15.     Treatment of Marks

15.1   The University assures the quality of its marking through moderation. Definitions of the terms used in this section can be found in the glossary of terms at Annex 1.

15.2   All work assessed for summative purposes should be capable of being independently moderated and made available in case it needs to be moderated by the external examiner(s).

15.3   Where coursework is assessed summatively, schoolsshould have a system in place to ensure students’ work is available for moderation at a later date, by a means that ensures that the marked work is identical to that originally submitted.

15.4   Students should be informed in the faculty handbook that assessed work may be presented for moderation.

15.5   Each faculty should ensure that its schools have clear marking and verification procedures, as well as information on the operation of moderation, so that students are treated fairly and consistently across the University.

15.6   If a school is prepared to offer a candidate, who has produced an illegible script, the opportunity to dictate or transcribe it, in accordance with the Examination Regulations (2.8) at annex 3, the following procedure must be followed:

A school may invite a candidate to transcribe or dictate an illegible script. Any transcription or dictation must be verbatim, and the student should be asked to sign the transcript to confirm that it is a true copy of the original script. The transcription or dictation will be treated as part of the formal examination process. Schools may also invite the student to undertake an oral examination.

15.7   The less prescriptive the assessment (i.e. the lower the expectation of conformity to a model answer), the more necessary it is to ensure an effective moderation strategy. The types of moderation and how they may or may not be applied for assessments within the University of Bristol are outlined below.

15.8   Scaling is not normally permitted, except in the following two circumstances:

a)    Where the raw scores for the whole cohort are converted onto an appropriately distributed marking scale as part of the planned design of the assessment. The rationale and mechanism for scaling should be recorded in the unit specification and in the minutes of the relevant board of examiners.

b)    Where the marks of a cohort of students are moderated post hoc due to an unintended distribution of marks. When an assessment or a question within an assessment has not performed as intended, scaling may be employed (in this instance the methodology will not have been planned beforehand). This should be an exceptional event. The rationale and mechanism for intended scaling should be recorded in the minutes of the school and faculty boards of examiners.

15.9      Before scaling is used, its use and the method that is intended to be employed must be agreed with the relevant Chair of the Faculty Board of Examiners, prior to application, and then approved by the relevant external examiners and the school and faculty boards of examiners.

15.10   The use of scaling must also be made transparent to students: in the case of (a), students must be informed of the way in which the raw scores are converted onto the marking scale prior to the assessment; whilst in the case of (b) students must be informed of the process after the assessment.

15.11   Norm-Referencing (as defined in annex 1) is not permitted as a means of assessment in the University of Bristol. Criterion-referenced assessment (e.g. marking schemes, marking criteria) is to be used for all assessments.

15.12   Negative Marking may be employed in subjects where it is essential that the student should not guess the right answer. If negative marking is employed, this must be with the full knowledge of the student. There must be appropriate rubric, explaining that the assessment will be subject to negative marking on the cover of an examination paper, and the students should be given opportunities to practise such assessments before undertaking a summative assessment marked in this way.

15.13   Schools may choose to adopt double-marking as academically desirable in the case of summative assessment (see annex 1 for a definition of double marking).

15.14   It is recognised that there are particular difficulties in providing the second marking/moderation in some forms of assessment such as a class presentation which contribute to the overall unit mark. In these cases, evidence of how the assessment mark was reached should be preserved for moderation.