Classification Bands - University of Ulster

21 November 2001
At its October meeting, the Committee had noted that several external examiners
had commented on the way in which degree classification was determined
(especially first class honours degrees) and the inflexibility of the University’s
The Committee had agreed that the University’s regulations for
determining classification bands should be reviewed (minute 01.201 refers).
The Committee received paper TLC/01/103 which outlined the University’s
regulations and principles for determining classification bands for its various
awards and three issues for consideration: 50% rule, Distinction in Master’s
courses and the use of discretionary bands.
The Committee noted the importance of applying regulations consistently and
transparently across the University and that it had commended the use of the
mark band criteria by level set out in Assessment Handbook. Marks awarded
should reflect the class which students deserved. Faculties might however
present alternative approaches to the Committee for consideration.
that no change be made to regulations.
23 October 2002
Classification Bands
At its June meeting, the Committee had agreed that Faculties consider a paper
(TLC/02/43) outlining the University’s regulations for the classification of Honours
degrees and addressing the issue of whether Boards of Examiners might award a
higher classification than the overall average warranted. The current wording
gave rise to some ambiguity in interpretation. The Committee received Paper
TLC/02/73 which summarised the comments received from Faculties.
In the interests of fairness, clarity and consistency, the Committee supported an
amendment to Regulation 30, that, in order to be awarded a particular class, a
candidate must achieve the minimum for that classification in their overall
average, as well as in 50% of the modules contributing to the result.
The Committee noted the importance of careful consideration of borderline
candidates and the involvement of external examiners in moderating results and
conducting viva voce examinations if required. It was noted that in the two-tier
arrangements for subject-based Honours degrees, borderline classifications
would not be known until after moderation of results by subject External
that it be recommended to Senate that Regulation 30 for Honours Degrees be
amended as follows and that the revision apply from 2003 Boards of Examiners:
“The results of candidates who have successfully completed a course of
study leading to the award of an Honours degree shall be graded by order of
merit as first class, second class (upper or lower division), or third class.
In order to be considered for a particular class of Honours degree a
candidate must normally have obtained marks in the appropriate range or
above in at least 50% of the modules contributing to the final award, in
addition to achieving the overall minimum percentage.
The following percentages shall be used as a basis for determining to
determine candidates’ overall gradings in Honours degree courses:
Class I
Class II (division i) (IIi)
Class II (division ii) (Iiii)
Class III
At least 70%
At least 60% and less than 70%
At least 50% and less than 60%
At least 40% and less than 50%”
20 October 2004
Classification of Awards (Item 4)
Four matters had been identified by a small number of external examiners.
Basis of Classification
An external examiner had raised the issue of whether the University’s
classification system required students to clear too many thresholds, rather
than basing the classification solely on the overall average mark. The
Committee was of the view that the thresholds set by the University for
classification were appropriate, given the need to ensure that students
achieved the learning outcomes for the programme as a whole, and to
demonstrate breadth in the appropriate class.