Managing Exam Boards in 13/14 - Student Experience & Academic

Managing Exam Boards in 2013/14
Briefing meeting for
Chairs of Exam Boards and
Exam Board Convenors
(March 2014)
Online Regulations and Guidance at:
Manuals and Handbooks
• Exam Boards
• External Examiners
• Exam Liaison Officers
• Exam Result Processing
Web Mark Entry
Calculating Module Results
Producing reports for Exam Boards
Managing Exam Boards and confirming results
(Individual training sessions will be arranged as
and when needed)
Quick Guides
• Exam Board Chairs
• Exam Processing
Briefing Meetings
One-to-One Support for Schools
Introduction and Process Overview (9/13 – 10/13)
Managing Extenuating Circumstances (10/13 – 11/13)
Consultation meetings with schools / groups of schools
(10/13 – 12/13). Follow up meetings with schools where
Chairs of Exam Boards (03/14)
Via Telephone and/or email
Newly Appointed External Examiners (04/14)
• SIMS / Processes – email [email protected]
ext. 76211
• Student Cases – email [email protected] ext. 76628
• Assessment Matters - email [email protected] ext. 76979
Pre-Board final checks (05/14)
Exam Board Hotline: ext. 79555
Registry attendance at Exam Boards
• Overview of the changes made to
policies and Regulations;
• Pre-Board processes and activities;
• The ways in which Boards shall
• Post Board activities;
• Feedback and discussion.
Consistency and transparency in assessment – why it
matters …
• For students – it will be clear and fair
• For staff – it will reduce duplication of effort, by
using a single source of information
• For the University – it helps ensure confidence
in the standards and quality of our awards
• Designed to ensure consistency in the ways in
which the following are managed
– Rounding of marks at different levels;
– Weightings within and between modules;
– Re-assessments;
– Examining Boards;
– Extenuating circumstances.
“the rationale for
approaches to
regulations has
become obscure”
Burgess Report
The Regulations and Guidance that support Examining
• Function
• Membership
• Operation
• Training & Support
• Role of External Examiners
• Quality Assurance and
• Exam Board reports
QAA Code of Practice
Regulations, policies or processes make explicit
the degree-awarding body's requirements
relating to:
• membership of internal and external
examiners and other staff, and attendance
at meetings of each board/panel;
• how the views of those unable to attend
might be recorded;
• the quorum for meetings and how
inquoracy will be dealt with, and;
• provision for chair's action, its limitations
and the recording and reporting of such
The ways in which results will be calculated and
• Rounding
• Compensation /
• Progression
• Weightings
• Borderline students
Where institutional audit reports have noted
that institutions are operating multiple sets of
assessment and classification arrangements,
they have generally tended to recommend
measures to reduce the number of such
arrangements, with a clear preference that
institutions adopt frameworks, or a single
framework, within which classification decisions
can be taken more consistently and fairly. (QAA
2006, p. 10)
The use of discretion is fatally flawed since it
can rarely be supported on academic grounds,
is based on the judgemental values of those
people who are on a particular board, is likely
to be inconsistent across an institution and
hence is often blatantly unfair to some
students. (Hayden and Caine 1997, p.149)
The Extenuating Circumstances Regulations
Consistency in:
• The ways in which students
report possible Extenuating
• The operation of Extenuating
Circumstances Groups in
• The ways in which Schools
judge Extenuating
Circumstances forms;
• The remedies that will be
applied where students have
had Extenuating
External Examiners have said …
“Once again I had some concerns about the
way special circumstances were dealt with.
At every institution I have had any dealing
with before these are dealt with by a
special committee quite separately from
the exam board.”
“There remains a need to clarify the
process as to whether students should have
mitigating circumstances accepted for
assessments that they have not actually
asked for … This risks inequitable treatment
of students as it relies on someone present
at the meeting being aware of their
The administrative processes that support result
processing and Exam Boards
• A single source of programme
information for students / staff;
• Streamlined processes for and
within schools;
• Confidence in the ways in
which standards are managed
across the University;
“The new award rules saved a lot of
time in the Exam Board discussing
matters which are no longer
discretionary and I think this makes
the system fairer and more
transparent” (PHYSX)
“The implementation of the new modular
postgraduate (PGT) award rules has simplified
the exam board process and reduced
administration tasks that had previously been
quite time consuming for our programme
both pre and post exam board.” (MEDIC)
Consistency, reliability, and transparency.
Transitional students
• Students who undertook assessments that contribute to classified outcomes
prior to the approval of the new award rules will have their outcomes calculated
using both the old and new rules.
The student will be given the best outcome.
• Registry is working with schools to ensure that Examining Boards will have
identified ‘transitional’ students in advance of Board meetings and undertaken
the relevant calculations.
• Boards should not use discretion to determine the classification of borderline
students (based on the final mark achieved under the old rules), but should
apply the secondary rule included in Senate Regulations.
The operation of Boards
Membership and Quoracy
The role and duties of External
Where the marks awarded to a cohort
of students need to be changed
Unfair Practice
Reports from Extenuating
Circumstances Groups
The management of Quality and
Membership and Quoracy
• The Chair;
• Staff to represent the modules being considered by the Board;
• External Examiners – where modules that contribute to the final
award are being considered;
• Chair of the Extenuating Circumstances Group or nominee;
• A named Convenor who shall be a member of University staff.
• Examining Boards shall be quorate and able to make
recommendations when the Chair is satisfied that an appropriate
spokesperson for each module is present.
• This applies to all boards (i.e. including resit boards).
Role and Duties of External Examiners
External Examiners should seek to ensure that Assessments:
– are appropriate to the level of study;
– enable learners to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes;
– cover the subject content appropriately; and
– are accessible and fair, so that all learners have equal opportunity to
demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes.
External Examiners may ask the Board to review the marks of whole cohorts or
of individual Assessments;
External Examiners should not be invited to resolve disputes between internal
examiners or markers;
External Examiners should not be invited to make recommendations on, or
change the marks of, individual students or of individual Assessments.
Where the marks awarded to a cohort of students need
to be changed
• When defects or irregularities in the conduct of the
examinations (e.g. error on a question paper) are identified;
• When the External Examiners determine that the marking is
out-of-line with expected standards;
• In disciplines where ‘scaling’ is used as part of the agreed
assessment strategy.
• Credit shall be awarded:
– when a module mark is within 5% of the pass mark AND
– the module(s) is being assessed as a first attempt; AND
– the student has failed no more than credits than specified in Senate
Regulations; AND
– the student's stage mark is at least 45% (UG) or 55% (PGT); AND
– the module is NOT a Required Module; AND
– in the case of a Module where a qualifying mark is required for one or more
Assessment components, where the qualifying mark has been achieved.
• In such circumstances, the Module Mark shall not be changed and the
mark achieved shall be used, in calculating award classifications.
• Examining Boards shall NOT change the marks achieved by an individual
• Modular Undergraduate Programmes Regulations:
“For the purpose of classification, all Modules pursued at
Level 5 and Level 6 and, where appropriate, Level 7 will be
combined according to the weighting adopted [for the
• In practice, this will mean that, where a student takes more
than 120 credits in a contributing level (whether or not these
are taken in a single academic year), that the outcomes
achieved in all of these modules will contribute to a student’s
final mark, and thus their degree classification.
Unfair Practice
• Where an allegation of unfair practice
is being considered, progression is
deferred and no marks are finalised
(the chair should confirm the code of
• Schools can release provisional marks
to students to enable them to attend
re-sit exams;
• When the decision and any penalty
relating to unfair practice has been
confirmed, the Board should confirm
the student’s mark without revisiting
the case.
Reports from Extenuating Circumstances Groups
• To report Extenuating Circumstances cases that have already
been remedied (e.g. through Extension / Supplementary
• To note the number of requests NOT accepted by the
Extenuating Circumstances Group;
• To note modules passed but impacted by Extenuating
Circumstances that will be carried forward to the Final Year
• Where (and why) students will have a choice to resit;
• The operation of ‘discounting’ in Final Year Boards.
Recording decisions at Examining Boards
At least one B
Student has choice to resit assessment(s) affected by
Extenuating Circumstances relating to protected
characteristics. A report will identify these.
At least one A
where the
assessment has
been passed
Student to be awarded credit, but module potentially
eligible for discounting at classification stage
At least one A
where the
assessment has
been failed
Student has choice to resit failed assessment(s) affected by
Extenuating Circumstances
Where Boards permit a choice
• Follow this process where the Board gives students a choice (for example
where the student’s protected characteristics link to their extenuating
– The Board confirms progression or award;
– Students are contacted to be given the option of re-sitting;
– Where students decide to resit, the Chair completes and signs a ‘Change of
Result’ form;
– If the student decides to re-sit within 2 weeks, the award should not have
been confirmed;
– If the student decides to re-sit after the award has been confirmed, it will
need to be ‘rescinded’ via the Awards and Progress Committee.
Extenuating Circumstances (discounting)
• SIMS will calculate both:
– A student’s final mark with no discounting; and
– A student’s final mark with the lowest module marks (up to 1/6 of the
contributing credit) discounted;
i.e. with the marks of modules impacted by extenuating circumstances
removed from the calculation.
• SIMS will choose the best out of the two marks and will use
this to give the provisional classification of the student’s
Manual discounting
• Boards may wish to consider checking whether SIMS has
calculated the best possible outcome for the student where
classifications could be affected.
• The outcome may be different if:
– students have modules impacted by extenuating circumstances in
different years (given these will have different weightings);
– where the results of the eligible modules for discounting include some
results above the student’s final mark.
Use the flow chart to help make manual discounting decisions
The below grid can help the board to decide whether the best
outcome for the student has been given
40:60 weighting
Year contributes 40%
Year contributes 60%
Module credits For each 10 marks
Final mark changes by:
Final mark changes by:
10 marks
10 marks
10 marks
10 marks
30:70 weighting
Year contributes 30%
Year contributes 70%
Module credits
For each 10 marks
Final mark changes by:
Final mark changes by:
10 marks
10 marks
10 marks
10 marks
Support, testing, and training
Schools can test their progression and award rules data and Business Objects reports
• In April a test system will be available for Schools to calculate awards using the new
rules and run exam board reports;
• 6 schools (BIOSI, CLAWS, ENCAP, ENGIN, HCARE, and MATHS) will work with Student
Records to test the rules in first two weeks of April;
• Other schools wishing to undertake testing should put test data in by mid-April and
contact Student Records to discuss running tests;
• Schools will be provided with Business Objects reports showing their test students;
• Support sessions for school administrators will be held in late-April.
• Reminder - Modules from previous years impacted by Extenuating Circumstances
(i.e. those that need PX grades) should be sent to Student Records as soon as
The management of Quality and Standards
• By using the exam board reports contained in the ‘Assessment
Matters – University Exam Board Reports’ folder within Business
• By reviewing the statistical information that Boards will receive to
support this part of their role;
• By receiving input from the External Examiner(s);
• By reviewing quality and standards matters related to
Programme(s) of Study;
• By feeding proposed enhancements into the Annual Review and
Enhancement (ARE) process;
• There is NO need to pass the minutes from Boards to Registry.
As well as reports on student achievements there will be a report to help you look at data
over the past 5 years at programme level.
Key Points related to your role as Chair of a Board
• Confirm that the Board is able to undertake its business;
• Disregard ongoing unfair practice cases;
• Manage reports of Extenuating Circumstances in accordance
with Senate Assessment Regulations;
• Confirm progression, awards, and re-assessment
• Use the opportunity to consider quality and standards matters
offered through external representation at Boards;
• Confirm, then sign, the final annotated report (for return to
Post Board Activities
• Schools return Exam Board reports to Registry with any
– Hard copy of Exam board report signed by the Chair of the
Exam Board;
– Awards and Progress Committee Pro-forma;
– Examining Board checklist;
– External Examiner Report Form (Master’s Degree
(Dissertation) Stage)
• Schools should retain the minutes from Examining
Boards for (at least) ten years
Release of results
• Students will receive an email
telling them their results are
available to view via SIMS
• Graduates will receive their
certificates from August
Support and Advice
• A senior member of Registry staff from can attend pre-meetings,
and/or advise the Chair and Convenor before the meeting on
individual student cases where advice and guidance would be
• A senior member of Registry staff from can attend Examining
Boards on request to advise on particular issues;
• A training and consultation session for School staff who input and
transfer assessment results will be held to ensure familiarity with
the procedures and timescales that need to be followed;
• A telephone ‘Helpline’ service [ext. 79555] during the assessment
period for regulatory guidance and support.
Discussion / Questions
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