Assessment Procedures (both exams and coursework)

Assessment Procedures

Every university department in the country has its own way to assess work and award degrees. To make sure that these is some consistency from year-to-year and between similar institutions, we have clearly defined procedures for assessment. These are briefly described here.


Module Leader: The member of academic staff that is responsible for delivering the module. Even when several academics are involved, one will be designated as the module leader.

Module Verifier: A different member of academic staff that checks the quality of the assessment.

External Examiner: An academic from another university who looks at the entire assessment process (including module content and individual assessments) to provide an independent check.

Examination board: This includes all the academics who teach in the department. The examination board has the responsibility of reviewing all the grades and has the authority to reject results. End-of-year board meetings are attended by the External Examiners.

Marks and grades: There is a difference between the marks given for assessed work (for example, answers to exam questions or coursework items) and the grade returned for a module. Marks describe how completely the requirements of the assessment have been met. These are awarded based on a mark scheme. A module grade is a number that describes an individual student’s performance when it is mapped onto the system used by the University to classify degrees.

Before you take an assessment

1. The Module Leader creates the assessment based on the module content and the Classification Descriptors used by the department.
2. The Module Verifier checks the assessment quality including the match with module content, difficulty, clarity of questions, timing, suitability of mark scheme and solutions.
3. For some assessments, particularly exam papers, the Module Leader and Verifier meet with a group of academics to review content and check for errors and ambiguities.
4. The assessment is sent to the External Examiner who may make suggestions or require changes.
5. The Module Leader approves the final version of the assessment.

After you have completed the assessment

6. The Module Leader ensures that the assessment is marked and compiled according to the agreed scheme.
7. The Module Verifier ensures that all work has been marked and that the marks are correctly transcribed.
8. The Module Leader sets the mapping between marks and module grades. This involves reviewing the difficulty of the assessment, the spread of marks achieved by the class, and the match between the work being assessed and the Classification Descriptors used by the department. The mapping (sometimes referred to as scaling) is recorded in a table that shows the marks that relate to the main grade boundaries. An individual student’s grade is then obtained using linear interpolation based on this table.
9. A team with delegated responsibility from the Examination Board reviews the distribution of grades for each module (average, numbers of firsts and fails). If a set of results appears abnormal, this team may propose a different mapping/scaling than that devised by the Module Leader. When this happens, the Module Leader can either accept the modification or prepare a detailed justification of their approach for acceptance or rejection by the Examination board and for review by External Examiners. Results judged abnormal might include the following:
a. An average outside the range 52-62 for a BEng/MEng core module
b. An average outside the range 56-66 for an MEng only module
c. More than 40% of results receiving a first class grade
d. More than 15% of results receiving a fail grade
10. All grades for all modules are reviewed at the Examination board meeting along with actions for specific students that relate to exceptional circumstances. (Note that the Examination board are not informed about the nature of the exceptional circumstances, simply the action that the special committee recommend).
11. Final recommendations from the Examinations board are reviewed by Faculty of Engineering staff who check that appropriate procedures have been followed and authorise results. Once this has been completed, grades will appear on your student record.