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

All submissions received after an original or extended deadline will incur a late submission penalty. Major projects and other tasks worth 10 credits or more: 5% for the first day late and 1% for each additional day. All other work: 10% for each day late. Weekends and weekdays when the University is closed are not counted. For full details of the School's assessment policy students should refer to the separate policy document "Assessment for EAS Taught Programmes 2011/12".

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 threshold academic standards within autonomous higher education institutions. External examining is therefore an integral and essential part of institutional quality assurance.

Institutions appoint as external examiners people drawn from higher education, industry, and professions ranging from medicine to law. 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.  

To access external examiners’ reports for your programme please go to: http://www.aston.ac.uk/quality/a-z/external-examiners-reports-2012-13/. The current External Examiner(s) are held in this document.

The duties of External Examiners do not include responding to student queries. External Examiners will refer any communication received from students to the relevant Programme Director without reading or replying to it.  Please get in touch with the relevant contact in your School if you have any issues around examinations, marks and assessment.

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