Glossary of assessment terms

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Academic Calendar

This gives the dates for assessment activities for standard undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Some courses may not conform to the University Standard Academic Calendars but calendars will be set which will facilitate choice of modules and/or transfer between awards or routes, as appropriate.

Alternative assessment

This would be set where it is not appropriate for your reassessment task to be by the same form as the initial assessment. Alternative appropriate assessment arrangements would be set to assess the same learning outcomes as in the original method of assessment.

Assessment task

An assessment task is an individual piece of assessed work (e.g.an essay, an examination, a presentation). A collection of related, small assessment sub-tasks e.g. a collection of phase tests or experiments can form a single assessment task.

Assessment tasks within a module marked by percentage may have different weightings; the weightings refer to the relative contribution the individual assessment tasks make towards the overall module mark. These are normally expressed as a percentage e.g. a coursework essay may count for 30% of the whole module mark and an exam for 70% of the module mark.

There may be a requirement for one or more assessment tasks to be passed at a minimum pass mark, if the module is designed in this way. If you have to pass an assessment task in addition to achieving an overall minimum pass mark this will be published in your module documentation.

Availability of a retaken module

The definition of availability of a module is where

  • the module is being delivered in the next academic year
  • there are places on the module
  • there are no timetabling clashes

If there are no places available on a module you may wait to take the next available opportunity but this will lead to a delay in completing your course. Alternatively, if the module is core, you may renegotiate transfer to a different course if this can be accommodated, or if the module is an elective you may substitute it for another elective, once only.

Award of credit

Each module has credit attached. Credit is not a grade but is awarded where you achieve or exceed the minimum pass criteria for a module, or you receive a compensated pass. One credit point represents the typical outcome of 10 notional hours of study.


Break in study

If circumstances prevent you from continuing your studies on a temporary basis you need to discuss this as soon as possible with appropriate staff in your Faculty (e.g. portfolio manager, course leader, student support officer, academic advisor) so that the correct procedures are followed. Further details can be found in the Extenuating Circumstance Policy.


Calculation of module marks

A module is made up of one or more assessment tasks. Where there is more than one assessment task, weightings and rules for passing the module will be defined. For example, one or more assessment task(s) may have specific pass criteria attached, which need to be met in addition to the overall module pass criteria. The weighting of an assessment task is expressed as a percentage e.g. a coursework essay may count for 30% of the whole module mark and an exam for 70% of the whole module mark. Module marks are calculated using whole marks at task level.

Capping

This is where the mark recorded for the assessment task or module as a whole will not exceed the minimum pass mark specified. Capping an assessment task applies in cases of in-module retrieval, referral in a module, for retakes or as a result of an academic conduct sanction.

Charging for retakes

Your Faculty will advise you on the charging policy for retakes.

Credit

Each module successfully completed earns you academic credit at a designated level which is accumulated towards a specific award. Credit is awarded in recognition of the verified achievement of designated learning outcomes at a specified level. One credit point represented the typical outcome of 10 notional hours of study.

Compensated pass

This is where you have achieved the profile for progression or award and credit is awarded for modules where the minimum pass mark has not been achieved, within specified limits. Marks are not changed.

Continuing

This is when you move to the next academic year prior to completing your current level of study. This may also include transfer to another course on the same level.

Continued reassessment modules

At the reassessment board if you have not had all the normal opportunities for first sit, referral and/or deferral, because of extenuating circumstances accepted by the University, then you are considered to have 'continued reassessment'.

Core and elective modules

A course is made up of modules that together make up a named award for which you are enrolled. Most courses will include:

  • core modules: must to be studied and credit awarded for the named award
  • elective modules: are choice(s) made by the student

Course

A course comprises modules that collectively make up a named award for which you are enrolled. Most courses will include core and elective modules.

Credit loading

The amount of credit a student is permitted to take in one academic year.


Deferral

This is where extenuating circumstances have been accepted by the University and you will be permitted to take the assessment task that was affected by the circumstances again because you have not achieved the minimum overall pass criteria in the module.

Departmental Assessment Board

Awards of the University are formally conferred by the University Academic Board. Academic Board has delegated to Departmental Assessment Boards, acting on its behalf, the conferment of awards and credit on individual students, subject to University regulations and policies and course specific requirements. The purpose of a Departmental Assessment Board is to provide accurate results to students who are:

  • progressing to the next level of study
  • continuing to the next academic year on the same level of study
  • achieving an award.

European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer Scheme facilitates credit transfer between European universities, i.e. the transfer of credit achieved at one institution towards an appropriate award at another, subject to the approval of the receiving University.

Excluded/Exclusion

Exclusion from your course could be a sanction set following consideration of a case under the following regulations: Disciplinary Regulations, Fitness to Practise Regulations, Academic Conduct Regulation, Regulation: Withdrawal due to Incapacity to Study. Exclusion could also be applied if you are in debt to the University.

Exclusion means that any further application for study at the University will be considered in accordance with the University Admissions Policy.

Expelled/Expulsion

Expulsion from the University could be a sanction set following consideration of a case under the following regulations: Disciplinary Regulations, Fitness to Practice Regulations.

Expulsion means that no further application for study at the University will be considered.

Extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are factors which adversely affect academic performance, and which are over and above the normal difficulties experienced in life. Examples include a sudden, severe illness (confirmed by medical certificate) preventing attendance at an examination, or adversely affecting performance at an examination, or preventing work from being submitted by the deadline set. See shuspace for the procedures for the submission of extenuating circumstances and how the University deals with extenuating circumstances submissions.


Fail

This is where you do not meet the minimum overall pass criteria for the module after taking your reassessment.


Grades

This is where a module is marked using pass/fail grades.


In-module retrieval

If in-module retrieval is available in a module it will be published in your module information and will usually involve a rework of an assessment task following feedback on the initial attempt and within a specified period.

If this is available, you can choose to rework the assessment task if you initially achieve below the minimum pass mark. The mark for the reworked task is capped at the minimum pass mark or capped to the required higher minimum pass mark, if this has been specified, e.g. to meet PSRB requirements). If you rework the assessment task and your mark is lower than your original mark, then the original mark will stand. This mark will be used (with the other assessment tasks) to calculate the overall module mark.

You will need to check your module documentation on the availability of in-module retrieval, minimum pass criteria and weighting of assessment tasks or consult your Faculty before deciding whether to retake an assessment task.

Intermediate awards

An intermediate award is only given if you formally end your course or fail the course at an intermediate point. It is not given at the end of each stage (e.g. Certificate of Higher Education/Diploma of Higher Education) as you progress through the course.


Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are an expression of what will be taught and you are expected to learn. These are related to assessment and intended, measurable achievement. To receive an award you must achieve or exceed the learning outcomes for your course. To receive credit for standalone modules, it is only necessary to achieve module learning outcomes.

Levels of study

The levels of study are:

  • 3 (preparatory year for extended degree programme)
  • 4 (first year undergraduate)
  • 5 (second year undergraduate)
  • 6 (final year undergraduate)
  • 7 (postgraduate)
  • 8 (doctoral)

Marks

This is where a module is numerically marked, usually indicated as a percentage.

Mixed level study

This is where a student takes modules from more than one level of study in one academic year.

Module

A module is made up of teaching and learning activities, and one or more assessment tasks, which may have different weightings and rules. Successful completion of a module means that credit will be awarded at the specified level and in the specified amount e.g. 20 credits.


Nominal credit modules (1 credit modules)

Modules which assess requirements specific to the achievement of an award, e.g. placement requirements, attendance requirements.

Normal duration of course

If you are a full-time honours undergraduate student the normal duration of a course is three years (not counting any major sandwich placements) and you would usually take modules to a value of 120 credits in one year.

If you are a part-time honours undergraduate student the normal duration of a course is up to six years and you may be able to negotiate the amount of credit taken per year, but typically this would usually be less than 90 credits per year. In some circumstances a part-time student can take more than 90 credits where the course does not conform to the University's Standard Academic Calendar and is delivered throughout the year.

If you take more than 90 credits in any academic year you would normally be classified as full-time.

Normal/normally

Where the word "normal" or "normally" is used in these regulations, this describes the usual position, context or outcome.


Passing a module

Where a module is marked using a percentage mark, a module is passed when the minimum module pass mark is achieved, (or a different overall mark specified by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body), with, if applicable, the achievement of a minimum specified mark in an assessment task(s). Where a module is marked using pass/fail grades, a module is passed when an overall pass grade is achieved.

Pre-requisite module

A pre-requisite module must be studied, but need not be passed, before enrolment on a related module. If it is essential for the module to be passed to meet this requirement, this will be stated in course documents.

Progression

This is when you meet the progression rules and can move to the next level of study.

PSRB (Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies)

Some courses (for example, teacher training, some health courses, some accountancy courses), have PSRB rules where exemptions to the University's Standard Assessment Regulations have been approved For example some PSRBs do not allow retakes following failure of a module. If courses have exemptions agreed due to PSRB rules these will be specified in course and module information. PSRB accreditation is an umbrella term used to describe the approval of the University’s programmes and modules for the purpose of PSRB recognition. In many cases, PSRB accreditation may lead to a right to practise a profession, achieve exemption from professional examinations and/or membership of a professional body.


Reassessment

If you do not pass an assessment task or module at the first attempt, then there are various opportunities to improve your mark. These are in-module retrieval of a single assessment task (where available), deferral in one or more assessment tasks (if you have extenuating circumstances accepted by the University) and referral in an overall module.

Replacement module

Where a module is no longer available (e.g. there has been a modification to the course or the course has been revalidated), it may be possible for a replacement module to be taken which assesses broadly similar learning outcomes. The replacement module will be treated as a retake and will be subject to all regulations relating to retake modules. Where it is not possible to identify a replacement module your programme will need to be renegotiated and your Faculty staff will provide advice, information and guidance on this.

Referral in a module

This is where you do not achieve a minimum module pass mark (or other specified pass mark) in the module or achieve a pass grade. You will be entitled to one reassessment opportunity after the module is completed.

Retake

Where a module is failed, you can retake the module on one occasion only. Retake means that all the assessment in the module is taken again with full attendance. No marks from previous registrations are carried forward. The overall module mark is capped at the minimum module pass mark. This applies to core and elective modules.

Retakes of failed modules during sandwich placements

Students on sandwich placements can retake a maximum of 20 credits failed module(s), if they wish to do so and provided this can be accommodated, e.g. that the placement provider gives permission for the student to be released for study and assessment, or that the module is available by distance learning or evening study. Not all students will be able or will want to retake failed modules during placement, but you must achieve the profile for progression before you can undertake the next level of study.

Other conditions of retakes for full-time and sandwich awards will still apply, e.g. that it is subject to availability, the overall module mark is capped at the minimum module pass mark, and a retake fee may be required in addition to the sandwich placement fee.

RPL

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the generic term used for the award of credit on the basis of demonstrated learning that has occurred at some time in the past. The term encompasses the recognition of prior certificated learning (known as RPCL) and the recognition of prior experiential learning (known as RPEL).

RPCL

The recognition of prior certificated learning (RPCL) is where academic credit for learning that has been previously assessed and/or accredited at higher education level, through a formal course of study, may be used towards the credit requirements of a Sheffield Hallam University award. This is also sometimes known as credit transfer. Evidence to support a claim for prior certificated learning will involve a formal qualification or award or part of an award, with formal documentation such as a results transcript or formal certificate and/or evidence of assessment, as appropriate, from a university, college or professional body.

RPEL

The recognition of prior experiential learning (RPEL) is where an individual’s prior learning, gained from experience rather than formally assessed study, may be assessed and formally recognised to provide academic credit towards a target award.


Standard course provision

This is where the course follows a standard pattern of delivery and operates in accordance with the University's Standard Academic Calendar. Courses which operate outside the Standard Academic Calendar (e.g. some postgraduate courses) have their own calendars for delivery which are included in course documents.


With/without attendance

Studying a module with attendance means that you are expected to participate fully in all learning, teaching and assessment activities. Normally the University will permit you to take reassessments without attendance. This means you take the next available assessment opportunity, and you do not need to participate in associated learning and teaching activities. Exceptionally you may be required to take reassessments with attendance, for example if you have missed a lot of teaching because of illness.

Withdrawal from your course

If circumstances prevent you from continuing your studies on a permanent basis you need to discuss this as soon as possible with appropriate staff in your Faculty (e.g. portfolio manager, course leader, student support officer, academic advisor) so that the correct procedures are followed. As outlined in Regulation 10 of the Standard Assessment Regulations, the University may also deem you to have withdrawn from the course should you fail to adequately engage with your studies. You will also be withdrawn if you have failed modules which prevents you from continuing on the course. Any further application for study at the University will be considered in accordance with the University Admissions Policy.

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