Annex 6: Marking
Information for Students, Teachers and Examiners
(Approved by Senate on 28 November 2001 and including all revisions up to June 2017)
1. 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.
2. 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).
3. Candidates’ names but not their examination numbers shall be known to the Examiners at oral examinations for Modern Languages degrees except that the External Examiner may be informed of both a candidate’s name and examination number.
4. 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.
4.1 Use of the categorical marking scales below for relevant assessments is compulsory for all modules.
4.1.1 For undergraduate modules (i.e.levels 3 to 6):
|First Class|| 100
|Upper Second Class|| 68
|Lower Second Class|| 58
|Third Class|| 48
4.1.2 For postgraduate taught modules (i.e. level 7):
Note 1: the above scale applies to all level 7 modules where the student in question takes the module from 2015-16 onwards. For level 7 modules taken prior to 2015-16 the scale set out at 4.1.1 applies.
4.1.3 Schools are strongly encouraged to devise assessment criteria that map on to the respective classification bands. The marking scale contains a fixed number of percentage points in each class band, one of which might be assigned by a marker for a piece of assessed work. Markers should award the appropriate mark from the scale to assessed work as best fits student performance in relation to the assessment criteria. Use of the scale is intended to (i) encourage markers to make firm decisions about assessed work in relation to class band grade criteria (i.e. such work may no longer be regarded as borderline); and (ii) encourage markers to use the full range of the marking scale, particularly in the first class band.
4.1.4 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, individual examination questions or any similar 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 scheme 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. 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.
5. Where an Internal Examiner considers a script to be illegible the case must be referred to the second marker or moderator, who will act as arbiter. If the second marker or moderator agrees that a script is illegible, the script may:
(i) be transcribed at the student’s expense and under conditions laid down by the Faculty, overseen by administrative staff in the School who will ensure anonymity is maintained in the marking process (see Note 2). The transcript will be used alongside the script in marking.
(ii) where the student has not responded to the School within a specified period, a mark of zero may be awarded
Note 2: (a) The Faculty shall set a short appropriate time limit for the transcription, which shall be made clear to the student. (b) Section 5 applies to whole scripts, i.e. where there is a small element of an answer that has been deemed to be illegible by both the marker and the second marker/moderator a mark of zero may be entered for that element.
6. For each module, except for modules within Honours degree programmes for which the marks obtained do not contribute to the Honours classification, and for each student, at least 80 per cent of the work required for assessment must be marked either by two Internal Examiners or by one Internal Examiner subject to moderation by a second Internal Examiner in accordance with the requirements of 7 below. Marking arrangements shall be made explicit by the School or by the Faculty.
7.1 Where work is subject to moderation, the moderation will be undertaken by a second Internal Examiner in accordance with the following:
- The moderator will review the marking of the work of ten per cent of the candidates, or of at least six candidates if there are fewer than sixty candidates in total or of all the candidates if there are fewer than six candidates in total. The scripts seen by the moderator should form a representative sample and should include those awarded the highest and the lowest marks. It is open to first markers to seek advice from the moderator on the marking of work by particular candidates.
- The moderator will vouch for the accuracy and consistency of marking. Where he or she cannot, the matter will be referred to the Chair of the Board of Examiners concerned. The Chair will arrange for all the work to be double-marked, normally by the moderator, but, where the Chair deems there to be good reason, by a third party.
- Where marking has been carried out by more than one marker, the sample of the scripts for moderation should be drawn from each marker. Should a concern be identified regarding the accuracy and consistency of marking undertaken by any particular marker, only that work need be referred to the Chair of the Board of Examiners for double-marking.
- Where differences of opinion between the first and second marker cannot in this circumstance be resolved, recourse should be made to the External Examiner.
- The basis for the moderator's assessment of the accuracy and consistency of marking will be the School/subject criteria for assessment alongside the detail of the learning objectives of the assessment modes contained in the module descriptor.
7.2 Further, to ensure the accuracy and consistency of marking:
- Moderation should normally be undertaken by experienced examiners.
- Schools should determine whether students should be required to submit two copies of written coursework assignments.
- Samples of work, including coursework, for all modules should be made available to the External Examiner in the subject as part of the regular examining procedure.
- Chairs 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 Chair of the Board of Examiners will report to the Head of School any instances of inconsistent marking.
8. An External Examiner should only change a mark awarded to 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.
9. In the case of a disagreement on the mark to be awarded for a particular module between two independent Internal Examiners, the dispute shall be referred to the appropriate Chief Examiner for resolution. Where it is still not possible to reach a resolution, the appropriate External Examiner will be the final arbiter on the matter.
10. 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 scripts to be seen by an External Examiner, the principles for such selection should be agreed in advance.
11. Where a selection is made, External Examiners should normally see a reasonable sample of assessed work taken from each class band, and all fails.
12. The following percentage marks shall be used in relation to the marking of individual modules within Honours degree programmes and for which the marks obtained contribute to the Honours classification except where it is agreed that a module is to be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis only (see Note 3):
|First Class Honours||70 and above|
|Upper Second Class Honours||60 - 69|
|Lower Second Class Honours||50 - 59|
|Third Class Honours||40 - 49|
13. Modules within programmes for which the marks obtained contribute to qualifications which may be awarded with Merit and with Distinction except where it is agreed that a module is to be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis only (see Note 3):
|Distinction||70 and above|
|Merit||60 - 69|
|Pass||Pass mark - 59|
|Fail||Below pass mark|
Note 3: It may be appropriate for programmes of study validated at other institutions by the University to operate alternative marking and classification schemes. Decisions to operate alternative marking schemes will normally require approval by the Working Group on Regulations and Conventions. The decision will be recorded in the programme approval documentation. Where such a decision has been approved, programmes may be exempt from the classification methods set out in this annex.
14. In the case of four-year degrees for which marks are received from other universities and used for the purpose of degree classification, Faculty Boards shall have Special Conventions relating to the conversion of such marks. Such special conventions should first be approved by the Working Group on Regulations and Conventions.
15. From the start of 2015-16 the pass mark for all level 7 taught modules, regardless of programme of study, will be 501 (refer to section 4.1.2 above).
The following algorithm will be used for converting marks for level 7 modules in order that the marks map on to the 50+ marking scale in all cases where such marks have been awarded prior to 2015-16, but will not make a contribution to the classification of an award until 2015-16 or thereafter:
- Any mark, as awarded on the basis of 40% pass, between 0% and 60% will be translated as follows:
- An original mark in the range 0 to 40 will map to 0 to 50, the intermediate replacement mark will be calculated as the original mark x 5/4
- An original mark in the range 40+ to 60 will map to 50+ to 60, the intermediate replacement mark will be calculated as the (original mark)/2 + 30
- The rounding rule (see paragraph 16 below) will be applied to the intermediate replacement mark to produce the final replacement mark.
- Final overall marks for a module that fell into the compensatable range when originally marked to a pass mark of 40 (i.e. 30-39) will remain compensatable after the conversion above has been applied, even where the recalculated final replacement mark does not fall into the range 40-49. This is to ensure that no student is disadvantaged by the introduction of the higher pass mark of 50 at level 7.
Rounding and Display of Marks
16. With respect to the rounding and display of marks, the University applies the following rubric (with the exception of marks recorded for HNC/D programmes):
i. The overall mark awarded for the coursework component of a module should be rounded to the nearest integer;
ii. The overall mark awarded for the project element of a module should be rounded to the nearest integer;
iii. The overall mark awarded for the examination element of a module should be rounded to the nearest integer;
iv. With regard to modules taken as part of an undergraduate programme, and noting the exception to this rule given at point v. below, the aggregated overall mark awarded for the module (the summation of the already rounded different components) should be rounded to the nearest integer;
v. With regard to modules taken as part of an undergraduate programme, and noting the exception to this rule given at point vi. below, where the aggregated but as yet unrounded overall mark awarded for the module falls within one mark of the boundary for a higher class band (e.g. a raw mark of 39, 49 [where applicable], 59, or 69), the mark will be rounded up to the nearest integer;
vi. With regard to calculating the overall mark awarded for the module as per point v. above, where an element of assessment in a module has been failed for which a pass was compulsory, any aggregated but as yet unrounded overall mark awarded for the module that falls within one mark of the boundary for a higher class band (e.g. a raw mark of 39, 49 [where applicable], 59 or 69), the mark will NOT be rounded up to the nearest integer;
vii. With regard to modules taken as part of a postgraduate programme, the aggregated overall mark awarded for the module (the summation of the already rounded different components) should be rounded to the nearest integer;
viii. The aggregated overall rounded mark awarded for the module should be displayed on composite marksheets, student transcripts and to students on the SDS as a whole number after confirmation at the Board of Examiners;
ix. The overall weighted average mark for classification purposes should be calculated and displayed to a single decimal point on composite marksheets and student transcripts
x. With respect to undergraduate programmes, 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 - 49.92; 59.5 - 59.9 or 69.5 - 69.9), it will be rounded up to the nearest integer.
Unfinished Examination Scripts
17. Where the required number of questions on an examination paper has not been answered, the questions answered should be marked and the examiner should indicate how many questions have been answered. A mark of zero should be recorded for any missing answer and the overall mark for the paper determined in the normal way. The attention of the External Examiner, where appropriate, and the Board of Examiners should be drawn to such cases by the annotation of a ‘u’ (unfinished) against the mark given.
18. Where a question has been started but not completed, the examiner should use discretion in judging whether the answer deserves to be marked. If the examiner does not award a mark, the paper must be dealt with under 14 above; if a mark is awarded for the question, the mark should take account of the fact that the answer has not been completed and the overall mark for the paper should be determined in the normal way. Such a paper should not be distinguished by the annotation ’u’.
Failure to Sit an Examination
19. In the case of failure to sit an examination or submit an extended time examination paper or an extended essay which has the status of a full paper by the deadline notified, without due cause, the candidate shall be regarded as having missed the examination, and an examination mark of zero will be awarded.
Late Submission or Failure to Submit Work for Assessment
20. A deadline of the Monday of Week 28 shall be set as the deadline by which staff must return all marks for coursework. Module convenors, mindful of the institutional deadline for the return of marks and of the requirement in section 27 below to return work to students within three calendar weeks, shall be responsible for setting deadlines for the submission of items of coursework.
21. Candidates shall be required to submit work for assessment by the deadlines which shall have been notified to them.
Note 4: The Regulations state that if a student provides evidence of illness or other misfortune which prevented the submission of written work by the due date, the Board of the Faculty may extend the period of time for submission of the work by so long as it thinks fit.
22. In the case of late or non-submission of work without reasonable cause, candidates will forfeit the proportion of the total marks assigned to the piece or pieces of work in question. Where coursework is incomplete, it will be marked in accordance with 16 and 17 above.
23. In the case of failure to submit required work in accordance with 19 above, a mark of zero will be recorded for that work. Where a concessionary plea is made the Concessionary Committee shall decide whether a case has been made and, if it so decides, shall proceed in accordance with Annex J: Meetings of Boards of Examiners section 5.10.2 of the Code of Practice for Taught Programmes of Study.
24. In the case of failure to submit a required piece of coursework or a project due to illness or other reasonable cause, a mark of zero should be recorded for the missing piece of work and the final mark calculated in the normal manner. Evidence relating to the illness or other cause should be dealt with in the normal manner.
25. Where a student has failed to complete all assessment requirements for a module, for example by failing to attend an examination or failing to submit required work, but claims that this was due to illness or other mitigating circumstances, the Board of Examiners may adjust the student's overall mark for the module provided that it is satisfied that the adjusted mark properly represents the student's achievement in the module as a whole and that the student has submitted written medical or other evidence to substantiate any claim of illness or other mitigating circumstances. Marks will be adjusted normally according to objective criteria such as the exclusion of the piece or pieces of assessment affected by the illness or other mitigating circumstances from the calculation of the final module mark.
26. Where a piece of coursework has been submitted late (but within a reasonable period of time, i.e. a week) the work in question should be marked in order for feedback to be provided to the student (as stated above, a mark of zero will be recorded for the work in question).
Return of Coursework
27. Staff members will return written work that students have submitted in accordance with published requirements and deadlines unless the work is to be held for further examination as part of the assessment process. Work will normally be returned within three calendar weeks of the published deadline, except where this period is interrupted by the Winter or Spring vacations, in which circumstance the work in question will be returned by the end of the first week of the following term.
28. Individual modules may be permitted a deadline for the return of marked work outside of the standard three week period, subject to the following:
- Any such variation will be on an exceptional basis only and must be agreed in advance by the Dean of the relevant Faculty;
- The agreed variation for the return of marked work must not be excessively different from the norm;
- The agreed variation for the return of marked work must be in place and students must be given clear notification of the new deadline at the commencement of the module in question.
Examination Feedback Policy
29. The University’s policy on providing feedback to students on examination scripts can be found here https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/assessment/exampolicy.html .
1. For all other taught modules (i.e. to level 6) the pass mark is 40.
2. Except where a mark in the 49.5 - 49.9 range does not fall close to the boundary for an award in the higher class band; e.g. with respect to the classification of Stage 1 undergraduate degree programmes.