Assessment, Coursework and Examinations

This section of the handbook goes into more detail about submitting coursework, the importance of its originality and a brief introduction to the role of the exam board and decisions they could make (along with listing the external examiners for you course). Scroll down to read on or click on the jump down menu for further information.

Submission of coursework

You will be notified of the dates of your coursework submission for the modules you are taking by the lecturers concerned. This information should also be available on the module specification on Blackboard. Coursework will be submitted either via the Coursework Submission Office or via Blackboard and your lecturer will inform you of any specific submission instructions.

The Coursework Submission Office (Reception area of the EAS School Centre) is open from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday. The office is closed promptly everyday at 2pm and a drop-box facility is available during out-of-office hours. Coursework submitted via the drop-box will be stamped with the submission date of the following day. Don’t leave submission of your work until the last minute as there can be queues! Students will be notified of a submission deadline via MAP and from here you will be able to print off a cover sheet prior to the submission of your work.

For work to be handed in to the Coursework Submission Office, students will need to:

  • Print off the Submission Cover sheet from MAP and attach it to your work securely.
  • Take it to the Coursework Submission Office where the work will be stamped, then scanned and an email notification will be sent to you confirming receipt.

It is the student’s responsibility to bring the coursework bound and secured for submission. Ensure you have appropriate stationary for submission (folders, stapled, etc), as you can not purchase this from the Coursework Submission Office.

Late submission

Policy on the late submission of work and subsequent penalties:


  • Assessed work is defined as that coursework that can be submitted electronically or in person on a defined date by the individual or by an individual on behalf of a group.
  • The late submission of group work will be subject to the same lateness penalties as those for an individual piece of work.
  • Students may submit work up to 5 working days after the formal assessment deadline, but the work will be subject to a penalty. (NB: ‘working days’ excludes submission at weekends and on Bank Holidays or University closed days, when School offices are not open to receive submissions, but it does not preclude submission during vacations. The 5-working day submission window will therefore continue to run after the last day of a term.)
  • The penalty will be a based on a proportion of the awarded mark.
  • The late submission penalty will be 10% of the awarded mark for each working day that the piece of work was submitted after the formal deadline.
  • There will be a penalty collar at first attempt (or any uncapped attempt), in that the final mark for the component of assessment after penalty has been imposed will not fall below the pass mark for that component. If the awarded mark for the component was already below the pass mark, prior to late submission penalty, the awarded mark will stand as the final mark.
  • Work submitted after the 5 working day deadline will be accepted by the course office but will be recorded with a mark of zero. Such work will require evidence of exceptional circumstances which meet the regulations before an academic mark for it will be considered at the module board.
  • The penalty collar will not apply to second or third attempts, for which a mark capped at the pass mark is formally recorded. Any lateness penalties due will be applied to the mark awarded and may result in a mark that falls below pass level.
  • Late penalties are considered to be discrete from other penalties, and the late penalty collar does not prevent a fail mark resulting in cases where another penalty is also applicable. Late penalties should therefore be levied before any other penalty.
  • Work submitted more than 5 days late may be passed to markers in order for students to receive feedback on it, at the discretion of the School. Where this practice is adopted the mark formally recorded will be zero.


The University's full regulations and policies regarding assessment's can be found here.Extensions and Exceptional circumstances



Students’ ability to meet coursework deadlines may be affected by legitimate issues such as illness. To request an extension, contact your Year Tutor (if you have one) or your Programme Director as soon as you can. There will be occasions where an extension cannot be granted for practical reasons, e.g.  not delaying feedback to other students.

Where you believe that circumstances have affected your performance in, or ability to attend an assessment, an Exceptional Circumstances form can be completed. This must be submitted together with supporting evidence attached in according with the deadlines found here. You can find more information on what constitutes as Exceptional Circumstances, acceptable forms of supporting evidence and what happens with your forms once submitted here. This page also contains the application forms themselves for download.

Past Exam Papers

Copies of Past Examination papers are available on Blackboard under each module where available.

Referred Assessments: Students who fail a module may be allowed a Referred assessment. These take place (normally) in the last week of August and first week of September. You should avoid booking a holiday during this period unless you are sure you do not have a referred assessment.

Publication of Examination Results: End of year results will be posted on MAP shortly after the end of the Board of Examiners’ Meeting. A transcript of results will be sent annually to each student’s home address during the summer vacation. Results will not be released by telephone or by e-mail. Formal class test results will be displayed normally within six weeks of the class test taking place, on MAP.

For the University's regulations on Examinations and assessments, visit this link.

Originality and plagiarism

It is important that all the material you submit as continuous assessment (essays, project reports, laboratory reports, computer assignments etc.) and all examination answers are your own original work. Where material is used from other sources these sources must be clearly identified. If you do not do this you may be guilty of plagiarism and/or collusion.

This form of cheating associated with assessed work is considered a serious offence. Any student found to have “borrowed” from published work without acknowledgement, or from other student’s work, may be awarded a fail mark for the work in question and/or may be failed in the relevant unit of assessment. Plagiarism may be regarded as an offence against the University’s Examination Regulations and as such may be the subject of formal disciplinary proceedings.The University Regulations and definition of academic offences are detailed here. It is strongly recommended that you familiairise yourself with these definitions.

To avoid the offences of plagiarism and collusion always:

  • Refer to each source used in your work at the point where it arises in your text;
  • Use quotation marks whenever you are citing an author’s views in his or her own terms;
  • Acknowledge the source of any diagrams, tables or graphical representations of data that have been copied directly from a literature source at the point where they are used;
  • Identify fully all your sources (text, tables, illustrations etc) in a reference list at the end of your work. You should use a standard format for your reference list and unless otherwise advised this should be the author-date (Harvard) system;
  • Name fellow students with whom you have worked.

The Learning and Development Centre can assist you  with referencing systems.

Exam Board

The marks from your assessments are used for your module mark. You may receive marks and feedback for assessments from your tutors throughout the year but these marks are not formal until they have been considered by an Exam Board.

When the Exam Board meets, it will consider all of your results and decide whether or not you have passed and if you can progress to the next stage of your course (or which classification of degree to award, if you are in your final stage of a course.) If you have not passed, then the Exam Board will decide whether or not you can resit any failed assessments and how and when they want you to resit.

The University and School has a lot of support measures in place to help you succeed in your studies, but there may be instances of you encountering a failed module. For detailed explanation of the assessment process and options in case of failure you should consult the General Regulations for Postgraduate Programmes contained here.

External Examiner System


In the UK's system of higher education, institutions are responsible for the quality of the education they provide and, in the case of institutions with degree awarding powers, they are responsible for the academic standards of the awards they offer.  External examining provides one of the principal means for maintaining UK academic standards within a self- governing higher education institution like Aston.  External examining, is therefore, an integral and essential part of our quality assurance.


Institutions appoint as external examiners people drawn from relevant higher education, industry, and professional institutions.  Those appointed are suitably qualified and experienced in the subject, or specialism within the subject, to which the appointment relates. They are external to, and therefore independent of, the appointing institution.  Based on their qualifications and experience, they are able to provide carefully considered advice on the academic standards of the awards, programmes and/or modules to which they have been assigned, and can offer advice on good practice and opportunities to enhance the quality of those programmes/modules.  They are also able to offer an informed view of how standards compare with the same or similar awards at other higher education institutions (primarily in the UK, and sometimes overseas as well) of which they have experience.


An important feature of external examining in the UK is the provision of annual written reports to the institution by each external examiner based on what he/she has observed of the institution's assessment processes and student assessed work (in whatever form).  These reports provide invaluable independent feedback to the institution at module and/or programme level, and sometimes also at institutional level. Institutions consider these reports carefully, and either take action in response to any recommendations or make clear the reasons for not taking action. 


The University recognises the importance of the role of students in contributing to the management of standards and quality.  External examiners' reports are made available to students as part of involving students in quality management processes.  They are discussed at Staff Student Consultative Committees.


To access the most recent External Examiners’ reports for your programme please go to http://www.aston.ac.uk/quality/a-z/external-examiners-reports-2013-14


The current External Examiner(s) are held in this document.


The duties of External Examiners do not include responding to student queries and External Examiners will refer any communication received from students to the relevant Programme Director.  Please get in touch with your Programme Director if you have any issues around examinations, marks and assessmen.





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