Assessment and Feedback Policy

National MA Education (Wales)

National Assessment & Feedback Policy

Policy Summary

This Policy works with the local Assessment and Feedback Policies within the Participating Intuitions of the National MA Education (Wales) partnership to ensure consistency of approach and student experience across the national partnership.

As a result, and where there is divergence between local and National Policy, the National Policy will take priority over local policy clauses. Where not otherwise specified, local policy and process applies.

Assessment Design and Approval

All assessment is designed by the National Module and Programme Teams under the direction of the National MA Education (Wales) Programme Director and National Academic Board of Studies.  Assessments are approved by the National Validation Panel, and reviewed for consistency of approach, marking and moderation by the National External Examiners. Any new assessment or changes to existing assessment methods will be approved by the National Academic Board of Studies.

Review and Feedback on Draft Submissions of Taught Module Assignments

Academic Mentors will not provide specific initial general feedback on draft submissions or re-submissions of assessments in taught modules[1], but students are encouraged to discuss their work with their Academic Mentor/Personal Tutor.

Use of Turnitin as a Learning Tool

Students may use Turnitin as a tool to promote and understand academic integrity.

Submission of Assessment 

All assessments will normally be submitted in electronic format through the local Digital Learning Platform (DLP) to promote accessibility, efficiency, and sustainability of assessment. All students will normally have access to a receipt for their submission (through the DLP where submitted electronically).

Once assessments have been submitted and the assessment deadline has passed, students will not be able to make any changes to their assessments. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that work is complete and checked prior to submission.

The student whose student ID number is associated with the submitted work is deemed to have authored the work and declares it to be their own with reference and acknowledgements to the work of others fully made. Students also may not submit work on behalf of another student, unless a student is submitting an assessment on behalf of a group.

Students who have made false declarations may be subject to the relevant Academic Misconduct/Unfair Practice procedures of their local institution.

Intellectual Property

The intellectual property of assessed work submitted for taught components of the degree programme is normally deemed to be owned by the student, except where this is specifically defined through contractual arrangements, for example with industrial sponsors or employers, research councils, professional bodies etc.

In these specific cases the intellectual property will be retained either by the University or the external agency as defined by the contract, with students fully informed prior to enrolling on the programme.

The intellectual property of research components of the degree programme will be normally owned by the University, unless specific contractual arrangements require the intellectual properly to be retained by the provider (in this case Schools).

Penalties for Late Submission 

Any student submitting an assessment past the published deadline without submitting a request for Extenuating Circumstances (in line with the National Extenuating Circumstances Policy) will be deemed to have not submitted and receive a mark of 0%.  

Penalties for Submission of Work Breaching Defined Parameters (e.g. Word Limit) 

Any student submitting an assessment which is in breach of the assessment’s defined parameters (e.g., specified submission format, over word length, video length, font size, poster size etc.) may receive a penalty on the final assessment mark, as outlined in National MA Education (Wales) Student Handbook. 

Any work submitted in Welsh that is translated as a last resort for marking will not be penalised if the translation breaches the assessment parameters, where the Welsh submission is otherwise within the defined parameters.

Marking, Moderation and the Release of Marks  

Anonymous Marking 

Students will be ‘anonymised’ by student number – names will not be used when marking to avoid bias. Staff will not take steps to identify any students by their student number.

All student assessments submitted via the Digital Learning Platform (DLP) will be marked in an anonymous state to ensure there is no (conscious or unconscious) bias in marking. Work submitted outside of the DLP, or which requires specific marking approaches (e.g., specific marking guidelines or Welsh medium marking) will be identifiable by student number only.

Marking Assessed Work 

All assessments and examinations must be marked by academic or affiliated[2] staff who have received appropriate training in marking and are familiar with the module’s learning outcomes, marking guidelines and assessment criteria.

All markers must be fully aware of and ensure appropriate consideration is given to students with specific learning requirements when marking.

Provisional moderated[3] marks and feedback, will normally be released to students 20 working days from the date of submission, unless otherwise stated.

Normally, students will be provided with the agreed assessment/module mark and feedback from the primary marker. Where assessments are universally double marked, students may receive feedback from both markers.

Moderation of Marking

Moderation of marking is a process separate from the marking of assessments, which ensures that assessment outcomes (marks) are fair, valid and reliable, that assessment criteria have been applied consistently, that any differences in academic judgement between individual markers can be acknowledged and addressed and that feedback is of consistently high quality. All module marks should also be reviewed at an Examination Board.

Procedures for marking and moderation must be clear, consistent, transparent and communicated effectively to students.

Moderators are not normally required to make detailed comments on individual pieces of assessment, but rather make overall comments on the sample, the marking and any recommended changes to marks. Moderation must be evidenced and recorded consistently. 

Local Moderation

As a minimum, moderation will be conducted for all assessments, with the exception of assessment methods that are automated (i.e., the answers are machine or optically read), or in quantitative assessments in which model answers are provided to the marker, which are normally exempt from moderation, but which may need to be checked for accuracy or calibration.  

Moderation may, as a minimum, apply to a sample of each assessment element, including samples of failed work and work close to the borderline. Samples for moderation must include a minimum of:

  • 10% of total assessments representing a cross-section of classifications, paying specific attention to failed assessments and work close to classification boundaries.

For Modules with small numbers (i.e., fewer than 10 students), all assessments will be moderated.

All student dissertation submissions will be subject to full second marking (non-blind).

Moderation must be completed before assessments are sent to External Examiners for scrutiny, and evidence provided to the External Examiner with samples of the marked and moderated work.  

Normally, effective moderation will eliminate the requirement for full double marking of scripts. However, specific assessments may need to be Second Marked, and the established process for agreeing marks must be followed.

National Moderation Framework

National Moderation Panel (National MA Education (Wales)) 

To ensure consistency of marking processes and moderation of marking across the partnership, the National Moderation Panel will review marking across the partnership and apply a national moderation process.  This National Panel will work on behalf of ALL partner HEIs and, where necessary, may require marking to be reviewed, or for cohort marks to be appropriately re-scaled, for this programme only, to ensure consistency across the partnership. 

The National Panel will undertake the following duties:

  • Review marking and moderation completed by all partners for each module. 
  • Undertake a moderation exercise on assessments across the partnership to ensure consistency of marking. 
  • Receive and decide upon any specific cases escalated by any partner. 
  • Make recommendations to partner institutions with regard to reviewing marking, additional moderation and/or scaling of cohort marks, where marks appear to be anomalous to the national cohort as a whole.
  • Monitor and ensure consistency of approach to marking and moderation for the National MA Education (Wale) and its constituent programme pathways.

Role of the External Examiner in Marking and Moderation 

External Examiners act as overseers of the marking and moderation process only, and not as second markers or moderators themselves.   

Where marks are disputed, participating institutions are expected to resolve any differences between markers through the use of an internal (or in some cases external) moderator where required. Any issues must be resolved before being submitted to External Examiners for review.

A sample of all marked and moderated work and the moderation records must be reviewed by the relevant participating institutional External Examiner(s) to ensure consistency and fairness of marking. The National External Examiners will oversee the marking and moderation across the partnership to ensure consistency.

Assessment in Welsh 

This is a fully bilingual programme. Welsh and English are treated equally in compliance with the Welsh Language Act. All students have the right to undertake assessment in the Welsh language, and wherever possible the work is marked in the language of submission, and not translated. Where a partner institution does not have a marker who can mark in Welsh, the submission will be marked by an academic from a partner institution and moderated by the home institution.

Work may only be translated for marking purposes as a last resort in accordance with guidelines issued by the QAA.  

Publication of Student Marks  

All marks which have not yet been presented to the University’s relevant progression and/or awards boards are considered provisional and therefore may be subject to change.

Provisional marks for continuous assessments will normally be available to students via their participating institutions student records system within 20 working days.

Module marks are confirmed once they have been reviewed and agreed by the participating institution relevant progression and/or awards boards and the local External Examiner.  Confirmed marks will be published thereafter in the same location.

Students may apply to verify the accuracy of published marks through their participating institution’s appropriate procedure or regulation.  Students may not challenge the marking itself, as this is based on academic judgement within the defined assessment criteria.

Effective Feedback and Feed-Forward 

All students will receive high quality, constructive and developmental feedback/feedforward on their assessments, including formative assessment and examinations in a variety of formats, and wherever possible have the opportunity to use this feedback to inform future assessments. 

Feedback/forward for continuous assessment will normally be specific and individual for each student, providing information on what the student has done well and areas which could be improved. Feedback may be from markers or peers, depending on the assessment approach taken. Group or cohort feedback may also be utilised for relevant assessment types, notably for large scale objective assessments and examinations. 

Feedback/forward will be clearly linked to the marking criteria and the intended learning outcomes for the assessment, module and/or programme. 

Feedback/forward on every assessment type outside of official University Examination Periods will normally be provided to students within a maximum of 20 working days to ensure the feedback is useful for students, with expected return date published in the Student Handbook (or similar). Where this is not possible, it must be clearly communicated to students at the earliest opportunity and include a revised release date and clear rationale or explanation for the delay. 

All feedback/forward will be returned to students electronically, and a range of approaches and media will be utilised to ensure feedback is inclusive, engaging and accessible for all students, including the use of separate feedback sheets or digitised annotations where relevant.

The release of provisional marks or feedback to students must not be delayed if there are any students who have an extension for any reason, or to consult the External Examiner. Colleges/Schools are required to withhold marks and feedback from individual students where there is an active Academic Misconduct/Unfair Practice case

Students will be given clear opportunities to discuss or seek clarification on their feedback on any form of assessment, including examinations, with their Academic Mentor or Module Co-ordinator (or other academic members of staff) as appropriate.

[1] Excepting the Dissertation – Please see the separate Dissertation and Supervision Policy

[2] ‘Affiliated staff’ may include clinicians and other external colleagues where appropriate, provided relevant University requirements for marking are followed.

[3] Local and National moderation processes should be completed prior to release of marks.