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Managing Exam Boards in 2013/14 Briefing meeting for Chairs of Exam Boards and Exam Board Convenors (March 2014)

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Exam Boards in 2013/14 Briefing meeting for Chairs of Exam Boards and Exam Board Convenors (March 2014)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Exam Boards in 2013/14 Briefing meeting for Chairs of Exam Boards and Exam Board Convenors (March 2014)

2 Documentation Online Regulations and Guidance at: Manuals and Handbooks Exam Boards External Examiners Exam Liaison Officers Exam Result Processing Quick Guides Exam Board Chairs Exam Processing Training Web Mark Entry Calculating Module Results Producing reports for Exam Boards Managing Exam Boards and confirming results (Individual training sessions will be arranged as and when needed) Briefing Meetings Introduction and Process Overview (9/13 – 10/13) Managing Extenuating Circumstances (10/13 – 11/13) Chairs of Exam Boards (03/14) Newly Appointed External Examiners (04/14) Pre-Board final checks (05/14) One-to-One Support for Schools Consultation meetings with schools / groups of schools (10/13 – 12/13). Follow up meetings with schools where required. Via Telephone and/or SIMS / Processes – ext. Student Cases – ext. Assessment Matters - ext. Exam Board Hotline: ext Registry attendance at Exam Boards

3 Outline Overview of the changes made to policies and Regulations; Pre-Board processes and activities; The ways in which Boards shall operate; Post Board activities; Feedback and discussion.

4 Consistency and transparency in assessment – why it matters … For students – it will be clear and fair For staff – it will reduce duplication of effort, by using a single source of information For the University – it helps ensure confidence in the standards and quality of our awards Designed to ensure consistency in the ways in which the following are managed – Rounding of marks at different levels; – Weightings within and between modules; – Re-assessments; – Examining Boards; – Extenuating circumstances. “the rationale for differing approaches to regulations has become obscure” Burgess Report

5 The Regulations and Guidance that support Examining Boards Function Membership Operation Training & Support Role of External Examiners Quality Assurance and Enhancement Exam Board reports QAA Code of Practice Regulations, policies or processes make explicit the degree-awarding body's requirements relating to: membership of internal and external examiners and other staff, and attendance at meetings of each board/panel; how the views of those unable to attend might be recorded; the quorum for meetings and how inquoracy will be dealt with, and; provision for chair's action, its limitations and the recording and reporting of such decisions

6 The ways in which results will be calculated and confirmed Rounding Compensation / condonement Progression Weightings Borderline students Where institutional audit reports have noted that institutions are operating multiple sets of assessment and classification arrangements, they have generally tended to recommend measures to reduce the number of such arrangements, with a clear preference that institutions adopt frameworks, or a single framework, within which classification decisions can be taken more consistently and fairly. (QAA 2006, p. 10) The use of discretion is fatally flawed since it can rarely be supported on academic grounds, is based on the judgemental values of those people who are on a particular board, is likely to be inconsistent across an institution and hence is often blatantly unfair to some students. (Hayden and Caine 1997, p.149)

7 The Extenuating Circumstances Regulations Consistency in: The ways in which students report possible Extenuating Circumstances; The operation of Extenuating Circumstances Groups in Schools; The ways in which Schools judge Extenuating Circumstances forms; The remedies that will be applied where students have had Extenuating Circumstances. External Examiners have said … “Once again I had some concerns about the way special circumstances were dealt with. At every institution I have had any dealing with before these are dealt with by a special committee quite separately from the exam board.” “There remains a need to clarify the process as to whether students should have mitigating circumstances accepted for assessments that they have not actually asked for … This risks inequitable treatment of students as it relies on someone present at the meeting being aware of their circumstances.”

8 The administrative processes that support result processing and Exam Boards A single source of programme information for students / staff; Streamlined processes for and within schools; Confidence in the ways in which standards are managed across the University; Consistency, reliability, and transparency. “The new award rules saved a lot of time in the Exam Board discussing matters which are no longer discretionary and I think this makes the system fairer and more transparent” (PHYSX) “The implementation of the new modular postgraduate (PGT) award rules has simplified the exam board process and reduced administration tasks that had previously been quite time consuming for our programme both pre and post exam board.” (MEDIC)

9 Transitional students Students who undertook assessments that contribute to classified outcomes prior to the approval of the new award rules will have their outcomes calculated using both the old and new rules. The student will be given the best outcome. Registry is working with schools to ensure that Examining Boards will have identified ‘transitional’ students in advance of Board meetings and undertaken the relevant calculations. Boards should not use discretion to determine the classification of borderline students (based on the final mark achieved under the old rules), but should apply the secondary rule included in Senate Regulations.

10 The operation of Boards Membership and Quoracy The role and duties of External Examiners Where the marks awarded to a cohort of students need to be changed Condonement Unfair Practice Reports from Extenuating Circumstances Groups The management of Quality and Standards

11 Membership and Quoracy The Chair; Staff to represent the modules being considered by the Board; External Examiners – where modules that contribute to the final award are being considered; Chair of the Extenuating Circumstances Group or nominee; A named Convenor who shall be a member of University staff. Examining Boards shall be quorate and able to make recommendations when the Chair is satisfied that an appropriate spokesperson for each module is present. This applies to all boards (i.e. including resit boards).

12 Role and Duties of External Examiners External Examiners should seek to ensure that Assessments: – are appropriate to the level of study; – enable learners to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes; – cover the subject content appropriately; and – are accessible and fair, so that all learners have equal opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. External Examiners may ask the Board to review the marks of whole cohorts or of individual Assessments; External Examiners should not be invited to resolve disputes between internal examiners or markers; External Examiners should not be invited to make recommendations on, or change the marks of, individual students or of individual Assessments.

13 Where the marks awarded to a cohort of students need to be changed When defects or irregularities in the conduct of the examinations (e.g. error on a question paper) are identified; When the External Examiners determine that the marking is out-of-line with expected standards; In disciplines where ‘scaling’ is used as part of the agreed assessment strategy.

14 Condonement Credit shall be awarded: – when a module mark is within 5% of the pass mark AND – the module(s) is being assessed as a first attempt; AND – the student has failed no more than credits than specified in Senate Regulations; AND – the student's stage mark is at least 45% (UG) or 55% (PGT); AND – the module is NOT a Required Module; AND – in the case of a Module where a qualifying mark is required for one or more Assessment components, where the qualifying mark has been achieved. In such circumstances, the Module Mark shall not be changed and the mark achieved shall be used, in calculating award classifications. Examining Boards shall NOT change the marks achieved by an individual student.

15 Classification Modular Undergraduate Programmes Regulations: “For the purpose of classification, all Modules pursued at Level 5 and Level 6 and, where appropriate, Level 7 will be combined according to the weighting adopted [for the award]”. In practice, this will mean that, where a student takes more than 120 credits in a contributing level (whether or not these are taken in a single academic year), that the outcomes achieved in all of these modules will contribute to a student’s final mark, and thus their degree classification.

16 Unfair Practice Where an allegation of unfair practice is being considered, progression is deferred and no marks are finalised (the chair should confirm the code of UP); Schools can release provisional marks to students to enable them to attend re-sit exams; When the decision and any penalty relating to unfair practice has been confirmed, the Board should confirm the student’s mark without revisiting the case.

17 Reports from Extenuating Circumstances Groups To report Extenuating Circumstances cases that have already been remedied (e.g. through Extension / Supplementary Assessments; To note the number of requests NOT accepted by the Extenuating Circumstances Group; To note modules passed but impacted by Extenuating Circumstances that will be carried forward to the Final Year Board; Where (and why) students will have a choice to resit; The operation of ‘discounting’ in Final Year Boards.

18 Module Grade Assessment grade Outcome PX At least one BStudent has choice to resit assessment(s) affected by Extenuating Circumstances relating to protected characteristics. A report will identify these. PX At least one A where the assessment has been passed Student to be awarded credit, but module potentially eligible for discounting at classification stage PX At least one A where the assessment has been failed Student has choice to resit failed assessment(s) affected by Extenuating Circumstances Recording decisions at Examining Boards

19 Where Boards permit a choice Follow this process where the Board gives students a choice (for example where the student’s protected characteristics link to their extenuating circumstances): – The Board confirms progression or award; – Students are contacted to be given the option of re-sitting; – Where students decide to resit, the Chair completes and signs a ‘Change of Result’ form; – If the student decides to re-sit within 2 weeks, the award should not have been confirmed; – If the student decides to re-sit after the award has been confirmed, it will need to be ‘rescinded’ via the Awards and Progress Committee.

20 Extenuating Circumstances (discounting) SIMS will calculate both: – A student’s final mark with no discounting; and – A student’s final mark with the lowest module marks (up to 1/6 of the contributing credit) discounted; i.e. with the marks of modules impacted by extenuating circumstances removed from the calculation. SIMS will choose the best out of the two marks and will use this to give the provisional classification of the student’s award.

21 Manual discounting Use the flow chart to help make manual discounting decisions Boards may wish to consider checking whether SIMS has calculated the best possible outcome for the student where classifications could be affected. The outcome may be different if: – students have modules impacted by extenuating circumstances in different years (given these will have different weightings); – where the results of the eligible modules for discounting include some results above the student’s final mark.

22 The below grid can help the board to decide whether the best outcome for the student has been given 40:60 weightingYear contributes 40%Year contributes 60% Module creditsFor each 10 marksFinal mark changes by: 1010 marks marks marks marks :70 weightingYear contributes 30%Year contributes 70% Module creditsFor each 10 marksFinal mark changes by: 1010 marks marks marks marks

23 Support, testing, and training Schools can test their progression and award rules data and Business Objects reports In April a test system will be available for Schools to calculate awards using the new rules and run exam board reports; 6 schools (BIOSI, CLAWS, ENCAP, ENGIN, HCARE, and MATHS) will work with Student Records to test the rules in first two weeks of April; Other schools wishing to undertake testing should put test data in by mid-April and contact Student Records to discuss running tests; Schools will be provided with Business Objects reports showing their test students; Support sessions for school administrators will be held in late-April. Reminder - Modules from previous years impacted by Extenuating Circumstances (i.e. those that need PX grades) should be sent to Student Records as soon as possible;

24 The management of Quality and Standards By using the exam board reports contained in the ‘Assessment Matters – University Exam Board Reports’ folder within Business Objects; By reviewing the statistical information that Boards will receive to support this part of their role; By receiving input from the External Examiner(s); By reviewing quality and standards matters related to Programme(s) of Study; By feeding proposed enhancements into the Annual Review and Enhancement (ARE) process; There is NO need to pass the minutes from Boards to Registry.

25 Reports As well as reports on student achievements there will be a report to help you look at data over the past 5 years at programme level.

26 Key Points related to your role as Chair of a Board Confirm that the Board is able to undertake its business; Disregard ongoing unfair practice cases; Manage reports of Extenuating Circumstances in accordance with Senate Assessment Regulations; Confirm progression, awards, and re-assessment opportunities; Use the opportunity to consider quality and standards matters offered through external representation at Boards; Confirm, then sign, the final annotated report (for return to Registry).

27 Post Board Activities Schools return Exam Board reports to Registry with any annotations; – Hard copy of Exam board report signed by the Chair of the Exam Board; – Awards and Progress Committee Pro-forma; – Examining Board checklist; – External Examiner Report Form (Master’s Degree (Dissertation) Stage) Schools should retain the minutes from Examining Boards for (at least) ten years

28 Release of results Students will receive an telling them their results are available to view via SIMS Online. Graduates will receive their certificates from August onwards.

29 Support and Advice A senior member of Registry staff from can attend pre-meetings, and/or advise the Chair and Convenor before the meeting on individual student cases where advice and guidance would be helpful; A senior member of Registry staff from can attend Examining Boards on request to advise on particular issues; A training and consultation session for School staff who input and transfer assessment results will be held to ensure familiarity with the procedures and timescales that need to be followed; A telephone ‘Helpline’ service [ext ] during the assessment period for regulatory guidance and support.

30 Discussion / Questions


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