensuring that all members of the Board of Examiners receive detailed information about the programme, including assessment requirements and the programme syllabus.
  • Ensuring that arrangements for the approval of examination papers and monitoring of internal marking are agreed with the External Examiner(s) and are consistent with the requirements of the University’s Code of Practice.
  • Ensuring that proofs of examination question papers are checked for level, spread, accuracy, clarity and appropriateness, that where questions are divided into parts the marks allocated to each part are shown on the paper, and that all draft examination papers are sent to the appropriate External Examiner for comment and approval;
  • Convening a preliminary meeting of internal examiners to agree provisional marks (see Preliminary Meetings below).
  • Ensuring that appropriate documentation, including an agenda, is provided at meetings of Boards of Examiners.
  • Ensuring that advance mark sheets are provided to the QAO one week prior to the date of the Board of Examiners.
  • Ensuring that the composite mark sheet for each student on the programme is amended as appropriate during the meeting and is signed by the Chair, Deputy Chair and the External Examiner and presented to the advisor of the QAO once the meeting has been closed.
  • Ensuring that the Board of Examiners is informed of all medical evidence and other evidence of mitigating circumstances submitted by students.
  • Ensuring that students are informed of decisions made regarding their progress and the award of qualifications.
  • Informing candidates selected for a viva voce examination of the time and place of the viva, and its purpose.
  • Ensuring that where the Board of Examiners considers the work of students who have not, at that point, completed their programme of study, such examination scripts, extended essays and dissertations are properly and securely stored so that they are available if required for re-reading by the Examiners in the light of the final year performance of candidates.

7.1.7 What does the Chair of the Board of Examiners do?

The Chair of Examiners is responsible for chairing the Board of Examiners on behalf of the University and for;

  • Advising the Board with regard to regulations and conventions and their interpretation.
  • Ensuring that a record is kept of the decisions made by the Board and that these decisions are acted upon.
  • Where the Board makes a decision other than that indicated by the conventions, ensuring that the reasons for doing so are recorded on the official record of results.
  • Ensuring the External Examiner(s), signs the official record to confirm their acceptance of the decisions made by the Board.

7.1.8 What does the Secretary do?

The Validated Institution will appoint a member of its staff to act as Secretary to the Board of Examiners. The Secretary will:

  • Attend meetings of the Board of Examiners.
  • Be responsible for recording the decisions made by the Board including the consideration given to specific cases. Most decisions are recorded on the composite mark sheet which is signed and appended to the minutes (the format of the minutes should follow that of the agenda).
  • Ensure the minutes record details of any special cases which are discussed and that they accurately report all decisions and discussions clearly. In the case of a subsequent appeal, minutes are vital.
  • Ensure that the Board has addressed all marginal and failing students with care and has made explicit the reasons for its decisions. (Where a Board might have used some discretion but has chosen not to do so, this should also be recorded).
  • Confirm to members the decisions of the Board as recorded on the official record in order to ensure that decisions have been correctly recorded.
  • Ensure that all members of Boards of Examiners are provided with the relevant regulations and Examination Conventions.
  • Ensure that lists showing recommendations for the award of qualifications are prepared and submitted to QAO who will create a pass list and arrange for their approval.

Appended to the pass list will be the annotated composite mark sheets which include the signatures of the External Examiner and the Chair.

7.1.9 What is the role of the Quality Assurance Office?

  • The QAO representative will attend the meeting to advise on regulations and conventions and their interpretation.
  • The QAO will receive the signed, annotated mark sheet after the Board (via the Secretary/Deputy Chair at the meeting) and will ensure that the pass list is generated from this and signed by the relevant Faculty Dean.
  • The QAO will send this pass list to the Deputy Chair (or other designated representative from the Validated Institution).
  • The QAO will ensure that final marks are input onto the student record to assist with the production of transcripts.

Please Note:

Students must not be informed that awards are finalised until after the pass list has been signed by the relevant University of Kent Faculty Dean, and the partner has been informed of this by the QAO.

Pass lists can take up to two weeks to be signed, and partners are expected to make allowances for this when informing students of when their final award will be confirmed.

7.1.10 How should composite mark sheets be presented?

Partners may devise their own composite mark sheets to be presented to the Board of Examiners; however here are some key areas that all composites should include:

  • Student Indicator – this should not be the student name, but some form of student reference number*
  • Module name, code, and credit value for each module
  • Final overall, rounded module mark (this is the mark rouned in line with the requirements in Annex 6 of the Credit Framework – Marking, http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex6.html
  • Number of Credits gained by each student
  • Total average grade for finalist students (to one decimal place i.e. 70.5)
  • Classification under average
  • Classification under preponderance
  • Indication of any students on a Borderline (for PG students and UG students starting prior to September 2014).
  • For UG students only, indication of any who are eligible for a raise as their final classification is within 0.5 of the next boundary.
  • Notes on any other information useful to the Board, i.e. extensions, re-sit/repeated modules, deferrals, intermissions, Compensation/Condonement etc.

For finalist students partners should always provide on one sheet the students final year marks and the marks from any other stage which contributes to their final award (i.e. for BA (Hons) degree, marks for stages 2 and 3), as this enables Boards to assess their classification under preponderance.

Examples of such sheets are available at in Annex A of this Handbook

*Following the Board of Examiners, when all decisions have been agreed and finalised Institutions will need to provide a copy of the composite mark sheet, with student names, for signing by the Chair, Deputy Chair and External Examiner (s). This signed mark sheet is then used to produce the pass list for the programme.

Please Note: Composite mark sheets must be forwarded to the QAO one week prior to the Board of Examiners.

7.2: Conduct of Meetings

7.2.1 Confidentiality

All discussion at meetings of Boards of Examiners shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to students except where such disclosure is authorised by the University’s Academic Registrar.

All mark sheets presented at Boards of Examiners shall be anonymised.

7.2.2 Impartiality

Any member of a Board of Examiners who has a particular interest in a student or students to be considered by the Board must declare such interest at the start of the meeting or in advance to the Chair of the Board.

The Chair of the Board shall decide whether it would be appropriate for such a member to withdraw for part or all of the meeting. Individual members of academic staff should not take on a formal role of representing or advocating the interests of an individual student.


7.3 Preliminary Meetings – Concessionary Committee

Before each meeting of a Board of Examiners, the Chair shall convene a meeting of a small number of internal members of the Board of Examiners (i.e. the Chair and normally no more than three members) to agree recommendations to be made to the Board regarding concessions for students about whom medical or other concessionary evidence has been received.

The term concession is used to describe action taken in recognition of events which cause exceptional interference with academic performance and which are beyond the normal difficulties experienced in life.

This includes circumstances such as sudden, severe illness (confirmed by medical certificate) preventing attendance at an examination, or adversely affecting performance at an examination, or preventing work from being submitted by the deadline set.

7.3.1 Application of Concessions

The University allows Boards of Examiners to award credit and make adjustments to module marks where student performance has been adversely impacted by medical or other documented concessionary circumstances over and above the normal difficulties experienced in life.

The purpose of taking these steps under such circumstances is to arrive at an outcome that properly represents the student’s achievement for the affected module(s) or for the stage or programme.

For more detail on concessions and for guidance on their application please see the specific guidance document provided at:
https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/guidance/guidance-concessions-ug-students.html

This document sets out the measures that might be used by Boards for this purpose, along with the principles that underlie them and the limitations of their use.

Data Collection

  • Institutions are required to record concessions, where their application will result in a fail becoming a pass. These records must be provided to the University by the applicable deadline.

The required spreadsheet to record such concessions, and guidance on keeping these records can be found at: https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/guidance/index.html or can be provided on request by the QAO.

It should be noted that this data collection exercise is not concerned with recording interventions that do not result in the award of credit (i.e. where the module(s) had been passed prior to the intervention).

7.3.2 Placement Marks

From September 2014 the contribution made Placement to the classification of programmes will vary, depending on whether marks during study away from the Validated Institution have been determined by staff at the Validated Institution or by staff at the placement provider.

The measures included in the Credit Framework 12.4.2.1 will apply:

https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfo.html#classification

7.4: Preliminary Meetings - Pre-meeting of the Board

Before each meeting of a Board of Examiners, and separate to the Concessionary Committee meeting, the Deputy Chair may convene a pre-meeting to consider other matters as it deems appropriate. Such matters might include

  • ensuring that an accurate set of marks is available;
  • deciding which candidates should be drawn to the attention of the External Examiner and making recommendations for viva voce examinations2;
  • recommendations to be made regarding borderline candidates3;
  • reviewing the range of marks awarded for each module; and
  • identification of other issues requiring discussion by the Board of Examiners.

The meeting is to ensure that any internal discussion of marks and other issues are resolved before the Board of Examiners’ meeting. A written note of the meeting should be kept to record decisions made, including criteria for decisions made on borderline cases.

The identities of candidates shall not be made known to examiners during the course of this meeting.

7.5: Notification of Boards of Examiners Meeting and Supporting Papers

The Deputy Chair of the Board of Examiners is responsible for ensuring that all members of the Board are notified in good time of the time, date and location of the final Board of Examiners meeting and that they receive in advance or at the meeting:

  • An agenda for the meeting (see below)
  • Conventions for the awards under consideration
  • Appropriate assessment data

All members of a Board of Examiners are required to attend meetings of the Board except that External Examiners are only required to attend meetings at which decisions are to be made about recommendations for awards.

7.5.1 Sample Agenda

The agenda for a meeting of a Board of Examiners might include the items listed below but will need adjustment to reflect the purposes of the meeting.

It is the responsibility of the Validated Institution to provide the agenda for the meeting and to carry out other duties of the Secretary to the Board.

a) Introductions and Welcome to New Members
b) Apologies for Absence
c) Declarations of Interests
d) Chair's Communications
e) Comments of External Examiner(s)
f) Report on Preliminary Meeting to consider Concessions etc.
g) Reports from other Boards of Examiners (as appropriate)
h) Consideration of Marks on Modules

  • to consider statistical information on module marks
  • to confirm module marks for students for whom there is no concessionary evidence
  • to confirm module marks for students for whom there is concessionary evidence

i) To agree recommendations for the award of degrees and other qualifications
j) To consider the award of prizes
k) To agree recommendations with regard to progression to the next stage of the programme.
l) To agree recommendations with regard to students who have not met requirements for an award or to progress and appoint panel to deal with resits;
m) Confirmation of Decisions: Secretary to obtain signature(s) of External Examiner(s) on final mark sheet) Concluding Remarks from External Examiner(s)
o) Date of Next Meeting
p) Any Other Business

 

7.5.2 Submission of Marks

Deputy Chairs are required to submit the provisional marks for each programme of study in advance of the Board of Examiners in the form of a composite mark sheet.

This should be circulated to members of the Board in advance of the meeting and to the QAO one week prior to the meeting.

Any amendments to marks at the meeting should be noted on these sheets.

Once all marks have been confirmed by the Board a final and complete version of the sheet must be signed by the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Board of Examiners and the External Examiner(s).

The final version of the marks sheet should include student names to allow the Pass List to be produced. At the end of the meeting the final version of the mark sheet should be given to the advisor from QAO in attendance at the Board.

Finalist students must only be informed of their final approved marks and classification once the pass list for the course has been signed by the relevant University Faculty Dean.

7.5.3 Input of Marks

As well as providing composite mark sheets a week ahead of the Board, Validated Institutions should also ensure that marks have been input into the web based Student Data System by the date of the Board.

This enables the QAO to process the pass lists for the programme in a timely fashion.

The QAO are able to advise on the input of marks where required.

7.5.4 Notification to Students

The Deputy Chair will ensure that the Validated Institution notifies students of their results and any conditions which students have to fulfil in order to progress.

Students should be informed that final year marks and classifications remain provisional until the pass list for the course has been signed by the relevant Faculty Dean.

7.6: Assessment Conventions for Taught Degrees, Top Up Programmes and Foundation Degrees

Please Note:

Alternative marking and classification schemes are no longer permissible for Validated Institutions and all partners will be expected to operate in line with the University’s Credit Framework in full for new students commencing programmes of study from September 2014.

Institutions should therefore be aware that students entering from September 2014, should be considered in line with Kent’s Credit Framework, and that any exemptions from the framework no longer apply (with the exception of approved preponderance exemptions for postgraduate programmes).

Details of any alternative assessment conventions which apply to students who commenced prior to September 2014 can be found under each Validated Institution’s profile page at:
http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/collaborative/validation/profiles/index.html

7.6.1 Award of Degrees

A student may only be recommended for an award by the University of a Degree in a specified subject if:

  • the minimum requirements in terms of the number and levels of credits for the award in question are met, except where the student has been granted limited exemption from these requirements through credit transfer, accreditation of prior learning or accreditation of prior experiential learning

    AND
  • the requirements of the programme of study which has been approved as leading to the award in question are met, except where the student has been granted limited exemption from these requirements through credit transfer, accreditation of prior learning or accreditation of prior experiential learning.

7.6.2 Successful Completion of Module

A student who successfully demonstrates via assessment that he/she has achieved the specified learning outcomes for a module will be awarded the number and level of credits prescribed for the module. Assessment methods vary between modules and assessment is designed so that achievement of the pass mark or above will demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes. Normally individual assessments hold the same pass mark as the pass mark of the module. Module specifications will state if the pass mark has to be achieved overall and/or in prescribed elements of assessment. Where a student has an overall mark for a module which is above the pass mark but has failed a component of the assessment which must be passed, the overall mark for the module will be recorded as one mark below the pass mark e.g. if the pass mark is 40, an overall mark of 39 will be recorded. In certain modules, assessment may be on a Pass/Fail or a Fail/Pass/Merit/Distinction basis and numerical marks will not be awarded.

For all modules at levels 3 to 6 the pass mark will be 40% except where approved exemptions exist for students commencing prior to September 2014. For all level 7 modules the pass mark will be 50%

7.6.3 Condonement

Where a student fails a module or modules but claims that this was due to illness or other mitigating circumstances, the Board of Examiners may condone such failure and award credits for the module(s), up to a limit of 25% of each stage of a programme of study (Annex J of the Code of Practice for Taught Programmes section 5.2 https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/codes/taught/annexj.html) and with the possible application of additional measures (Annex J of the Code of Practice for Taught Programmes section 5.3 ), provided that there is evidence to show that the student has achieved the programme learning outcomes and provided that the student has submitted written medical or other evidence to substantiate any claim of illness or other mitigating circumstances. The marks achieved for such modules will not be adjusted to take account of the mitigating circumstances but transcripts issued to the student will indicate modules for which credits have been awarded via condonement. In order to ensure that the application of condonement does not disadvantage a student when an award is classified, where credit for a module is awarded by condonement, the mark awarded for that module should be excluded from the calculation of the classification of the award. Programme specifications specify modules in which failure cannot be condoned.

Note 1: The above does not preclude a Board of Examiners from adjusting a module mark where a student has failed to complete assessment requirements for good reason as described in Annex 6, paragraph 24 of the Credit Framework http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex6.html

7.6.4 Compensation

Where a student fails a module or modules but has marks for such modules which are within 10 percentage points of the pass mark (see note 1 below) the Board of Examiners may nevertheless award the student the credits for the module(s), up to a limit of 25% of each stage of a programme of study, provided that the student has an average mark for the stage which is at or above the pass mark and provided that there is evidence to show that programme learning outcomes have been achieved. The marks achieved for such modules will not be adjusted but transcripts issued to the student will indicate modules for which credits have been awarded via compensation. In order to ensure that the application of compensation does not disadvantage a student when an award is classified, where credit for a module is awarded by compensation, the mark used for classification should be the Pass mark for the module. The mark on the transcript will not be adjusted. Programme specifications specify modules in which failure cannot be compensated.

Note 1: i.e. The achievement of a mark in the range 30%-39% for modules at levels 3 to 6: the achievement of a mark in the range 40-49% for modules at level 7.

Note 2: The above does not preclude a Board of Examiners from adjusting a module mark where a student has failed to complete assessment requirements for good reason as described in Annex 6, paragraph 23 of the Credit Framework https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex6.html

7.6.5 Concurrent Application of the Condonement, Compensation and Trailing Provisions

The application of condonement, compensation or trailing provisions is limited to a maximum cumulative total of 25% of the credit available for any stage.

7.6.6 Application of the Condonement, Compensation and Trailing Provisions

The provision allowed for the condonement or compensation of failure or for the trailing and retrieving of credit should only be applied with respect to students who fail modules amounting to 25% or less of the credit available for the stage.

Please Note: Some validated programmes will not be able to apply these provisions due to the module composition at each stage of the programme. In some instance one module is worth more than 25% of the credit available at one stage.

7.6.7 Progression

When a student has completed a stage of a programme of study, other than the final stage, the appropriate Board of Examiners will decide whether the student may progress to the next stage of the programme of study or to another programme, if appropriate.

The normal requirement for progression from one stage of a programme of study to the next is that the student should have obtained 100% of the credits for the stage. Where a student has failed to obtain 100% of the credits for the stage, but has obtained at least 75% of the credits and has obtained credits for those modules which the programme specification indicates must be obtained before progression is permitted, the appropriate Board of Examiners might require the student to repeat or resit the failed modules or it might give permission for the failed modules to be compensated, condoned or trailed into the next stage. Boards of Examiners may apply additional requirements for progression (i.e. additional to the achievement of the credit required to proceed to the next stage) provided that:

  • this involves progression into a stage composed predominantly of modules of a higher level;
  • the additional requirements are outlined in an approved programme specification for the cohort under consideration; and
  • any students who do not meet the additional progression criteria either have (i) an alternative progression route onto another programme of study; or (ii) receive an appropriate exit award.

When a student has completed a year of study but has not completed a stage of a programme of study, the Board of Examiners will recommend whether the student may continue with his or her studies.

7.6.8 Referral

Where a student is not permitted to progress to the next stage of a programme, or at the end of a year of study other than the end of a stage of a programme has failed a module or modules, the Board of Examiners may permit the student to undertake further assessment in failed modules. The Board of Examiners will specify which elements of assessment the student is required to undertake. Except in cases where students have been informed in advance that alternative assessment will not be permitted, elements of assessment that are unrepeatable, e.g. seminar contributions, should be substituted by other assignments testing the same learning outcomes. In cases where alternative assessment is not permitted, students failing unrepeatable elements may only retrieve credit by repeating the entire module. Marks already obtained for elements of assessment which the student is not required to undertake again will be carried forward unless the Board of Examiners specifies otherwise. Two referral opportunities per module will be automatically permitted, the first of which is normally available during the long vacation following the initial failure. This means that a student may not be withdrawn on grounds of failure unless s/he has exhausted both referral opportunities for any failed module.

It should be noted that Boards retain the option to compensate failure in a module under the conditions and limits set out at 7.6.4 above. Compensation and referral constitute different options available to examiners when considering failure on modules. A student who is compensated (i.e. awarded credit for a close fail) is not referred (i.e. required to repeat elements of assessment).

A student who is so referred in a module may be required to, or may elect to, repeat the module, before progressing to the next stage of the programme, provided that it is being taught in the year in question, or may choose to take a different module provided that the requirements of the programme of study are still met, but must do so before progressing to the next stage of the programme.

In cases where a student has failed to obtain half or more of the credit required to progress to the next stage of study, it is advisable for the Board of Examiners to recommend that the student be required to repeat these modules in attendance during the following academic year rather than undertake further assessment over the summer. In these cases the student's first opportunity to undertake further assessment would take place in April/May the following year with their final referral opportunity being offered to them in August of that year. In cases where students have been recommended to repeat the modules by the Board of Examiners, but are unable to do so, they may be permitted by the Board of Examiners to re-sit examinations only in April/May of the following year. This recommendation would be based on academic judgement and there is, therefore, no grounds for appealing against the recommendation.

7.6.9 Taught Postgraduate Programmes - Dissertations

A candidate who is referred in the dissertation element of a taught postgraduate programme may resubmit the dissertation on one occasion only in a revised form not later (except in cases of illness or other good cause) than twelve months after the decision to allow resubmission has been made by the Board of Examiners. Such resubmissions will be capped at the pass mark. Where the Board of Examiners require only minor corrections to the dissertation, it will not be regarded as a referral and the original mark allocated will stand.

Where a student resits a module or modules, the marks obtained should be used as set out in line with the table provided in the Credit Framework, Annex 7:
https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex7.html

The QAO can advise on the setting out of resit marks.

7.6.10 Trailing and Retrieving Credit

Where a student is permitted to progress to the next stage of a programme but has not been awarded full credit for the previous stage, the student will still need to obtain credits for modules for which he/she has so far not been awarded credit in order to meet requirements for the award of the certificate, diploma or degree for which he/she is registered. The student may be permitted to ‘retrieve’ such credits, up to a maximum of 25% of the credits for the stage, in one of two ways as follows:

7.6.10.1 By undertaking further assessment, for example a resit examination, before the start of the next academic year. A student who is permitted to retrieve credit in this way may elect to repeat the module, provided that it is being taught in the year in question, or may choose to take a different module, provided that the requirements of the programme of study are still met.

7.6.10.2 By progressing to the next stage of the programme and simultaneously undertaking such further requirements as the Board of Examiners specifies in relation to the failed modules. This is known as trailing credit. Where credit is trailed, the Board of Examiners may permit the student to repeat the failed module(s) provided it/they are available and the timetable permits or to take an alternative module as permitted by the programme specification or may specify assessment to be undertaken satisfactorily for the award of the credits in question. Where a student trails credit in this way and again fails to obtain the credits, the credit may not be trailed to the next stage of the programme e.g. a student will not be permitted to progress to Stage 3 of a programme unless he/she has obtained all Stage 1 credits and met the minimum progression requirements in Stage 2.

Where a student is referred in a module, two (and no more than two) referral opportunities per module will be automatically permitted (except for the dissertation element of taught postgraduate programmes of study), the first of these to be normally available during the long vacation following the initial failure.

7.6.11 Deferral

Where a student has failed due to circumstances such as illness, and where there is written evidence to support this, the Board of Examiners may permit the student to undertake some or all of the assessment for some or all of the failed modules comprising the stage at a later date, either (i) as if for the first time, i.e. without incurring the penalty of a capped mark or a reduction in the number of permitted attempts; or (ii) as if for the second time, i.e. with a capped mark but without incurring a further reduction in the number of permitted attempts. Where the student has met requirements for progression to the next stage of the programme, he/she may be permitted to ‘trail’ the deferred assessment, i.e. to proceed to the next stage and simultaneously undertake the deferred assessment as for the first time or, where appropriate, the second time (see 7.6.10.2 above).

Please note that it would be appropriate and necessary to offer a deferral as if for the second time only in the circumstances where a student had been referred in a previous attempt at the module(s) in question. Under such circumstances it would be inappropriate to offer a student the possibility of an uncapped module mark. Any deferred attempt, however, would not further reduce the number of resit opportunities.

A link to detailed guidance on the application of other concessionary measures available to Boards is provided in the Conduct of Meetings section of this handbook.

7.6.12 Alternative Exit Awards

A student who successfully completes an appropriate volume of credit as part of a programme of study, but who does not successfully complete the whole programme will be entitled to receive an alternative exit award from the relevant Board of Examiners, for example, the award of a Certificate, Diploma or non-Honours degree, where he/she has achieved sufficient credit at the appropriate award required for the award concerned and has satisfied any further requirements for the particular programme of study where such have been specified in the relevant approved programme specification.

7.7: Classification of Taught Degrees

Students who successfully complete an Honours degree programme will be awarded a degree with First Class, Upper Second Class, Lower Second Class or Third Class honours. Students who successfully complete a programme of study leading to the award of a Certificate or Diploma may be awarded a Certificate or a Diploma with Merit or with Distinction. Students who successfully complete programmes of study leading to the award of a Foundation degree or Master’s degree may be awarded the degree with Merit or with Distinction. The requirements for such awards are set out below.

7.7.1 General Requirements

  • Marks obtained for all modules taken as part of the programme of study will contribute to the classification of an award except in the case of Honours degree programmes where classification will be based only on stages two and three and, where relevant, stage four. While modules taken on a pass/fail basis contribute towards the volume of credit required for an award, they should be discounted when calculating overall average marks.
  • Where a student is exempted from part of the programme of study on the basis of credit transfer, marks obtained for such prior learning will not be used for classification purposes.
  • In order to ensure that the application of compensation and condonement do not disadvantage a student when an award is classified:

i) Where credit for a module is awarded by Compensation, the mark used for classification should be the Pass mark for the module.

ii) Where credit for a module is awarded by Condonement, the mark awarded for that module should normally be excluded from the calculation of the classification of the award.

The marks on the transcript will not be adjusted.

7.7.1.1 Alternative Exit Awards may also be classified, where it is appropriate to do so.

7.7.2 Where a student fails a module at the first attempt and subsequently passes the module, or takes and passes an alternative module in place of a module which has been failed, the minimum pass mark will be used for classification.

7.7.3 With respect to students who entered their undergraduate programmes of study in 2013/14 or before, and students registered for a programme leading to a postgraduate taught award, Boards of Examiners may recommend the award of a higher classification than that indicated by the marks obtained provided that the student would have qualified for a higher classification if he/she had obtained two more marks for each module and provided that the Board of Examiners is satisfied that there is substantial evidence that the marks obtained do not fully reflect the candidate's overall achievement. Such evidence should normally take one or more of the forms stated below. The marks obtained should not be changed.

i) Documented evidence of very significant medical or personal problems or of unexpected hardship.

ii) Evidence obtained from a viva voce examination.

iii) The views of an External Examiner on the quality of work of the candidate

iv) Significant improvement in final stage performance. (Note: This factor should not be taken into account where final stage marks are weighted more heavily than marks obtained in earlier stage)

v) Performance in one module substantially below that on other modules.

vi) Evidence of achievement commensurate with the higher classification. Such evidence might include a significant number of answers to individual questions which are of appropriate quality or, in appropriate subjects, evidence of problem solving ability.

Credit may not be awarded through this means.

Following regulatory changes, this cannot be applied with respect to students who entered their Undergraduate programme of study from September 2014 or thereafter.

7.7.4 Boards of Examiners have discretion to make recommendations notwithstanding the Conventions in exceptional cases provided that such recommendations do not lower the classification arising on the application of the Conventions and provided always that the student has obtained at least seven eighths of the credits normally required for the award of the qualification in question (including credits awarded via condonement and/or compensation).

‘Exceptional’ - in such cases should be interpreted as having reference to the unique concessionary circumstances of individual candidates.

7.7.5. The views of the External Examiner(s) shall be particularly influential in the case of disagreement on the final classification for a particular candidate.

7.7.6 The External Examiner has the right to see all work submitted for assessment except for work submitted for modules within Honours degree programmes for which the marks obtained do not contribute to the Honours classification and should see at least a selection of such work. In those cases where it is agreed that the Chair of the Board of Examiners should make a selection of assessed work to be seen by an External Examiner, the principles for such selection should be agreed in advance.

7.7.7 Where a selection is made External Examiners should normally see a reasonable sample of assessed work taken from each class band and all fails. For PGT programmes, as well as all fails, external examiners should also see all assessed work that is marked as falling at the borderline of a higher class band.

7.7.8 An External Examiner should only change a mark for an individual candidate where, (i) having seen all the scripts for the module in question, he/she has been invited by a Board of Examiners to consider a mark for an individual candidate; or (ii), where there is disagreement between two internal markers about the mark to be awarded. Alternatively, an External Examiner may ask that the marks for all candidates for a module be systematically adjusted where, having seen either all scripts or a sample of scripts, he/she considers this to be appropriate.

7.7.9 The signature of all the External Examiners present shall be appended to the final list of results as evidence that they approve the classifications.

7.7.10 Stage Weighting of Three Year Undergraduate Degrees:

For Students Entering in September 2014

  • The standard weighting of stages for three year undergraduate degree programmes will be 40% for stage 2 and 60% for stage 3.
  • With regard to stages or terms taken in placement either abroad or in industry, the following rubric will apply:

    (i) where the student’s mark or marks have not been awarded by Kent staff, the placement will be graded on a pass/fail basis and will therefore be zero-weighted with respect to classification;

    (ii) where the student’s mark or marks have been awarded by Kent staff, the mark or marks achieved will be recorded and will carry such weighting towards classification as has been approved by the relevant Faculty Board.
  • Where individual assessment elements of any module are marked by a non-Kent marker the principle of point (i) above will also apply.

For Students Entering Prior to September 2014

  • The Stage Weighting in place at the time the student commenced should be applied.

7.8: Classification of Foundation Degrees, Certificates, Diplomas, Postgraduate Awards

The following classification rules apply to all Certificates and Diplomas, including Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education, Graduate Certificates and Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, to Foundation Degrees and Masters degrees.

Please Note:

Some programmes leading to the award of a Masters degree do not make provision for the award to be made ‘with Merit’ or ‘with Distinction’ while others make provision for the degree to be awarded ‘with Distinction’ but not ‘with Merit.’

Each Faculty Board may decide or may authorise Validated Institutions linked to the Faculty to decide whether the award of Merit and Distinction will be based on:

either

the ‘average' method,

or

the ‘preponderance' method

or

both the ‘average' and the‘preponderance' methods.

If a Faculty Board fails to agree on the classification method to be used then both methods should be used.

Methods of Classification

For Students Commencing Prior to September 2015 and students entering Stage 2 of their award in September 2015 (i.e. students who have APL’d into Stage 2 of a Foundation Degree)

a) ‘Average' Method of Classification

‘with Merit': an average mark of 60 or above but less than 70.

‘with Distinction': an average mark of 70 or above.

b) ‘Preponderance' Method of Classification

‘with Merit': an average mark over all contributing modules of 57 or above

and a mark of 60 or above for 55% or more of the credits obtained

‘with Distinction': an average mark over all contributing modules of 65 or above

and a mark of 70 or above for 50% or more of the credits obtained

c) ‘Average' and ‘Preponderance' Methods of Classification

Where both methods of classification are used, in the event of a difference in the classification derived for a particular student, the higher of the two classifications will be awarded.

For Students Commencing Stage 1 of their award From September 2015 onwards

a) ‘Average' Method of Classification

‘with Merit': an average mark of 60 or above but less than 70.

‘with Distinction': an average mark of 70 or above.

b) ‘Preponderance' Method of Classification

‘with Merit': an average mark over all contributing modules of 57 or above

and a mark of 60 or above for 50% or more of the credits obtained

‘with Distinction': an average mark over all contributing modules of 67 or above

and a mark of 70 or above for 50% or more of the credits obtained

c) ‘Average' and ‘Preponderance' Methods of Classification

Where both methods of classification are used, in the event of a difference in the classification derived for a particular student, the higher of the two classifications will be awarded.

7.8.1 Undergraduate Degrees

PLEASE NOTE: that due to the introduction of changes with regard to rounding of marks for all undergraduate cohorts of students (whereby all cohorts of students are subject to Kent’s rounding algorithm) in addition to the above classification under the average method, where the overall weighted average mark for classification purposes falls within 0.5 % of the boundary for a higher class band (i.e. a mark that falls in the ranges of 39.5 - 39.9; 49.5 - 49.91; 59.5 - 59.9 or 69.5 - 69.9), it will be rounded up to the nearest integer (i.e. to the next classification band).

PLEASE NOTE: 7.8.1 does not apply to Postgraduate programmes

7.9: Classification of Honours Degrees for Students admitted up to and prior to 2013/14

Each Faculty Board may decide or may authorise Schools in the Faculty to decide whether Honours degrees will be awarded on the basis of:

either

the ‘average' method,

or

the ‘preponderance' method

or

both the ‘average' and the‘preponderance' methods.


If a Faculty Board fails to agree on the classification method to be used then both methods should be used. Where a School is authorised to decide which method is to be used for classification of degrees specified as within its area of responsibility, the School shall have authority to do so on a programme by programme basis.

Both Methods of Classification

Where the class of degree is awarded on the basis of both the ‘average' and ‘preponderance' methods of classification, in the event of a difference in the classification derived for a particular student, the higher of the two classes will be awarded.

‘Average' Method of Classification

A candidate who has met the requirements for the award of an Honours degree will be placed in an Honours class based on the average mark, with modules weighted as agreed by the Faculty Board and calculated to one decimal place, over all modules in stages 2, 3 and, where relevant, 4 of the programme of study according to the following table:

First Class Honours 70 and above
Upper Second Class Honours 60 – 69.9
Lower Second Class Honours 50 – 59.9
Third Class Honours Below 50

7.9.1 Undergraduate Degrees

PLEASE NOTE: that due to the introduction of changes with regard to rounding of marks for all undergraduate cohorts of students (whereby all cohorts of students are subject to Kent’s rounding algorithm) in addition to the above classification under the average method, where the overall weighted average mark for classification purposes falls within 0.5 % of the boundary for a higher class band (i.e. a mark that falls in the ranges of 39.5 - 39.9; 49.5 - 49.91; 59.5 - 59.9 or 69.5 - 69.9), it will be rounded up to the nearest integer (i.e. to the next classification band).

PLEASE NOTE: 7.9.1 does not apply to Postgraduate programmes.


PLEASE NOTE: Although credits are normally awarded for a mark of 40 or above in a module, a student might obtain the credits required for award of an Honours degree but have an average mark of less than 40 where some credits have been obtained via compensation and/or condonement.

‘Preponderance' Method of Classification

A candidate who has met the requirements for award of an Honours degree will be placed in an Honours class on the attainment of:

at least the following number of credits in that class or above

AND

at least the following average mark over the examination as a whole:

For degrees with 240 contributing credits:

Class Number of Credits in class or above Average mark over all contributing modules
First Class 120 65
Upper Second Class 135 57
Lower Second Class 150 48
Third Class 240* Not Applicable

For degrees with 360 contributing credits:

Class Number of Credits in class or above Average mark over all contributing modules
First Class 180 65
Upper Second Class 195 57
Lower Second Class 150 48
Third Class 240* Not Applicable

For degrees/students with contributing credits other than above e.g. top-up degrees:

Class % of credits in class or above Average mark over all contributing modules
First Class 50% 65
Upper Second Class 55% 57
Lower Second Class 62.5% 48
Third Class 100%* Not Applicable

* where credits have been awarded via compensation or condonement for a module mark of less than 40, the credits should be treated as being in the Third class category.

PLEASE NOTE: Although credits are normally awarded for a mark of 40 or above in a module, a student might obtain the credits required for an award of an Honours degree but have an average mark of less than 40 where some credits have been obtained via compensation and/or condonement.

7.10: Classification of Honours Degrees for Students Admitted from September 2014

PLEASE NOTE:

The following will apply to classification of Top-Up degrees.

Undergraduate degree programmes will be classified by both the 'average' and the 'preponderance' methods, with students to benefit from the better result derived from each method.

Where there is clear evidence that there is a PSRB requirement for an undergraduate programme of study to be classified by a single method, Schools must seek the prior approval of the relevant Faculty Board to classify solely by either the 'average' method or the 'preponderance' method.

i) Weighted Average Mark

The final weighted average mark for classification purposes will be determined by the application of weighting to the average marks achieved for each relevant stage of the degree programme. The final weighted average mark will be used for classification under both the average and preponderance methods of classification.

ii) 'Average' Method of Classification

A candidate who has met the requirements for the award of an Honours degree will be placed in an honours class based on the rounded weighted average mark, with modules weighted as agreed by the Faculty Board and calculated to one decimal place, over all modules in stages 2, 3 and, where relevant, 4 of the programme of study according to the following table:

First Class Honours 70 and above
Upper Second Class Honours 60 – 69.4
Lower Second Class Honours 50 – 59.4
Third Class Honours Below 50

7.10.1 Undergraduate Degrees

Please note that the above indicates that where the overall weighted average mark for classification purposes falls within 0.5 % of the boundary for a higher class band (i.e. a mark that falls in the ranges of 39.5 - 39.9; 49.5 - 49.91; 59.5 - 59.9 or 69.5 - 69.9), it will be rounded up to the nearest integer (i.e. to the next classification band).

iii) 'Preponderance' Method of Classification

A candidate who has met the requirements for award of an Honours degree will be placed in an Honours class on the attainment of:

at least the following number of credits in that class or above AND

at least the following weighted average mark over the examination as a whole:

For degrees with 240 contributing credits:

Class Number of Credits in class or above Average mark over all contributing modules
First Class 120 67
Upper Second Class 120 57
Lower Second Class 120 47
Third Class 240* Not Applicable

For degrees with 360 contributing credits:

Class Number of Credits in class or above Average mark over all contributing modules
First Class 180 67
Upper Second Class 180 57
Lower Second Class 180 47
Third Class 360* Not Applicable

For degrees/students with contributing credits other than above (i.e. Top-up Degrees)

Class % of Credits in class or above Average mark over all contributing modules
First Class 50% 67
Upper Second Class 50% 57
Lower Second Class 50% 47
Third Class 100* Not Applicable

* where credits have been awarded via compensation for a module mark of less than 40, the credits should be treated in the Third Class category.


7.11: Guidance for Examiners

7.11.1 Arrangements for Marking

Anonymous Marking

  • All examination scripts resulting from timed unseen examinations shall be anonymous for the purpose of marking. Candidates will be assigned random examination numbers in advance of the examinations and answer scripts will be identified by candidate number only.
  • Candidates’ names and examination numbers shall be known to Boards of Examiners when considering medical and other concessionary evidence. The identities of candidates shall be withheld from examiners during any meeting convened for the purpose of making decisions on progression and/or classification (see Annex J of the Code of Practice).
  • Chairs and Deputies of Board of Examiners should ensure that statistical information on module marks is reviewed by the Board of Examiners to verify consistency of marking both between modules in any given year and between years. The Deputy Chair of the Board of Examiners will report to the Chair of the Board any instances of inconsistent marking.

Marking

  • For students commencing from September 2014 for each student and each module the outcome of assessment shall be recorded as a mark out of 100 except where it has been agreed that a module shall be assessed on a pass/fail or a fail/pass/merit/distinction basis.
  • The marking scales detailed in sections 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 of Annex 6 of the Credit Framework, Marking, should be used for relevant assessments on all modules.
    https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex6.html
  • The scale should be regarded as readily lending itself to use with respect to single pieces of work that currently attract a mark out of 100, such as essays, dissertations, reports or any similar individual assessment that requires a qualitative judgement by the marker against criterion referenced standards. Examples of assessed work that may not be suitable to be marked with reference to the categorical marking scale include assessments that take the form of tests of complex calculation or knowledge that allow for an accumulation of marks on an objective basis, or which are composed of a large number of questions, or questions where there is a single correct answer (such as numerical questions). In such cases markers will not be restricted to its use.
  • Similarly, where an examination paper or a project consists of a number of assessment tasks, some of which may lend themselves to the use of the scale (e.g. one or more responses in essay format which attract a mark out of 100), it is not intended that the overall aggregated mark awarded for the examination or the project should be selected from one of the marks set out on the categorical scale. The purpose of the scale is to aid the marker in making a judgement on relevant individual assessment tasks and it should play no part in determining the overall mark for an assessment where this mark results from the aggregation of a number of sub-component elements. Therefore, while the categorical scale may be used when marking a relevant assessment element of a project or an examination, such as an answer in essay format, it should not be used for deriving the mark for the assessment as a whole where this has been reached by the aggregation of the marks for a number of such sub-component elements.
  • Where the format of assessment precludes use of the scale, markers are encouraged to consider whether they can avoid awarding marks that fall immediately below a class boundary.

Rounding and Display of Marks

Viva Voce Examination

Use of viva voce examination for the purposes of determining classification was withdrawn as part of the regulatory changes introduced with respect to undergraduate students who registered for stage 1 of their programme of study in 2014/15 or thereafter.

However, use of viva voce examination as a means of determining classification remains a legitimate option for examiners with respect to students enrolled prior to 2014/15 and students enrolled on PGT programmes of study.

For guidance on the parameters for using viva voce examination for the purposes of determining classification please consult the Credit Framework, Annex 8: http://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex8.html

Minimum Credit Requirements for Awards

In order to be eligible for the award of a certificate, diploma or degree by the University, a student must obtain at least the minimum number of credits at the levels prescribed for the award in question as set out in Annex 4 of the Credit Framework and must meet any further requirements specified for the particular programme of study and award concerned unless he/she has been granted exemption from these requirements via credit transfer.

The minimum requirements for awards can be found at:
https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/qa/credit-framework/creditinfoannex4.html




Footnotes:

2. It should be noted that the revised conventions for classification of undergraduate degrees introduced for students entering Validated Institutions in September 2014, no longer allow for the use of a viva voce examination for the purposes of determining undergraduate student classification. This measure therefore only remains in force for postgraduate students and those undergraduates whose initial registration for their programme of study preceded September 2014.

3. It should be noted that whilst Borderlines apply at Postgraduate level, they no longer apply to undergraduate cohorts of students commencing from September 2014 onwards.

 

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Last Updated: 12/10/2018