Conduct of Examinations and other Assessments
(Version effective from 1 August 2023)
Scope of Regulation
1. This Regulation governs the conduct of assessments for all students on taught programmes. The Academic Registrar may waive any of the requirements of this regulation in the case of individual students. Any such waiver will be reported to the next meeting of Senate.
2. In this regulation Dean of School shall be taken to include any nominee of the Dean of School agreed with the Academic Registrar.
3. Each School/Department shall ensure that the specific requirements for its individual modules (including project and dissertation modules), are made available in forms which are easily accessible both to its own students and to students from other schools/departments who are registered on its modules.
4. All requests for coursework deadline extensions must be made using the appropriate form to the Associate Dean (Education and Student Experience) responsible for the module (or nominee) before the original deadline. Extensions shall be granted only where exceptional circumstances beyond the candidate's control prevent submission of the coursework on time, and all requests must be supported by relevant documentary evidence.
- For all undergraduate modules, only one extension, for a fixed period of 48 hours from the original deadline, may be granted in respect of each coursework assignment. Students shall normally be informed of the outcome of their extension request no more than 2 working days after the submission of the full request (including supporting evidence).
- For all postgraduate modules, with the exception of project or dissertation modules, only one extension, for a fixed period of 48 hours from the original deadline, may be granted in respect of each coursework assignment. Students shall normally be informed of the outcome of their extension request no more than 2 working days after the submission of the full request (including supporting evidence).
- For postgraduate project or dissertation modules, the Associate Dean (Teaching) responsible for the module (or nominee) shall, in consultation with the relevant Module Leader, determine whether an extension should be permitted and if so what period the extension should cover – normally, no more than two extensions to the original submission deadline, for an overall period not exceeding 4 months for full-time students and 12 months for part-time students, will be permitted. Students shall normally be informed of the outcome of their extension request no more than ten working days after the submission of the full request (including supporting evidence).
6. Any coursework not submitted by the submission deadline (plus any agreed extension) shall be subject to a penalty as set out in paragraphs 7‐10 below. Students who fail to submit coursework by the submission deadline (plus any agreed extension) due to extenuating circumstances beyond their control should submit a mitigating circumstances claim. A mark reduced or set to zero for late submission may only be amended if a mitigating circumstances claim is upheld.
7. Where coursework is submitted no more than 4 hours after the submission deadline (plus any agreed extension), the work will be accepted for marking but the raw mark will be reduced by 10% of the mark achieved. Such marks will be rounded to the nearest whole number.
8. Any coursework received by the submission deadline (plus any agreed extension) will take precedence over work submitted late, except where the student’s School/Department agrees that the work submitted on time was submitted in error and the correct work is submitted within 4 hours of the submission deadline (plus any agreed extension). The onus is on the student to realise they have submitted the incorrect work, submitted work will not be checked by staff.
9. Exceptionally, Schools/Departments may exempt coursework from the provisions of paragraphs 7‐ 8 above, where this is appropriate for the type of assessment used. Such exemptions will be made clear to students in the assessment requirements.
10. Any coursework submitted more than 4 hours after the submission deadline (plus any agreed extension), or submitted after the submission deadline if the assessment is exempted under paragraph 9, will receive a mark of zero.
11. For any module contributing to the award of a degree assessed by coursework alone a sample of the work must be seen by the External Examiner.
Administration of Written Examinations
12. Each written examination paper shall be approved jointly by the Dean of the appropriate School and the Module Leader and these two shall sign a cover sheet for the examination paper.
13. For Semester 1 and 2 examinations an examination timetable shall be published at least three weeks before the date of any examination included in that timetable. For the Special Assessment Period, an examination timetable should be published at least two weeks before the date of any examination included in that timetable. This timetable shall show for each examination:
- the date
- the start time
- the finish time
- the venue
- any special circumstances, e.g. that notes may be taken into an examination.
14. A list of candidates shall be published at least 30 minutes before the start of each examination showing the seat number for each candidate.
15. Examinations may be held in any room in the University, or elsewhere, designated by the Academic Registrar as an Examination Hall.
Invigilation of Written Examinations
16. All members of the Academic Staff, research staff and research students of the University shall be eligible for appointment as Invigilators. The Academic Registrar may designate as Invigilators members of the staff of other institutions in which University Examinations may be held and other appropriately experienced individuals.
17. The Academic Registrar shall appoint a Chief Invigilator for each Examination Hall, who shall be responsible for:
- announcing the start of the examination
- arranging periods of relief for Invigilators
- the overall conduct of the examination
- accounting for all written work at the end of the examination
18. Invigilators shall satisfy themselves before the commencement of each examination that proper provision has been made for its conduct and are responsible for ensuring that all Rules for Examinations Candidates (detailed in paragraphs 22 to 35 hereof) are observed, and that any infringement of these rules is reported immediately to the Academic Registrar.
19. The Academic Registrar shall inform the appropriate School Head of Operations or their nominee no later than the following day of candidates absent from examinations.
20. The Invigilators are empowered to curtail activities in the immediate vicinity of the Examination Hall which they consider detrimental to the performance of candidates.
21. Invigilators shall distribute question papers face down on desks before candidates enter the Examination Hall.
22. Invigilators shall collect all written work from each candidate before the candidate leaves the Examination Hall.
23. If the Invigilators suspend any candidate for misconduct or dismiss him/her from the Examination Hall, the circumstances must be reported immediately to the Academic Registrar.
Rules for Written Examination Candidates
24. Until formally instructed to do so by the Chief Invigilator, candidates will not be permitted to start their examination or to write anything.
25. Candidates will not be admitted to an Examination Hall after the examination has been in progress for thirty minutes. Candidates will not be permitted to leave during the first thirty minutes and the last fifteen minutes of their examination.
26. Any candidate permitted to leave an Examination Hall temporarily must be accompanied by an Invigilator or a person deputed by an Invigilator. Any candidate who leaves the Examination Hall unaccompanied shall not be permitted to return to the Examination Hall.
27. Candidates may only take printed materials or manuscripts into an Examination Hall when it has previously been advertised in the Examination Timetable and when it is stated in the rubric to the question paper that such material may be used.
28. All personal possessions not indicated in the rubric to the question paper must be deposited where the Invigilators direct.
29. Candidates must sit at the desks where their examination numbers are placed.
30. Candidates must sign the Examination Register when it is presented to them by the Invigilators at the commencement of each examination.
31. Candidates who are guilty of any misconduct including copying from or communicating with any other candidate during an examination or the introduction of prohibited materials into the Examination Hall may be suspended or dismissed from the examination by the Invigilators. Action may be taken against such candidates under the provisions of Regulation XVIII.
32. Candidates must not leave the Examination Hall until their written work has been handed to an Invigilator. At the end of each examination, the Invigilators will request all candidates then present to remain in their places until all written work has been collected.
33. Mathematical tables and other data provided for use in examinations must not be removed from the Examination Hall.
34. All questions in a written examination must be answered in English unless instructions on the question paper indicate otherwise.
35. Candidates may refer to English/native tongue dictionaries only when they have received written authorisation from their School/Department. Such written authorisation and dictionaries must be presented to an Invigilator for inspection prior to the candidate commencing the examination.
36. Where a candidate has a query about the wording of an examination paper, they should write the query on the examination script and explain (if applicable) how they believe they have been impacted by the issue so the matter can be taken into account in marking of the script.
Written Examinations Taken Overseas and Elsewhere in the UK
37. It shall be possible for Schools/Departments offering modules by distance learning to assess students by written examination.
38. If examinations are taken overseas or elsewhere in the UK, suitable arrangements shall be made by the student’s School/Department for the invigilation of the examination and the secure transmission of papers and scripts. In the case of overseas examinations, issues of security consequent upon different time zones shall be taken into account.
39. Invigilation shall normally be organised through British Council offices, or a partner institution, preferably one well known to the University.
40. Schools/Departments may pass on the costs of organising examinations overseas or elsewhere in the UK to the students concerned. Where the whole programme is examined overseas or elsewhere in the UK, this charge shall be included in the total tuition fee for the programme. In other cases, students shall be notified by the School/Department that an additional fee will be charged.
41. The School/Department concerned shall notify the Academic Registrar in advance of plans to conduct a written examination overseas or elsewhere in the UK, including details of the proposed arrangements for invigilation and security, in time for any concerns to be raised and addressed. If the Academic Registrar is content with the arrangement outlined, the location shall be formally designated an examination hall in accordance with paragraph 11 hereof.
42. The relative weightings of component assessments for a given module shall be the same for students taking examinations overseas or elsewhere in the UK as for those taking examinations on University premises.
43. Upon the instigation of the Chair or the designated Deputy Chair of the Programme Board (normally following consultation with the External Programme Assessor where the decision of the Programme Board would contribute to the award of a degree or diploma), any candidate who is to be considered by a Programme Board may first be examined viva-voce by a panel of the Programme Board. The viva-voce panel shall be appointed by either the Chair or the designated Deputy Chair of the Programme Board. The findings of the viva-voce panel and its recommendations if any shall be reported to the Programme Board which shall take them into account in reaching its decision.
44. The viva-voce panel shall be composed of at least three members of the Programme Board who shall include:
- The Chair or the designated Deputy Chair of the Programme Board
- The External Programme Assessor if the Programme Board is held to make an award, except where prior permission of the Academic Registrar has been obtained to replace the External Programme Assessor with any External Examiner of the University.
Any viva-voce panel may co-opt to its membership any External Examiner of the University.
45. Students do not have an automatic right to viva-voce examination.
46. Viva-voce examinations shall be used sparingly to ensure that candidates are fairly treated and shall be instigated where the Chair/Deputy Chair of the Programme Board wishes to obtain further information about a particular candidate in regard to such matters as:
- unexpected results
- some borderline candidates
- claims for mitigating circumstances
47. The viva-voce panel shall make one of the following recommendations only to the Programme Board:
- Take no action
- Permit the student to repeat any or all module assessments only when a mitigating circumstances claim has been received.
- Increase the student’s marks in any circumstances
- Determine an outcome for the student other than that which would have been awarded based on Programme Mark alone in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 19, 20 and 21 of Regulation XX or paragraphs 15 to 18 of Regulation XXI.
No candidate shall be disadvantaged by virtue of undergoing a viva-voce examination. The reasons for any action taken shall be recorded in the Programme Board report.
48. Should a candidate fail to attend a viva-voce examination, no recommendation shall be made to the Programme Board. The candidate shall not be disadvantaged by failure to attend.
49. Viva-voce examinations shall not be used as a disciplinary procedure.
50. Schools/Departments shall publish, as soon as the date of the Programme Board is determined, the date on which any viva-voce examinations will take place. Schools/Departments shall contact any candidate invited to attend for a viva-voce examination as soon as possible and not less than one working day before the date of the viva-voce examination.
51. Schools/Departments shall seek to avoid setting dates for viva-voce examinations which would require candidates, particularly those from overseas, to travel considerable distances to attend.