Changes from 2011-12 onwards
Changes before 2011-12
Changes to General Regulations which take effect from 2014-15
GENERAL REGULATIONS ON IMPROVING THE CONSISTENCY OF THE EXERCISE OF ACADEMIC JUDGEMENT BY UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE BOARDS OF EXAMINERS
Promotion of Borderline Candidates: Undergraduate
1 Any candidate who is 0.5% or less below a boundary should be promoted automatically to the higher class.
2 Any candidate whose mark falls within a 2.0% band below automatic promotion will be CONSIDERED for promotion to the higher class.
3 Any candidate who has 50% or more of the 16 units listed below in the higher classification should be promoted automatically. RSC’s data modelling suggests that around 50% of candidates in the 2% band would be promoted.The calculation should be based on 16 Units:
- 12 units representing the final stage weighted appropriately, i.e. 20 credit modules count as 2 credit blocks;
- 2 units representing the average mark for the second academic stage (normally Stage 2);
- 2 units representing the average mark for the placement;
Where a candidate does not have marks from the second academic stage or from the placement (or any final stage modules which do not carry marks), these units are removed from the calculation and promotion is based on 50% or more of the remaining units.
Promotion of Borderline Candidates: Postgraduate
4 The borderline band for a Master’s programme of 180 credits is 0.5% or less below a borderline.
5 A Master’s candidate will be promoted to the higher grade if they achieve the minimum average mark for the Taught and the Dissertation Stages given below
- To achieve the award of distinction students must achieve an average mark of at least 70% over 180 credits. A minimum average mark of 67.5% is required for both the taught and dissertation stages of the programme.
- To achieve the award of merit students must achieve an average mark of at least 60% over the 180 credits. A minimum average mark of 57.5% is required for both the taught and dissertation stages of the programme.
6 The borderline for candidates for Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma programmes should be 0.5% below a grade boundary. Students within 0.5% of a boundary will be promoted automatically.
Condonement Policy (UGT and PGT)
7 The minimum thresholds for condonement will be 35% for modules of Levels 4, 5 and 6 (undergraduate modules) and 45% for modules of Level 7 (postgraduate and some integrated Master’s modules).
8 The number of credits that can be condoned for an individual candidate will be 60 credits in total across all stages for a Batchelor’s Degree and no more than 80 credits in total across all stages of an integrated Master’s programme. The amount of credit that may be condoned for postgraduate taught programmes should remain the same.
Exceptional circumstances (UGT and PGT)
9 Claims of ECs which are judged to meet University Regulations should be addressed at the level of the module/assessment concerned whenever possible (e.g. by allowing a further attempt with no penalty), or by putting in place provisions to address a special need (such allowing a longer length of time for an examination). These ECs will be deemed to be ‘spent’, i.e. already dealt with.
10 In the main, ECs which meet University Regulations will be dealt with at module level before the Final Stage. There may be a small number of ECs which meet University Regulations which it has not been possible to deal with at module level before the final Board for the programme is held. In the case of ECs of this type (‘unspent’ ECs) it is reasonable for Boards of Examiners to exercise academic judgement as follows:
- If there are ‘unspent’ ECs and there is evidence of reasonable performance elsewhere the Board may decide to increase the borderline band for degree classification/grading taking account the learning outcomes of the programme.
- If there are ‘unspent’ ECs, Boards may wish to allow a failed assessment to be attempted as if for the first time, or, to accept a module mark which is based on completed components based on a mapping of the module learning outcomes against the assessments.
- ECs that meet University Regulations should not be addressed using condonement. It is in the student interest to ensure module learning outcomes are achieved.
Timescale for Introducing Changes
11 Changes to the way decisions on undergraduate and postgraduate borderline candidates are calculated should be brought in for the 2014-15 academic year. If a candidate would have received a higher class or grade under the previous approach candidates should be awarded the higher classification/grade of the two. The new method only will be used for all undergraduate students from 2017-18.
12 Policy on Condonement should change for all students from 2014-15. To prevent any adverse effects on current students who may have been condoned in earlier Stages, the cap on the number of credits that can be condoned across all stages for an individual candidate will come into effect for new entrants from 2014-15, and for all students from 2017-18.
13 Policy on Exceptional Circumstances should change for all students from the academic year 2014-15.
SUMMARY OF OTHER REVISIONS TO GENERAL REGULATIONS FOR 2014-15
Aston Qualifications Frameworks
Proposed revisions to come into effect for 2014-15 are:
· Inclusion of the minimum contribution to curriculum and assessment which is required in order for an Aston undergraduate or postgraduate taught dual or multiple award to be made;
· Deletion of the Qualifications outside the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (including Aston Certificates and Diplomas) which have been superseded by the Aston Module Achievement (AMA);
· Recommendations from the Working Group on Part A of the Quality Code:
o Include a definition of learning outcomes and a link to University guidance;
o Include the existing national generic descriptors which apply to CertHE and DipHE intermediate awards;
o Articulate that learning outcomes for Master’s Degrees are specified at programme level. PgC and PgD intermediate award outcomes are not specified.
o Rename the Regulations the Aston University Credit and Qualifications Framework, reflecting that credit values have always been included.
General Regulations for Taught Programmes
Proposed revisions (in bold italics) to come into effect for 2014-15 are:
· Deletion of references to number of hours of class tests/examinations
· Extension of the existing ‘Fit to sit’ regulation (General Regulations for Undergraduate Programmes R8.3 below) to all taught programmes.
8.3 By entering an examination room and viewing an examination or assessment paper students will be regarded as having deemed themselves to be able to undertake the assessment in question, subject to consideration of factors affecting performance (including factors which may arise subsequent to beginning an assessment) which are notified to the Board of Examiners by the student. In such cases the Examination Board will not normally allow the assessment to be retaken as if for the first time.
· Recommendation from the Working Group on Chapter B6 (Assessment of Students) of the Quality Code:
o To up-date the current terminology ‘Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning AP(E)L’ to ‘Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)’ in line with the Quality Code, and, to permit the award of RPL accrued and/or assessed subsequent to admission if deemed appropriate by the School/programme.
Conduct of Boards of Examiners
Proposed revisions to come into effect for 2014-15 are:
1 Exceptional Circumstances
· the definition of Exceptional Circumstances to be used in General Regulations has been amended to clarify that the time at which ECs occur is the key issue not the duration of then. Proposed additions are in bold italics below:
Exceptional Circumstances are circumstances which cause a student to:
a perform less well in coursework or examinations than might have been expected on the basis of other work, or
b fail to meet submission deadlines.
In general, exceptional circumstances will be of a medical or personal nature significantly affecting the student at or during a relevant for any significant period of time and/or during the examination period and which can normally be corroborated by independent evidence.
· General Regulations for the Conduct of Boards of Examiners should be changed to reflect the process which is currently in place in all Schools i.e. that submission of ECs is made to the chair of the ECAP rather than to the Chair of the Programme Board of Examiners
2 Boards of Examiners
· Recommendations from the Working Group on Chapter B6 (Assessment of Students) of the Quality Code:
o To make explicit that the powers of the Board of Examiners are to act within the scope of General Regulations.
o To specify that in the rare cases that a Board of Examiners or ECAP is inquorate with respect to internal membership the appropriate Associate Dean is empowered to permit the Board to continue, with full circulation of the record of the meeting to members.
o To define that the role, processes for, and limits to chair’s action for Boards of Examiners or ECAP are as follows: that the chair is empowered to take action which is within the University’s Regulations, normally, to take account of matters which have come to light after a meeting has been held. Members of the Board or Panel should be consulted in complex cases, especially if a precedent will be set by a decision taken by Chair’s action.
Discipline of Students
Significant revisions proposed are:
· The Authorised Officers will no longer include the Executive Dean or their nominee;
· Academic Offences: Revision to the definition of plagiarism to cover intentional and unintentional acts as follows ‘Intentional and unintentional acts of plagiarism (whether reckless or otherwise) will be construed as offences’.
· Academic Offences: inclusion of a new offence of Commissioning/purchasing – where a student commissions or purchases from someone else, a piece of written work and submits it as their own original piece of written work. There does not have to be a financial transaction involved;
· Addition of the following paragraph on the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education
If a student is not satisfied with the way that the University has considered their appeal they may apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for an independent review of the case. The OIA operates an independent student complaints scheme pursuant to the Higher Education Act 2004. The OIA will normally review a case only if all internal University procedures have been exhausted. Complainants who are considering an application to the OIA are therefore advised to contact the Academic Registrar to confirm that this is the case and to obtain a ‘completion of procedures letter’, if this has not already been provided. If you require assistance in submitting a complaint you may wish to contact the Advice and Representation Centre in Aston Students’ Union. Aston, like all Universities, is required to comply with the rules of the OIA’s scheme. The service provided by the OIA is free to students.
· A number of minor up-dates and clarifications are also proposed (details available on request).
NEW General Regulations On Fitness To Study
General Regulations on Fitness to Study, REG/14/473(1).
Terms and Conditions for Enrolment
The section ‘Use of Software and Electronic Resources’has been amended.
General Editorial and Format Changes (all Regulations)
Regulations are subject to minor clarifications, formatting and up-dating prior to publication. Major changes (if any) will be referred for approval by Senate (by Chair’s action) prior to publication.