This policy is a generic guide for assessing programmes delivered at LSME, leading to a recognised qualification. It is designed for those who are involved in planning, delivery and assessment of learning. The policy has fully taken into account the quality and standards requirements of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) provided in the Quality Code. The policy is informed by the policies and procedures published by the relevant awarding organisations. In all cases, the policies and procedures of the awarding organisation have precedence. Readers of this policy must refer to the specific qualification structure, programme specification/ course handbook and any other specific requirements associated with the course/unit/module and must read it in conjunction with:
- Programme Specification Planning and Development Policy and Procedures.
- Student Registration, Assignment Submission and Progression Policy and Procedure.
- Learning Support Policy
- Overview of Assessment planning and development
- Assessment of Planning and Recording Overview
- Feedback Policy
- Extenuating Circumstance and Assessment Deadline Extension Policy and Procedure
- Moderation Policy
- Overview of Year Planning Delivery and Assessment (attached).
- Teacher’s Handbook
- Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) Policy
The above diagram represents the link and roles of members of the team, including learners and the relationships in the assessment process. Each programme will have a coordinator who will work with the team to plan, implement, deliver, assess and verify learners’ work.
Principles of Assessment
The college recognises various purposes for assessment (eg formative, summative, diagnostic, admissions) on various dimensions (eg individual and group). Assessment at the college is informed by five principles: promotion of learning, transparency, equity, validity and reliability.
Reliability and Validity of Assessments
Reliability requires that assessments be accurate and repeatable. LSME follows clear and consistent processes for the setting, marking, grading and moderation of assessed work.
Validity relates to the need to ensure that the assessment task measures student attainment of the intended learning outcomes. The intended learning outcomes are carefully matched with the assessment tasks to ensure students obtain similar marks if they have met the appropriate criteria.
Explicit and Accessible Information
The College will ensure that information and guidance on assessment are clear, accurate and accessible to all staff, students, placement or practice providers, assessors and external examiners, thereby minimising the potential for the inconsistency of marking practice or perceived lack of fairness. Assessment principles must be applied fairly and consistently at all levels
Programme teams are required to set clear assessments based on the application of contextualised assessment criteria as outlined for each subject area at the start of each unit and the use of feedback from learners on the assessment process of each unit/module in previous sessions.
Assessment tasks will primarily reflect the nature of the discipline or subject and will ensure that students have the opportunity to develop a range of skills and capabilities. The assignment brief should also include clear submission deadlines, useful resources, marking guidance and grading criteria. These should cover any penalties which may be imposed for breach of the unit-specific criteria, e.g. exceeding a set word length, plagiarism etc. Assignment briefs must be agreed upon by programme teams and verified as fit for purpose by the internal programme verifier before submission to students. Assignments are designed based on unique scenarios. This helps in minimizing possible plagiarism.
The programme team should ensure that assessment tasks and procedures are designed to be inclusive and do not disadvantage any group or individual, for example, students with disabilities, students with varied cultural backgrounds, students faced with new assessment practices. Inclusive assessment is monitored and evaluated annually as part of the annual monitoring of programmes.
Variety of Assessment Methods
Variety in assessment allows a range of learning outcomes to be appropriately assessed. In addition, variety in assessment tasks supports students who use a range of approaches to learning and learning styles. Providing varied assessment tasks ensures that they are inclusive.
The main assessment methods used are reports, reflective learning journals (where learners elaborate on what they have learnt during the unit delivery), reflective accounts (which are experience related), presentations and assessor’s observations and self-evaluations. To meet the specific needs of some learners, professional discussions are used to achieve some sub-criteria, depending on what is acceptable to the awarding bodies. Learners are also encouraged to submit any evidence linked to their practice to support their qualifications.
The range and types of assessments used should measure appropriately students’ achievement of the knowledge, skills and understanding identified as intended learning outcomes. It is important that each assessment enables students to demonstrate the extent to which they meet the intended learning outcomes in both the subject and any generic skills.
Students who have not attended the module/ unit but have submitted assignments are also eligible for additional viva to demonstrate their understanding of the module/ unit.
Assessment Offences and Academic Misconduct
The College takes deliberate steps to minimize plagiarism through careful design, explicit education and appropriate monitoring of assessment misconduct. Detailed guidance to students is provided in Student Handbooks, during the induction and throughout during the classroom sessions. Research skills workshops and seminars are organised to improve students’ research and referencing skills. LSME uses Turnitin for all its submissions where possible. Students are encouraged to submit their own work through Turnitin, and revise where necessary, before formally submitting the work for assessment.
Academic staff are trained on how to use their judgment when suspecting plagiarism.
The College ensures assignment malpractice is appropriately handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy and guidelines provided by the awarding bodies. All allegations or suggestions of plagiarism, assessment irregularities or any form of academic misconduct will be investigated by the College, with appropriate penalties issued to students (or details referred to the appropriate bodies) where it is found that there is indeed a case to answer. In any proceedings under these procedures, the student shall be presumed to be innocent until the contrary is established on the balance of probabilities.
Moderation and Internal Verification
A rigorous internal moderation/verification procedure takes place internally at LSME before student assessed work is presented to external examiners of the awarding bodies for further scrutiny and moderation. The internal moderation of grades in accordance with the College moderation policy ensures that grades have been accurately provided and recorded to avoid transcription errors.
During the programme, internal verification sampling should cover the following:
- Every tutor;
- Every unit;
- Work from every assignment;
- Pass, merit and distinction achievement for HND and DET students and MSc students(a student who has not yet achieved or a referred student is also a valid selection).
- A wide range of grade classification from first-class to a Pass grade for the BSc students.
Role of External Examiner
All assessment work is externally moderated once or twice in a year by an awarding organisation designated external examiner. This independent scrutiny includes quality assurance of programme policies and procedures as well as assessment instruments. Recommendations by the moderators inform improvement in programme delivery and assessment. Programme teams should conduct a post-EE visit meeting within one week of the moderation to address issues raised.
Board of Examiners
The Board of Examiners (BoE) must meet to agree on final grades after the EE visit. The main purpose of BoE is to monitor academic standards and make recommendations on:
- The grades achieved by students on the individual modules or units
- Extenuating circumstances
- Cases of Academic Malpractice
- Progression of students onto the next stage of the programme
- The awards to be made to students
- Referrals and deferrals.
Resubmission of Assignments
Students whose programme is validated by the University of Chichester, for the first assessment opportunity, has failed to achieve a Pass for that unit shall be expected to undertake a reassessment. Only one opportunity for reassessment of the unit will be permitted. Reassessment for course work, project or portfolio-based assessments shall normally involve the reworking of the original task. A student who undertakes a reassessment will have their grade capped at a Pass for that module/ unit. A student will not be entitled to be reassessed in any component of assessment for which a Pass grade or higher has already been awarded. Pearson students have 15 working days from the date the resubmission is authorised.
Assessment Deadlines and Mitigating Circumstances
Students must know deadlines for assessment, penalties for late submission of assessed work and when they will receive their marks together with feedback on their performance. Students are made aware of the importance of meeting assessment deadlines. Deadlines are provided in the assignment briefs and assessment schedule. These documents are made available on VLE and printed on request. Learners may be given authorised extensions for legitimate reasons, such as illness, at the time of submission, as per the College’s extension and extenuating circumstances policies.
The learners should build a portfolio of their evidence which they then submit for quality assurance verifications in this order: Learners will submit their coursework to their tutors for feedback, amend their work as per tutor feedback, resubmit amended work for assessment and print out the final piece of work after meeting the assessment criteria upon tutor’s final feedback and submit completed work to the Administration department. All assignment submissions are made through Turnitin to generate a similarity report which students are required to enclose with their portfolio.
Marking and Feedback to Students
Marking guidance should facilitate equitable and transparent treatment of students and programme leaders will be expected to maintain awareness of procedures across all units and advice on marking criteria which appear to be exceptions during standardisation meetings and staff development activities.
Providing constructive, helpful and positive feedback to students for their assessed work is an important means of learning and helps with improvement for students on future assignments. The feedback that helps to learn can be at an individual level through the comments made on the Pro-forma for and assignment and written, specific comments on the script, as well as feedback to a whole class on the common strengths, weaknesses, omissions, etc. for the assignment as a whole.
Our professional staff should mark the assignment and provide feedback to learners on time as specified in the College Feedback Policy. Their academic judgement is supported by appropriate professional development activities and is reached through the systematic application of assessment criteria, grade level descriptors.
Assessment Tracking and Recording
Tracking learner achievement and feedback to learners and assessors are vital elements in the quality cycle. Record-keeping should, however, make allowance for cases of assessment irregularities or procedural errors subsequently being identified which might necessitate a revision to the mark.
The programme team prepares assessment tracking to record all assessment activities for the qualification on a unit-by-unit basis. Incorporate time for regular formative feedback. This helps to motivate students and provide learning targets and goals. The programme team track student progress, recording what each student has achieved and what still has to be done. This helps to ensure full coverage of the units and provide opportunities for grading. It also helps enable internal verification and provide samples for External Examiners (EEs) and other external audits as required.
Recognition of Prior Learning
RPL provides a route for the recognition of the achievements resulting from continuous learning. RPL enables the recognition of achievement from a range of activities using any valid assessment methodology. Provided that the assessment requirements of a given unit or qualification have been met (through evidence that the relevant unit learning outcomes have been met by a students’ prior learning), the use of RPL is acceptable for accrediting a unit, units or a whole qualification. Evidence of learning must be valid and reliable. The need to arrange a credit transfer for learners with previous certified or experiential learning is highlighted in the APL policy.
Feedback from Learners
Learners are required to provide feedback on the assessment process, timeliness of feedback from teachers, evidence type and grading at the end of each unit. Information is used to improve the quality of assignments for the next cohort of learners. This is done by filling out the end of each unit and of term questionnaires and by discussing assignments during their class meetings.
Any queries regarding the use of this policy must be addressed to the Academic Board.
Overview of Year Programme Planning, Delivery and Assessment
The overview of the programme planning, delivery and assessment is illustrated above.
Planning and Developing Assignments
Overview of assessment planning and guidelines for development is illustrated below.
Assessment Planning and Recording
An overview of assessment timetabling and learner progress tracking is illustrated below.
Next Review Date: October 2022