Course Quality

Feedback & Assessment Policy

Assessment at the Centre for Applied English Studies (CAES) is viewed as an integral part of teaching and learning. This document sets out CAES assessment[1] policy with the aim of supporting teaching and learning and promoting integrity in assessment.
This policy applies to all undergraduate courses of English enhancement offered and administered by CAES.
3.1. Assessment is standards-referenced.
Assessment is aligned to descriptions of performance called ‘standards’. Apart from ensuring appropriate standards of performance, standards enable students to understand the level of performance expected and allow them to set learning goals for themselves.
3.2. Assessments are based on the use of grade descriptors.
Grade descriptors, like standards, communicate what is valued in student responses to assessment tasks. Grade descriptors also promote consistency in standards when there are multiple markers.
3.3. Assessments are related to course learning outcomes.
Assessments are aligned with the course curriculum and, specifically, course learning outcomes. The assessments provide evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes.
3.4 Timely feedback is given on assessments 
Feedback is given on assessments to aid student learning in a timely manner. For assessment that is formative in nature, feedback is given within two weeks of assessment submission. Feedback may be given orally in class, or may take a written form (hand-written or electronic) and be given to students in a subsequent class, via email or posted on learning management software.
3.5 Assessment workload needs to be manageable for students and teachers
A clear policy with assessment workload expectations will be given to respective teachers and students at the beginning of courses.
3.6 Assessments allow for individual assessment of language ability
Group assessments, where the same grade is shared by all members of the group, are limited to a maximum of 30% of the final grade. Individual assessment of language ability constitutes a major part (> 70%) of the summative assessments of students at CAES.
3.7 Assessment aims / weighting / grade descriptors are made available to students from the start of the course
A description of each assessed task, its weighting and assessment criteria are available for students’ access either in course booklets or in learning management software. Students are informed of any changes in the descriptors at least 4 weeks prior to the submission deadline of assignments.
3.8 Assessment procedures ensure confidentiality
To ensure confidentiality, assessment procedures encapsulate the following:

a)          Assessment feedback and all grades must only be revealed to the student (or students, in the case of group work) they are directed to. Assessment feedback or grades may not be announced or posted publically.

b)          All documents containing assessment information which identifies individuals, whether in printed or electronic format, must be kept in a secure location while in the possession of staff.

c)          Assessment mark sheets and students scripts are destroyed at an early opportunity after the Board of Examiners (BoE) have released final grades to students.

d)          Assessment materials and information stored electronically are password protected.

To ensure consistency in assessments with more than one assessor, standardisation meetings are held and marking is frequently randomized and/or anonymized.
4.1 Standard setting
Standards for assessment are set by the course coordinator, in conjunction with the course team. Examples of student work are collected that demonstrate performance at each band level of the grade descriptor with reasons for the grades awarded recorded.
4.2 Holding standardisation meetings
Standardisation meetings are held which make clear to all markers the standards students need to reach for an A, B, C and D, and what the procedure is for problem scripts. These meetings ensure that markers are able to clarify their understanding of the standards and accurately apply those standards to assessed work. The course coordinator and/or course teams ensure that there is sufficient convergence of grading before allowing assessors to rate student assessments.
4.3 Review of grading
Course coordinators review grading in progress and all final grades across the cohort to ensure that grading standards are being accurately applied by all markers. If any irregularity is shown, coordinators meet with the marker. Assessments are re-marked if the assessor is found to be marking outside of the standards. Any failing assessment is double marked.
4.4 Use of randomized/anonymized marking in assessment
CAES uses randomized or anonymized marking where possible for summative assessments [2]. Students are either assigned to a marker randomly or the marking is anonymized so that the identity of the student is not known to the marker. Randomized and anonymized marking reduce the chance of bias as a result of previous knowledge of the student.
4.5 Scope of feedback
To support and enhance student learning, feedback is often given on work before it is submitted for assessment. All courses have a policy in the course booklets or on the learning management software stating the quantity and kind of feedback students can expect so that students are given a similar level of support in courses with more than one teacher.
5.1 Supplementary examinations
Following university regulations, students are offered a supplementary examination if they are unable to attend a scheduled examination on medical grounds.
5.2 Re-examination/reassessment
If students fail a course assessment or examination which results in a failure in the course, that student may be re-examined or reassessed, pending faculty approval [3].
Following university general regulations (111/511) “there shall be no appeal against the results of examinations and all other forms of assessment”. If students believe there has been a procedural irregularity or technical error in the determination of their assessment results, they can appeal in writing through their home faculty office. As a strict review process with regard to marking is adopted in CAES, appeal against the academic judgement of the examiners will not be entertained.
7.1 Definition of plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined as in the ‘regulations governing students’ academic conduct concerning assessment (29/1012 amended)’. “Direct copying of textual material or wilful use of other people’s data and ideas, and presenting them as one’s own without acknowledgement, whether or not such materials, data and ideas have been published”.
7.2 Penalties for plagiarism
Evidence of plagiarism on completed assessments will result in a zero mark for the assessed work and the most serious cases may also be considered for further disciplinary action.
7.3 Support for students in adopting better synthesis and citation
Where possible, students should be offered opportunities to formatively use plagiarism checking software to learn about the importance of good citation, referencing and paraphrasing.

[1] “Assessment” in this document is defined as any task given to students to complete which contributes to their final grade and includes examinations and continuous assessment of coursework.

[2] Where assessments are smaller than 30% of the course grade, standardization meetings and randomized/anonymized marking may not take place.

[3] Note that some faculties do not permit re-examination/reassessment of failed exams/assessments and require students to retake the course.