Assessment and Feedback
Throughout your course you complete assessments to show what you have learned – this could be related to your subject knowledge, specialised skills or transferable key skills like communication and team work. To help you develop your knowledge, skills and understanding, you will receive feedback from your tutors on where you are performing well and the areas you may need to develop further.
Each of your modules will have “intended learning outcomes” that set out what you will be able to do as a result of what you have learned during the module. To pass a module, you will need to demonstrate you have met these intended learning outcomes. The assessments you take will clearly indicate how you will be assessed against the learning outcomes.
During your studies, you will have a range of different types of assessments and these may include:
- Written examinations
- Projects and portfolios
- Laboratory assessments and reports
- Practical assessments
- Oral tests
- Group work
- Fieldwork reports
Assessment and Feedback Policy
The University has an Assessment and Feedback Policy which is available here Assessment and Feedback Policy.
Assessments are normally submitted online through Blackboard. Instructions for submitting work are available here: http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/help/esubmission
Exceptionally, due to the nature of the assessment, you may need to submit your work offline. Your assessment brief will explain you what method you must use to submit your work for assessment. If you are in any doubt about the requirements for assessment submission, you should consult your module leader.
Whether online or offline, it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct version of your work is submitted successfully. The deadline for any assessment submission is 16:00 (UK time) on the specified day.
If you have submitted the wrong piece of work, you can contact the Digital Skills team on 0161 295 2444. They can remove your submission allowing you to submit again. If you then submit after the deadline, the late penalty will apply.
Once the 7 day late submission period has passed, you cannot change your submission.
You should take particular care to ensure that you do not upload the final version of your assessment into a draft submission folder. If you discover, after the submission deadline, that an assessment has been submitted to an incorrect Blackboard or Turnitin folder, you may contact the Module Leader to request that your submission is marked, as long as this occurs prior to the meeting of the Module Board of Examiners which formally ratifies module marks.
You should always aim to submit your assessments by the deadline but any work submitted after 16:00 (UK time) on the deadline day will be considered to be one day late.
But if you do submit work late, there is a period of seven consecutive days – the “late submission period” – when you can submit your assessment but it will be subject to a penalty. For example, if your submission date is 20 November, the late submission period will end on 27 November. If work submitted late is of pass standard, your mark will be capped at the minimum pass mark (40% for undergraduates and 50% for postgraduates).
If work submitted late is not awarded a pass mark, then no penalties are applied. Once the seven day late submission period has ended, you cannot submit your assessment and it will be recorded as a non-submission.
If you had good reasons for submitting work late, you can make a claim for Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC). If your PMC is accepted, your late submission penalties will be removed. Further information on Personal Mitigating Circumstances can be found here: https://www.salford.ac.uk/askus/academic-support/pmc
Late submission arrangements do not apply to examinations or similar scheduled and timed assessments such as presentations or performances.
If you are a disabled student and you have an extension to your assessment deadline recommended in your Reasonable Adjustment Plan, you will be entitled to use this if you need it. If you are struggling to meet a deadline or to submit your work within an extended deadline if you have one, and this is for disability-related reasons, please contact askUS Disability & Learner Support (the details for which can be found at the following link: https://www.salford.ac.uk/askus/our-services/disability-and-learner-support/contact-for-disability-support), at least four days before your work is due. An adviser will discuss your options.
Extensions to deadlines for students with a Reasonable Adjustment Plan do not apply to presentations or group work. Be aware that the use of extensions may impact upon the timely completion of your next assessment or revision period. You are advised to view your assessment schedule and plan to commence your assignment sooner, rather than to add time on to the end of the assessment.
If you need adjustments to the assessment process for disability-related reasons, you must arrange to have a Reasonable Adjustment Plan appointment with askUS Disability & Learner Support. Disability & Learner Support can also make examination and other arrangements for a temporary condition, such as a broken hand. Further information about askUS Disability & Learner Support are available here: https://www.salford.ac.uk/askus/our-services/disability-and-learner-support
The consequences of non-submission may be significant. If you do not submit a piece of assessment or do not attend a timetabled assessment such as an examination, you will fail that assessment.
If you have a good reason for not submitting work or not attending an assessment you should use the Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) Procedure to make a claim to have these circumstances taken into account. As a result you may be granted a replacement assessment opportunity. If you do not submit/attend an assessment in your final year, this may mean that you will not be able to attend the same graduation celebration as the rest of your cohort, even if you have an accepted PMC claim. Further information about Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) can be found here: https://www.salford.ac.uk/askus/academic-support/pmc
Many programmes will include written examinations and they normally take place during designated examination periods in January and May. Examinations can take place at other times of the year too, so you should refer to Blackboard module sites, the assessment schedule for your programme or relevant assessment briefs for further information. You will be provided with details of the times, dates and locations of your exams in advance of their date. Guidance on the rules for your exams is available here:
If you have a disability that means you need specific exam access arrangements, requests must be submitted before the dates specified in the guidance.
If you fail a module at the first attempt there may be different options for reassessment. Some students taking level 3 or 4 modules may be able to benefit from the in-year retrieval scheme. More details about this scheme are available here.
Not all programmes or modules are eligible for the In-Year Retrieval Scheme. Your assessment brief will advise you if this scheme is available to you.
If you have failed a module at the first attempt, you will normally be offered a second attempt at the assessment(s) you have failed. Check your module site or assessment brief for more information about resits. If, following this second attempt your marks improve sufficiently to pass all failed modules, you will be allowed to progress to the next level/stage of study or to graduate. Please note that the maximum module mark achievable at reassessment or in-year retrieval is normally the pass mark for component (40% for undergraduate programmes and 50% for postgraduate programmes).
If you do not manage to pass a module following the second attempt (excluding any in-year retrieval attempts), you will normally be offered a third and final attempt, called a ‘retake’. Retaking a module means starting the module again from scratch in the following academic year, attending teaching sessions and completing all the module’s assessments again, regardless of whether or not you passed them at the first or second attempt. You will also be required to pay the relevant fee for the module. The maximum module mark achievable at retake is the pass mark (40% for undergraduate programmes and 50% for postgraduate programmes). If you pass all the modules that you retake, you will be allowed either to proceed to the next level/stage of study or to graduate. If you do not pass a retake opportunity, you will not have the option of a further reassessment.
Where you have been permitted to retake a failed module, but the module is no longer offered by the University, you are entitled to substitute the module with another that is deemed to be suitable. If this happens, you should discuss this situation with your Programme Leader.
If you are studying on a Master’s programme and you fail a module which forms part or the whole of the final 60 credit stage you will be permitted one reassessment opportunity only and you will not be permitted to retake the module.
For more information about reassessment see the Academic Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.salford.ac.uk/qeo/regulations
Referencing your assessments properly is a requirement of the University and good practice in referencing reduces the risk of committing academic misconduct. Comprehensive guides to referencing at the University of Salford are available here:
The University uses a number of different safeguards to ensure that your assessments are marked fairly and consistently. All written examinations are marked anonymously.
All assessments are moderated internally. This means that a sample of marked work is checked by another member of staff to ensure that it has been assessed fairly and in accordance with the agreed criteria. In addition, independent External Examiners are appointed to every programme in the University. It is their responsibility to check that assessment processes are fair. They also sample assessed work to ensure that internal marking has been carried out fairly and consistently and is of an appropriate standard in line with national academic standards and expectations for that subject discipline.
All assessments are either awarded a mark or a pass/fail grade; where a mark is given, it is awarded in line with the University marking scale of 0-100%. The University marking scale below provides brief grade descriptors and Schools have developed subject-specific descriptors that align with the University descriptors.
For undergraduate programmes (levels 3, 4, 5 and 6) the pass mark is set at 40% and the marking scale is:
For postgraduate programmes (level 7) the pass mark is set at 50% and the marking scale is:
Your module marks are made official (‘ratified’) at meetings of the Module Assessment Board. The Programme Assessment Board makes decisions about students progressing from one academic level to the next and about students’ final awards and degree classifications. These meetings are attended by staff who teach on your programme and by External Examiners.
An undergraduate degree programme normally covers levels 4, 5, and 6. Each level consists of 120 credits. These are sub-divided into a number of modules. To progress from one level of study to the next, you must gain 120 credits at that level. On a full time programme, progression between levels takes place at the end of each academic year. In order to graduate with an honours degree on most programmes, you must accumulate 360 credits over the whole programme.
Some undergraduate programmes offer placements, typically at level 5, and this can mean that you need to accumulate more than 120 credits at that level and more than 360 credits overall. You can find details of credit requirements for your programme in your programme handbook.
If you are studying a postgraduate programme, you may be permitted to progress to the final project/dissertation stage of your programme with 90 credits from the 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma stage, depending on whether your missing 30 credits relates to a prerequisite module for the project stage.
Modules may include more than one component of assessment and your overall module mark is calculated from the component marks. Sometimes these assessments contribute equally to your overall module mark, sometimes one assessment is worth more than the other.
In some circumstances, a student may be awarded the credits for a module they have failed if they have gained sufficiently high marks in other modules at the same academic level. This is called compensation. Compensation is not available for all modules; your programme handbook will provide information about compensation on your programme.
The University’s Academic Regulations for Taught Programmes provides more information about academic progression and compensation:
- How is an undergraduate honours degree classification decided?
- Postgraduate Diplomas with Distinction or Merit
- Master's Degrees with Distinction or Merit
- Foundation Degrees with Distinction or Merit
- HNCs and HNDs with Distinction or Merit
How is an undergraduate honours degree classification decided?
Your final degree classification will normally be decided by calculating your programme mark from the weighted mean average of your best 100 credits’ worth of module marks at each of levels 5 and 6. The contribution from your level 5 marks is weighted at 25%, and your level 6 contribution is weighted at 75%. This will usually mean that the whole or a proportion of your lowest marked module at both levels (depending on the module size) will be excluded from the programme mark calculation. Your class of degree is determined by the programme mark as shown below:
1. For new students starting their programme of study in 2016/17 onwards, the following scheme applies:
2. For existing students who commenced their programme of study prior to 2016/17, the following scheme applies:
So if you commenced your programme of study after 2016/17 and had a profile of level 5/6 module marks as follows:
L5: 51 (20 credits), 67 (40 credits), 42 (40 credits), 53 (20 credits)
L6: 66 (20 credits), 40 (20 credits), 55 (40 credits), 57 (40 credits)
then the lowest level 5 mark of 42 for a 40 credit module is weighted as 20 credits in the contribution to the programme mark (to exclude 20 credits) and the lowest level 6 mark of 40 is excluded from the following programme mark calculation:
Programme mark = 25% x ((1020 + 2680 + 840 + 1060) ÷ 100)
+ 75% x ((1320 + 2200 + 2280) ÷ 100)
= 25% x 56 + 75% x 58
= 57.50% (lower second class Honours degree)
If you registered at the University for level 6 modules only (commonly referred to as a top-up degree), then your degree will be classified on all 120 level 6 credits.
Postgraduate Diplomas with Distinction or Merit
If you are eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma and achieve a programme mark of at least 70% you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma with distinction. If you have not been awarded a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction but you have achieved a programme mark of at least 60% you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma with Merit.
Master’s Degrees with Distinction or Merit
If you are taking a Master’s Degree and you achieve a programme mark of at least 70% and a project/dissertation stage mark of at least 70% you will be awarded a Master’s Degree with Distinction. If you have not been awarded a Master’s Degree with Distinction but you have achieved a programme mark of at least 60% and a project/dissertation stage mark of at least 60% you will be awarded a Master’s Degree with Merit.
Foundation Degrees with Distinction or Merit
Foundation Degrees, containing 120 credits at level 4 and 120 credits at level 5, are not classified in the same way as honours degrees but can be awarded with Distinction or Merit, depending on your overall programme mark derived from your best 100 credits’ worth of module marks in each of the two levels.
The University’s Academic Regulations for Taught Programmes provides more information about the calculation of your programme mark, particularly if your programme does not consist of a standard number of credits.
HNCs and HNDs with Distinction or Merit
HNCs and HNDs can be awarded with Distinction or Merit. The University’s Academic Regulations for Taught Programmes provides more information.
You are entitled to have feedback on all your assessments. This includes written, oral examinations, coursework assignments, performance and practical assessments. The purpose of the feedback is to enhance your learning and help you to improve.
Feedback on assessed work should be provided to you through Blackboard within 15 working days of the published submission deadline (i.e. normally three weeks, not counting days when the University is closed).
In the case of written examinations and larger pieces of assessed work feedback should, as a minimum, constitute an individual unratified (unconfirmed) mark or grade and an opportunity for you to view your annotated examination script/dissertation/project and/or electronic feedback sheet. An unratified (unconfirmed) mark is one which has yet to be confirmed by a Module Board of Examiners and could therefore be changed.
You should contact your School Office if you do not receive any feedback within the expected time.
If you are entitled to collect any pieces of assessment work from your School, it is your responsibility to ensure that you collect them at the time your School informs you they will be available. Student work will not be kept indefinitely.
Assessment is undertaken in line with processes described in the Assessment and Feedback Policy.
Each programme has an external examiner. The external examiner process is the main mechanism used by universities to demonstrate that academic standards in the UK are appropriate. External examiners are independent of the University and are drawn from academia and industry. They are also suitably qualified and experienced in the subject, or specialism within that subject, that they are appointed to examine. There is usually at least one external examiner appointed to a programme. For combined degrees, and those where professional body requirements need to be benchmarked, there may be more than one examiner looking at elements of your programme. Details of external examiners appointed to your programme can be found in your programme handbook or through your Programme Blackboard site.
External examiners play a role in the following:
- Approval of assessment briefs through the verification process. This process seeks to ensure that the assessment is appropriate, instructions to complete it are clear and the marking criteria to be used are suitable.
- Moderating samples of student work to ensure that marking has been undertaken correctly and consistently.
- In the case of assessments such as performances, external examiners may be in attendance.
- Ratifying module marks at the module exam board. Your marks are not confirmed until they have been through this process and may be subject to change until ratification has taken place.
- Confirming that University regulations are appropriately applied in relation to progression and award decisions which are made at the programme exam board.
- Writing an annual report to confirm that assessment processes are rigorous, have been conducted according to the University’s policies and procedures, and that standards are comparable with other UK institutions. They will also highlight areas of good practice and recommendations for improvements. These reports should be shared with you through Staff Student Committee meetings.
- Meeting students to determine the quality of the student experience. If you are required to meet with the external examiner you will be given clear guidance as to the scope and purpose of this meeting.
- Providing comments to programme teams throughout the year on proposed amendments to programmes and modules.