Validation and assessment

This page contains answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding specific guidance around validation and assessment.

On

Do I need to attend all classes?

Attendance to all classes and labs is highly recommended in order for students to succeed in their chosen language. Credited students or students in receipt of a fee waiver (DDP or LfA fee waiver) are required to attend 70% of classes and labs, which are outlined at the point of enrolment.

We expect a minimum 70% attendance from all of our students but we accept that there are occasionally unavoidable circumstance that prevent students from attending. However, in situations where unavoidable circumstances affect more than 30% of attendance, students should fill out an Extenuating Circumstance form.

Guidance on what constitutes an unavoidable absence can be found here under the Extenuating Circumstances information.


Is there an exam or coursework?

Summative assessment varies from module to module, but is typically made up of an oral exam, written exam, and coursework assignments. An outline of the summative assessment structure for your module may be found on our course information pages.

If you are taking an MLTC module for credits, successful completion of the summative assessment is one of the requirements in order to obtain credits for your course and to progress to the next year of your degree/graduate.

If you are taking the module on a not-for-credit basis, the summative assessment is optional. You will be asked in week 4 of the semester whether you wish to take the exams or not. The deadline for notifying us is 12noon on the Wednesday of week 5. Please note that: 

  • you will not be able to sign up for the exams after 12noon on the Wednesday of week 5. If you initially chose to be assessed and then decide not to attend the examinations, please inform your tutor so that they don't include you in the oral examination schedule
  • you can only be issued an MLTC Certificate of Completion if you completed the summative assessment
  • students who have been granted fee waivers under the Languages for All programme of the Doctoral Development Programme must submit the coursework assignments in order to remain eligible for future fee waivers. However, the oral and written exams are not compulsory and are not part of the future fee waiver criteria.

What are the validation and recognition options for my course?

The completion of an MLTC course can be validated in different ways depending on who you are and how much you achieve. The table below summarizes the different schemes and the minimum validation criteria to be met.

Scheme Available to Attendance (70% minimum) Formative assessment Independent Study Record Summative assessment
Modularised Accreditation Credited UGs & PGs Yes No Yes Yes
Doctoral Development Programme
Research Training Programme
PhD students Yes Yes Yes No
Higher Education Achievement Report Non-credited UGs Yes Yes Yes No
Languages for All fee-waiver (Continuation criteria)
(PDF, 400KB)
Eligible non-credited UGs Yes Yes Yes No
MLTC Certificate of Completion All learners Yes No Yes Yes
MLTC Certificate of Attendance All learners Yes No No No

Are MLTC courses eligible for HEAR recognition?

Yes. If you started your undergraduate studies in or after 2012 and are not taking your MLTC course for credits, you can add this course to your HEAR as an extra-curricular activity.

In order to get your language module added to your HEAR, you will need to apply online by the end of Week 12 of the semester during which you took the course. We will not be able to add the module to your HEAR past this deadline.


Can I get an MLTC certificate?

An MLTC Certificate of Attendance is available to all students who attend a minimum of 70% of classes and labs. It indicates the level of the course in relation to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and states that you attended the course regularly

An MLTC Certificate of Completion is available to all students who take the MLTC exams. It indicates the level of the course in relation to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and states what your final module mark was.

Certificates are automatically issued to eligible students after exam marks have been formally released.


What is a summative assessment?

Summative assessment is any activity that contributes to your final mark for a module or course. This typically includes formal examinations taken at the end of the semester and, for some modules, a piece of coursework done at home or an in-class test during the semester. An outline of the summative assessment structure for your module may be found on our course information pages.

Sample examination papers are provided on MOLE if appropriate and/or practice tests are done in class in order to give you an idea of the format and standard of the assessment for your course.

In order to pass a module, you will need to achieve a final mark in the summative assessment of at least 40% for undergraduate students and 50% for postgraduate students.


What is formative assessment?

Formative assessment can be broadly understood as any activity enabling your tutor and yourself to monitor your progress and guide you in your learning. However, the term is understood here in a narrower sense as meaning two pieces of written 'essential homework' which you will submit during the course of the semester and for which you will receive a grade on a 100 point scale and individual as well as collective feedback.*

Completing the formative assessment successfully is a requirement in order to validate your module as part of the DDP, RTP, HEAR and Languages for All fee-waiver schemes.

Please note that these pieces of 'essential homework' must be word-processed and submitted in class by the deadline set by the course tutor.

In many modules, the second piece of 'essential homework' is part of the summative assessment for credited students and other students wishing to be formally assessed. If this is your case and you missed the in-class submission deadline, you will need to submit your work to the MLTC Office (Bioincubator). As penalties (see Late submission penalties below) apply for late submission, you will need to apply for extenuating circumstances if you had a valid reason for submitting your work late.

* For Latin modules, the second piece of 'essential homework' is replaced by an in-class test.


What is the Independent Study Record?

The Independent Study Record (ISR) is a portfolio evidencing part of the independent work that you will have done during the semester in relation to topics covered in class. Details on the content of the ISR, including submission procedure and deadlines are provided on MOLE (My Online Learning Environment).

Although the ISR is not marked, your final mark for the module will be capped if you submit your ISR late and/or if your ISR work is not deemed fully satisfactory. The lowest of the following capping marks will be applied, depending on whether you are taking the module as an undergraduate or postgraduate student:

Lateness mark caps

Submission time Undergraduate student Postgraduate student
 On time N/A N/A
1 day late 60 60
2 days late 55 57.5
3 days late 50 55
4 days late 45 52.5
5 days late 40 50
Not submitted 40 50

Quality mark caps

Quality Undergraduate student Postgraduate student
Satisfactory N/A N/A
Not fully satisfactory 50 55
Unsatisfactory 40 50

Examples:

  • If you are an undergraduate student, and your ISR is submitted two days late and 'not fully satisfactory', your final module mark will be capped at 50, ie you will not receive a mark higher than 50 for the module, even if you performed higher than 50 in the rest of the summative assessment.
  • If you are a postgraduate student, and your ISR is 'satisfactory' but submitted 2 days late, your final module mark will be capped at 57.5.

Notes:

  • Completion is deemed ‘not fully satisfactory’ when:
    • An element or task is not fully complete;
    • The choice of material is not fully appropriate in relation to the course level and guidelines (eg the material is a bit too easy for the level and does not enable you to learn many new things; the material is not fully related to the topic or task set by the tutor; the material is text-based when it should be audio-based, etc.).
  • Completion is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ when:
    • An element or task is missing or largely incomplete;
    • The choice of material is blatantly inappropriate in relation to the course level and guidelines (eg the material is far too easy for the level and does not enable you to learn anything new; the material is not related to the topic or task set by the tutor; the material is text-based when it should be audio-based, etc.)

Do you have any advice on preparing for my exams?

The University's Student Communications Team have created a video for students, Your Exam Dos and Don'ts.

The video has been produced in partnership with the Student Examinations Team, based in Student Services.

It features some of our staff and students and is designed to inform all students about University exam rules and regulations, so that you don't unwittingly contravene them and put your education at risk.

You can find the video on Vimeo.


When do oral exams take place?

Please note that oral examinations are scheduled to take place in week 12. For Beginners, Post-Beginners and Intermediate modules (except Latin), these will be conducted during what would normally be your lab hour. Main classes will take place as normal.

Students who are taking the exam must attend the oral exam during their usual lab hour in week 12. You cannot change your lab hour for week 12 unless you have a valid and fully-evidenced reason which would qualify as extenuating circumstances. Please also note the following:

  • The University's semester dates are posted on the website up to 5 years in advance and students are expected to attend all classes until the end of week 12. The MLTC cannot consider travel booked for before the end of the semester to be extenuating circumstances.
  • MLTC's specific teaching and assessment dates are posted on our timetable page from September onwards.
  • Students who fail to show up for their designated slot for the oral exam will receive a mark of 0 for the oral component of the module.
  • The MLTC is unable to accommodate students who wish to arrange to take oral exams outside week 12.
  • If illness or other genuinely extenuating circumstances prevent students from attending the oral exam, they should submit an extenuating circumstances form which we will consider when finalising module results in January.

Where can I find the dates and venues of my exams?

Dates and venues of oral examinations taking place during the teaching period will be published on Mole or emailed to you by your tutor at least two weeks before they take place.

Written examinations are organized by the University's central Examination Office and take place during the University's standard examination period at different times from your normal classes. Dates and venues are usually published one month before the start of the examination period by the Examination Office. Please note that it is your responsibility to check the times of your exams and to report any clash between two of your exams to the Examination Office before they take place.


How will I be marked? When will I get my marks?

  • Marking criteria for each examination are available on Mole. All assessed work will be given a grade on a 100 point scale.
  • A system of anonymous marking is used wherever possible. Marks awarded by the first examiner are moderated by a second internal examiner and then confirmed by an examiner external to the University of Sheffield.
  • Provisional marks will be published on Mole or emailed to you within two weeks of the end of the University examination period and later released centrally through MUSE. Please note that marks are not final until validated by the Progression Board, which usually takes place in June.

What are the penalties for late submission of an assignment?

In the absence of a valid reason approved by the department, late submission of an assessed piece of work will result in a deduction of 5% of the total mark awarded for each working day* after the submission date as per the table below. Beyond 5 working days after the submission date, a mark of zero will be awarded for the work to be submitted:

Late submission penalties

Day late Mark reduced by 5% (multiply by number below) Example reductions (original mark of 60)
1 0.95 60 > 57
2 0.9 60 > 54
3 0.85 60 > 51
4 0.8 60 > 48
5 0.75 60 > 45

* Working days includes working days within standard vacation times. For example, if a submission date falls on the last day before the start of the Easter vacation, penalties would start to be applied from the following working day and not from the first day following the vacation. For more information, see the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Regulations (PDF, 31 KB).


How can I avoid plagiarism and collusion?

To achieve good marks, it is important to write in an effective academic manner. You must also know how to avoid accidental plagiarism, collaboration or collusion.

You are advised to read the following tutorial, especially the section on plagiarism, and note that it also applies to online resources, including non-academic websites. Please also note that you will not be given credit for material that has been submitted for assessment elsewhere: this is considered 'self-plagiarism'.


Do I get a second chance if I miss or fail an exam?

If you are registered on a course for credits and missed an exam due to valid reasons outside your control, you will be entitled to sit the exam again provided that you apply for Extenuating Circumstances by the end of Week 12 of that semester for oral exams and by the end of the corresponding University examination period for written exams:

  • How to apply for extenuating circumstances.
  • If you miss an oral exam, it will be rescheduled in the first week of the University's standard examination period. The language coordinator will contact you to let you know when and where the exam is taking place.
  • If you miss a written exam, it will be rescheduled during the University supplementary reassessment period in August.

If you are registered on a course for credits and failed the module, you may be entitled to re-sit the entire module during the University supplementary reassessment period in August.

If you are not registered on a course for credits, please note that you are not entitled to re-sit the module if you failed the assessment, or one of the exams, even if you had a valid reason for missing the original exam.


How and when should I apply for self-certification or extenuating circumstances?

You should apply for self-certification or extenuating circumstances with the MLTC if:

  • attendance is part of the requirements for your course (eg credited, DDP or LfA-fee-waiver students) and your attendance fell below 70% as a result of justified absences;
  • a piece of assessment is part of the requirements for your course and you had a valid, medical or other reason for missing an examination or not submitting a piece of summative assignment on time

You should apply for the above by:

  • the end of Week 12 of the semester for attendance issues and assessment work done during the teaching period
  • the end of the University examination period for missed examinations taking place during that period.

Further information on when and how to apply for self-certification or extenuating circumstances is available on the SSiD website.

Please note:

  • Only submissions for extenuating circumstances which are appropriately supported by evidence (eg doctor's note) will be considered.
  • If you are submitting your extenuating circumstances form to your home department then please ensure you copy MLTC in your communication, or that it is submitted directly to MLTC, for us to make a decision for the 'MLT' module(s).
  • Your submission will be treated in confidence by the MLTC Special Circumstances Board.
  • Retrospective extension requests for pieces of Essential Homework/Independent Study Records will not be considered by the MLTC Special Circumstances Board. Requests must be made in advance of deadlines provided and supported by the submission of appropriate evidence.

A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.