2.  Significant Changes to the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes for 2019/20

Change

New set of regulations to govern a new institutional approach to academic integrity (section 3).

Rationale

To set out the values of academic integrity that staff and students are expected to fulfil.

Change

Extension and revision to the University policy on submitting summative coursework by the deadline:

In the submission of summative coursework in undergraduate programmes

7.3 Where a circumstance significantly affects the ability of a student to submit work by a deadline the student may present a request for an extension.

7.4 The form of the request and how it will be considered will depend on the nature of the coursework (i.e. how much the coursework mark contributes to the unit mark) and the period of time between when it is set and the deadline.

7.5 Students must otherwise submit work on time unless an extension has been agreed by the School. Schools will not accept late submission without penalty where no extension has been granted, unless exceptionally:

  • a student is not aware of the severity of the impact of a circumstance upon their studies at the time, in which case they may bring the circumstance to the attention of the Board of Examiners under the extenuating circumstances process, or
  • a student experiences a distressing circumstance and they, for good reason, do not inform the school by the deadline for submission, in which case it may be considered as an extenuating circumstance or a retrospective extension is granted – depending on the academic requirement to complete the coursework and the ability of the student to complete the coursework within a defined timeframe.

Coursework that is high-stake and set well in advance of the deadline

7.6 For coursework that is determined by a programme to be ‘high-stake’ (the coursework contributes more than 25% to the unit mark) and set well in advance of the deadline, a student may present a request for an extension using the designated University extensions request form. The request must be submitted to the school in which the unit resides before the coursework submission deadline.

7.11 Students studying on a part-time basis may be permitted an extension of more than 21 days where that does not hold up their learning. Otherwise, where a circumstance demands an extension beyond 21 days, consideration should be given to a suspension of studies or permitting the student to attempt the assessment without penalty at a later date.

Coursework that is not high-stake or set well in advance of the deadline

7.12 For coursework where there is a relatively short period of time between it being set and the deadline, that is determined by a programme to not be ‘high-stake’ (the coursework contributes 25% or less to the unit mark) or is not set well in advance of the deadline, the process for reporting and considering circumstances that affect the submission of this coursework will be at the discretion of an individual school. Any such process should be made clear to the relevant students.

7.13 No evidence is required, but schools reserve the right to request evidence in exceptional cases or where multiple extensions are being or have been requested.

In the submission of summative coursework in taught postgraduate programmes

6.14 If an absence from the teaching period means a student is unable to submit a summative coursework assignment by the agreed deadline, the student should contact the relevant school and request an extension before the assignment deadline and may need to complete an extenuating circumstances form. Schools may ask for evidence of the reason for the absence in agreeing an extension. Students who are ill for a period of time during the teaching period, whether close to the deadline or not, must submit work on time unless an extension has been agreed by the School. Schools will not accept late submission without penalty where no extension has been granted.

Rationale

To extend the existing University policy on coursework extensions, which previously only covered undergraduate programmes, to encompass taught postgraduate programmes (and any integrated taught components of PGR programmes) to provide consistency in managing extension requests across the University.

In addition, following a review of the implementation and operation of the policy after its first year of operation, the policy has been revised to remove reference to whether a piece of coursework is high or low-stake in determining the form of the request. The form of the request will now be solely based upon the time between when the coursework is set and the deadline.

Change

A new University-level policy on penalties for the late submission of coursework:

17.3   Students must be made aware of the existence of penalties for not meeting submission deadlines in the relevant school or faculty handbook.

17.4   Faculties’ policies on the penalties for the late submission of undergraduate summative coursework, should be in accordance with the following:

a)     Faculties should adopt an approach to the late submission of coursework within the framework provided and their schools should ensure that the policy is communicated to students at the outset of their studies, stated in student handbooks and re-iterated at the start of teaching of each unit;

b)     Schools should ensure that students from other schools or faculties who register for their units are made explicitly aware of the faculty policy on the late submission of coursework;

c)     Coursework that is submitted after a deadline should be subject to the following penalty, unless an extension has been agreed by the School, prior to the deadline, or late submission is justified by reason of illness or other validated extenuating circumstance (see Section 19):

  • For modular programmes: a fixed absolute penalty of 10 marks is applied for each working day work is submitted after the agreed submission deadline. A mark of zero is applied to work submitted five or more working days after the agreed deadline if this threshold is not already reached.

For non-modular programmes (BDS, BVSc, MBChB): a fixed absolute penalty of 10 marks is applied for work that is submitted up to 24 hours after the agreed submission deadline; a mark of zero is awarded thereafter.

 

d)     For work submitted up to 24 hours after the agreed submission deadline, a penalty of 10 marks out of 100 (or 2 marks out of 20) from the actual mark the student would have received applies (e.g. coursework that is marked at 60/100 would become 50/100 or a mark of 10/20 would become 8/20) once the penalty is applied);

 

e)     For work submitted seven calendar days after the submission deadline the student will receive a mark of 0, although Schools may still require work of a satisfactory standard to be submitted in order for credit to be awarded.;

 

f)      Faculties should decide on the rate of reduction, by day or at specific thresholds, for late submissions made after the 24 hour period but within 7 days. In setting the rate by which the mark is reduced the weighting of the assessment may be taken into account;

g)     Penalties are applied in the form of a mark reduction from the mark the student would have achieved.

Rationale

To establish a consistent practice for applying penalties for the late submission of coursework across the University with the first release of SLS, replacing faculty-level policies.

Change

A series of amendments to the University’s policy on extenuating circumstances (section 19), including that:

  • An accepted extenuating circumstance may supersede a self-certified absence from an examination;
  • The extenuating circumstances committee is advisory to a board of examiners, and should ensure that information about a disability and its impact on assessment is appropriately considered;
  • The Chair of the Faculty Board of Examiners has recourse to re-classify the impact of an extenuating circumstance in designated situations;

The deadline for submitting an extenuating circumstance is the school board of examiners at which the student’s progression or award will be considered, in the year of study in which the circumstance has occurred.

Rationale

To introduce clarifications into the policy in response to feedback from schools and faculties as to its operation.

Change

A new regulatory clause is added to the relevant sections on ‘Admission and Study’ (24.3 and 34.2):

Students must register on their programmes within the first two weeks of teaching of the academic year. If a student is unable to register in that time, they will be required to suspend their studies until the following academic year or withdraw from the programme.

Rationale

To introduce a deadline by which students must register on their programme in order to clarify expectations regarding students who are no-shows, do not return for future years of study, are late arrivals, or are excluded for debt to the University.

Change

A clarification is added to the sections relating to student progression, as follows:

30.7 / 38.7 A re-sit need only test those assessments in the unit that have been failed and need not be in the same form as the original assessment, as long as it tests the same learning outcomes and does not compromise any competence standards, and applies to the entire cohort of students who are undertaking the re-assessment.

Rationale

To clarify that re-assessment should focus upon the assessment that has not been passed where a student has failed a unit, rather than students being required to re-take the whole assessment for the unit again, in taught modular programmes.

Change

Introduction of a new clause to permit an alternative classified undergraduate degree to be awarded:

30.20 If a student does not obtain the necessary credit points in units that contribute to the final programme mark and/or degree classification, the degree may not be awarded and the student will receive a lower award, as determined by the University’s credit framework (see Section 3), unless the failure is due to certified illness or other validated extenuating circumstances or as outlined in 30.21.

30.21 If a student fails a must-pass unit in the final year of study following two attempts such that the intended degree cannot be awarded, but they otherwise attain a pass overall in assessments undertaken in the final year, then a Board of Examiners may award an alternative classified honours degree qualification, as set out in the relevant programme specification.

Rationale

To enable an alternative classified degree, as opposed to a lower exit award, to be awarded to students who do not achieve their intended degree qualification due to failing a must-pass unit in their final year following the second attempt, but otherwise meet the criteria for the award of a degree. This applies in existing undergraduate modular programmes that contain must-pass units in their final year.

Change

A revised set of regulations governing student progression in non-modular undergraduate programmes:

31.4 Where extenuating circumstances may have affected the performance of a student in a summative assessment, Section 19 ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ will apply.  Extenuating circumstances are only classified if a student requires consideration at the Board of Examiners.

Progression of Students

31.5      Students must achieve a minimum standard by attaining the assigned pass mark for all units and any additional assessment (normally 50 on a percentage scale) and meet any additional criteria, if applicable, to progress to the next year of study.

31.6  Any additional criteria for progression must be explicitly described in the relevant programme standing orders and unit / programme specification, as appropriate, and communicated to the students in advance of the commencement of their study.

31.7 Detailed progression information is held by programme and year in the Standing Orders for the programme. Standing orders are approved annually by the Faculty Education Director and should normally be approved by June of the preceding academic year.  Standing Orders may be presented to students via the Management of Marks document.

31.6      A student who fails ONE unit but achieves a mark of 40 or more out of 100 (following readjustment from any standard set pass mark assessment; see 30.4) will be permitted a second attempt (i.e. a ‘re-sit’ or ‘re-assessment’) to achieve a satisfactory standard in the same academic year in order to progress to the next year of study.

A student who fails ONE unit with a mark of less than 40 out of 100 (following readjustment from any standard set pass mark assessment; see 30.4) will also be

permitted a second attempt but may be required to undertake additional assessment(s) within the unit or additional units, as specified in the programme’s standing orders or regulations.

 

31.7      A student who does not achieve the pass mark in MORE THAN ONE unit will either be required by the Faculty Board of Examiners to:

 

(i)     re-sit the failed units in the same academic year (which may include a requirement to undertake additional assessment within the unit or additional units);

 

(ii)    re-sit all the units in the same academic year;

 

(iii)   repeat the year in its entirety as a second attempt; or,

 

(iv)  withdraw from the programme with an exit award, if appropriate.

The Board of Examiners may take into account the student’s academic progress to date (e.g. the average year mark) and their professional behaviour when considering the options for progression.

 

31.8      A student who fails a must-pass component of a unit will be considered to have failed the unit and therefore will be required to either re-sit the entire unit or only the must-pass component, as determined by the programme’s standing orders, as a second attempt.

 

31.8         A student who does not achieve the criteria associated with the programme or a constituent unit(s), as specified in the programme’s standing orders or regulations, will normally be permitted a second attempt to meet these criteria in order to progress to the next year of study.

 

31.9      Except for those competency-based assessments which may permit additional attempts, a student who fails to achieve the pass mark for any assessment, or to achieve the specified criteria, at the second attempt will be required to withdraw from the programme with an exit award, if appropriate, unless there are validated extenuating circumstances. 

 

If a Faculty Board of Examiners permits a student to repeat the whole year of the programme in response to validated extenuating circumstances, it may also apply supplementary conditions for progression.

 

31.11      A second attempt need not be in the same form as the original assessment, as long as it: tests the same learning outcomes, does not compromise any competence standards, and applies to the entire cohort of students who are undertaking the assessment.

31.12      Within any unit where a constituent assessment(s) is passed as a second attempt, the recorded mark for the unit will be capped at the minimum pass mark. Where a student repeats the entire year as a second attempt, the recorded marks for all the units are capped at the minimum pass mark, even if the student had passed a unit at the first attempt.

Rationale

To ensure the regulations for progression in the non-modular professional programmes reflect the new curricula being introduced in the Medicine and Dental programmes and the diversity of assessment and progression arrangements that now exists across the professional programmes.

Change

A minor change to study patterns for students studying on a part-time variable basis:

34.16 All part-time variable students, defined here as students on non-standard professional programmes who are studying part-time, typically less than 0.5 FTE*, must beregisteredfor, and studyengage with, a minimum of one unit per academic year.  The programme director and faculty graduate education director must approve any exceptional cases where a student is unable to meet this requirement. A student who does not take study at least one unit per year and who does not have an approved exemption will be required to withdraw from their studies.
Rationale To clarify that a part-time variable student need not register for one unit per academic year, but that they should actively studying on at least one unit each year. This change will permit studying on programmes where students might engage with and study on a single unit across a number of academic years, albeit at a low intensity.
Change
  • The deadline for the submission of the dissertation in PGT programmes has changed, as follows (and in Annex 14):

    34.19 The dissertation / research project must normally be submitted by 31 August 8 September, or the next working day if it falls on a weekend or bank holiday.
Rationale

To reflect that the deadline for the submission of the dissertation in PGT programmes has been amended to ensure it is not later than the end of tenancies in University residences.

Change
  • A new regulatory clause is added to the section on student progression in taught postgraduate programmes:

    38.5 Designated programmes, in which the taught component runs in parallel with the dissertation (i.e. a student is allocated and undertakes a research project early in their study), may not have a progression point between the taught component and the dissertation stage. Where this is the case, a formal consideration as to whether the student is likely to succeed on the basis of marks obtained in taught units should instead take place at a point designated by the programme, using regulation 38.9 as a basis for this consideration.

    Note: 38.9 requires students to obtain at least half the credit points from the taught units to be permitted a second attempt in a failed unit will still apply: students will be able to re-sit due to academic failure up to the point they reach the threshold; any further failures will require the student to withdraw.

Rationale

To recognise that in taught postgraduate masters programmes where the taught component and research project are integrated and run in parallel, there may not be a specified progression point between the two components; and in such cases a formal consideration as to whether a student is likely to succeed on the programme will instead take place at a point designated by the programme.

 

Change
  • A revision to the regulation governing compensation in taught postgraduate programmes:

    38.13   Notwithstanding 38.9, under the conditions (a) - (f) specified below the relevant Board of Examiners will apply a compensation rule at either the first or the second attempt for each programme in order to award credit for marginally failed taught units to permit progression or completion.  The decision on when to apply compensation (ie, at the first or second attempt) must be approved by the faculty or faculties concerned before the programme starts and communicated to all students on the programme before they start their studies.

Rationale

To allow compensation in PGT programmes at both the first and second attempt in order to permit progression from the taught component to the dissertation stage where a student has marginally failed a non must-pass unit. Previously compensation could only be applied at either the first or the second attempt, as established by the faculty.

 

Annexes

Also, the programme specific regulations for the Graduate Diploma has been amended such that, although the curriculum consists of 120 credit points, the Graduate Diploma may be awarded where a student has achieved at least 80 credit points at level 6.