Policy Statement on non-attendance at timetabled sessions and reduction of module marks

General Principles

1. If the work undertaken in a timetabled session is assessed, it is legitimate for a mark of zero to be awarded for the relevant session to a student who is absent from the session (and for that zero mark to be carried forward into the computation of the module mark).

2. If the work undertaken in a timetabled session is integral to the assessment process (for example, where the session involves the collection of data in a laboratory or fieldwork activity that will form the basis of a piece of assessed coursework), it is legitimate for a reduced mark to be awarded for the relevant assessment to a student who is absent from the session. Indeed students may be unable to submit coursework which is their own unless they are present.

3. School/Departments should not penalise students for non-attendance at any timetabled session by reducing marks except in the circumstances described above.

Practical Implications

4. Sometimes, students must experience a session at first hand in the interests of their own, or others’, health and safety. School/Departments may enforce attendance by, for example, banning students from the use of equipment or laboratories until they have completed the necessary training

5. Sometimes, School/Departments take the view that the absence of an individual student is detrimental to a session as a learning experience for the students who do attend. Marks should not be deducted as a penalty for non-attendance in this situation, though reasonable persuasion can be applied to encourage attendance.

6. Statements such as ‘students must attend all classes in order to be eligible for a coursework mark to be recorded for the module’ should not appear in module specifications or elsewhere, as they do not accord with the above principles.

7. Some School/Departments underline the key role of particular types of class in the learning process, such as tutorials, by adopting an assessment strategy for the relevant module where marks are awarded to students for their contribution in the context of the class concerned. In such cases mark reductions are permissible in the event of non-attendance. School/Departments are expected to structure module intended learning outcomes (ILOs) in terms of

Knowledge and understanding Subject specific skills:

(i) Intellectual/Cognitive skills

(ii) Practical skillsKey/Transferable skills.

School/Departments are encouraged to award marks for the demonstration of skills that form part of the ILOs of the module concerned.

8. School/Departments are encouraged to emphasise the importance of sessions such as tutorials in the learning process in School/Departmental and Programme Handbooks.

9. Students must be informed when work in a timetabled session will contribute to the module assessment.

10. Where timetabled sessions are assessed or integral to the assessment process (and mark deductions are therefore permissible), it would be appropriate for a student absent for good cause to put in a claim for impaired performance.

11. Students should be made aware what attendance records are kept by the School/Department in relation to timetabled sessions, and for what purpose.

June 2001