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Coursework Code of Practice

Introduction

This Code sets out the University's minimum acceptable standards for the handling of coursework.

1. Departmental Code of Practice
1.1 Every Department shall have an explicit Coursework Code of Practice which meets the minimum standards set out in this document.
1.2 This Code shall be included in the Departmental Handbook in electronic or printed form.
1.3 Departments shall be responsible for ensuring that the general requirements of its Code, as well as the specific requirements for its individual modules, are promulgated in forms which are easily accessible both to its own students  and to students  from other departments who are registered on its modules.
   
2. Module Specifications
2.1 Module specifications shall contain, in the ‘methods of teaching, learning and assessment’ field, a brief indication of the number and nature (e.g. essay, laboratory work) of assessed coursework assignments that students will be set, together with the proportion of total module marks that each item will represent.  For additional requirements applying to Project and Dissertation modules, see Section 10.
   
3. Overall pattern of coursework
3.1 Departments shall use their best endeavours to ensure that the overall pattern of coursework requirements on their programmes as a whole  (as well as individual modules) involves not only an appropriate mixture of forms of assessment, but also a phasing  of assignments which does not place its students under undue pressure and which permits timely feedback on coursework performance.
3.2 To enable students to plan their activities, Internal Examiners shall provide students with information about the timing of coursework assignments  (a) in writing within the first two weeks of one- and two-semester modules and on the first day of block taught modules and (b) when an assignment is handed out.   This should identify whichever of the following dates are relevant to the assignment in question: when it will be set; when it will be undertaken; when it will be submitted; when marks will be released; when feedback will be provided; when it will be returned.  Programme Handbooks shall state that a schedule of assignments and all relevant dates is available from the Internal Examiner.
   
4. Receipt and return of coursework assignments
4.1 Departments shall make secure arrangements for, and maintain reliable records of, the receipt and return of coursework assignments.  Departments should normally institute arrangements for the central collection of assignments.
4.2 Departments shall require students to complete a cover sheet to accompany each piece of coursework.  A standard University template representing minimum practice is provide as an Annex to this Code of Practice and identifies the minimum information required from students, but departments may wish to extend this.
   
5. Feedback on coursework
5.1 Departments shall ensure that adequate, timely and appropriate feedback is provided to students on all coursework assignments. It is recognised that much valuable feedback is provided orally, but departments are encouraged to give feedback in a form that is retrievable e.g. in written or electronic form, and must keep records of feedback to students having taken place.  The communication of marks/grades should be individual (except where a common mark/grade is given for group work); the communication of individual marks/grades by ID number is permitted.  Programme Handbooks shall state the form of feedback that students can expect and this information shall also be given to students when assignments are set.  The feedback should enable students to understand the reasons for the mark/grade given and should include constructive comments on the strengths and weaknesses of their work. For additional requirements applying to interim feedback on Project and Dissertation modules, see Section 10.
   
6. Extensions to deadlines and the late submission of work
6.1 Coursework deadline extensions shall be granted only in exceptional circumstances where the student shows good cause. The maximum extension that may be granted is seven days for undergraduate modules and fourteen days for postgraduate modules (excluding postgraduate project or dissertation modules, see Regulation XVII, paragraphs 9-10).
6.2 Any coursework not submitted by the due date (plus any agreed period of extension) will be marked at zero.  Where sickness, bereavement or other valid reasons exist, the student should submit an impaired performance claim to be considered by the appropriate impaired performance panel.  It will then be for the Programme Board (UG) or Review Board (PG) to decide, in the light of any recommendation from the impaired performance panel, whether to let this mark stand or to insert a different mark.
6.3 Departments shall ensure that students are informed of coursework deadlines, the procedure for their extension and the penalty for late submission.
   
7. Modules assessed by coursework alone
7.1 For degree modules assessed by coursework alone a sample of the work must be seen by the External Examiner.
   
8. In-class tests and Computer Aided Assessment
8.1 Where coursework takes the form of in-class tests, Departments shall ensure that the test takes place in an appropriate environment, that students sign a class list to signify their attendance and that a member of staff records the receipt of answers. It shall be Departments' responsibility to ensure the provision of appropriate stationery for such tests.
8.2 Departments undertaking Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) shall use either the Optical Mark Reader CAA Service or the Question Mark Perception Service in conjunction with the CAA Officer and observe the separate Codes of Practice for each service.
   
9. Reassessment and the Special Assessment Period
9.1 Departments shall provide information about coursework requirements and deadlines applicable to the Special Assessment Period to those students who have registered for reassessment in that Period. The requirements may vary from those set originally.
   
10. Additional requirements for project and dissertation modules
10.1 Departments shall have an agreed policy concerning the minimum level of support that students can expect during the course of project and dissertation modules and publish this in appropriate module or programme handbooks.  This should indicate the minimum number of contact hours that students can expect, the arrangements for setting interim targets (for example, the production of an outline work plan, submission of a draft chapter) and for formal/progress meetings between students and their supervisors.
10.2 Departments should include a statement indicating what records are to be kept by both staff and students.  All supervisors are advised to keep a record of formal/progress meetings with their students.  Departments are encouraged to require students also to take responsibility for keeping a record in the form of a log, based around the interim targets, which has to be signed off by the supervisor, and perhaps handed in with the finished work.
10.3 Departments are encouraged also to include a statement to the effect that each student is responsible for the planning, execution, content and timely submission of their work, and to provide guidance about the point in the module where it is no longer appropriate for the supervisor to continue providing feedback to the student on their work.
10.4 Module specifications shall contain, in the ‘methods of teaching, learning and assessment’ field, more specific details of the arrangements for providing support to students and monitoring their progress on the particular module, e.g. the number of timetabled contact hours, the specific interim targets and record-keeping requirements that will apply.  Any special considerations in relation to issues such as health and safety should also be included.

Amended by Learning and Teaching Committee, February 2007

19 May 2009

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