D1g: Assessment and Recommendations of Boards of Examiners

1.   Introduction

  • The purpose of assessment is to enable students to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the learning outcomes of a course and achieved the standard required for its associated award. All courses are subject to ORMS’ Regulations that relate assessment requirements to the course learning outcomes; it is on the basis of these requirements that the Examiners judge students’ performance.
  • The assessment should provide both an objective and a comprehensive measure of individual student achievement and relate it to the comparable national standard of awards.
  • External Examiners may be involved in all assessments contributing to a particular award; any assessment undertaken during a course that contributes to the award should be made available to the External Examiners.
  • Assessment should reflect overall student performance. While grades make a contribution, the final assessment should look beyond their mere computation.
  • The main purpose of Board of Examiners is to ensure the correct application of ORMS’ Regulations relating to assessment, progression and awards.

2.   Boards of Examiners – General

  • Boards of Examiners are established under the authority of the Board of Directors.
  • There shall be a Board of Examiners for every course leading to an academic award issued by ORMS.
  • Boards of Examiners will meet regularly throughout the year as a student cohort completes their studies. This enables students to apply to HCPC for registration more quickly than having to wait for a Board set once or twice a year.
  • Boards of Examiners are accountable to the Board of Directors and make recommendations to in respect of each student. Membership of Boards of Examiners includes the External Examiners appointed by the Board of Directors; refer to Regulation E3c: External Examiners.
  • The formal meeting of a Board of Examiners may be preceded by a meeting of a subsidiary Assessment Committee at which the External Examiner is not in attendance. The remit of such a Committee shall be to permit initial discussion of the pattern of results and hence facilitate discussion at the Board of Examiners with the intention of allowing it to ratify straightforward recommendations and to concentrate on exceptional cases.
  • At meetings of Boards of Examiners, formal voting shall not normally be used as a means of reaching decisions. Every effort shall be made to resolve disagreements, and to reach unanimous conclusions. If, despite this effort, disagreement between internal members of the Board cannot be resolved, the view of the External Examiner(s) shall prevail, unless: either
    • notwithstanding the view expressed by the External Examiner(s), the majority of the Board members present remain unprepared to accept the view of the External Examiner(s); or
    • there is a disagreement among the External Examiners which it has not been possible to resolve.
    • In the event of (i) or (ii) above, the Board of Examiners is required to refer the matter to the Board of Directors for a decision.
  • For candidates who gain entry with advanced standing as a result of a successful claim to have their prior learning recognised (RPL) the award classification will be based on the remaining non-exempt part.

3.   Assessment – ORMS’ responsibilities

  • In addition to the obligations prescribed in the Regulation C2: Student Conduct and Appeals, ORMS shall have the following responsibilities concerning the assessment process, as specified in paragraphs 3.2 – 3.7 of this Regulation.
  • ORMS shall normally offer two summative assessment opportunities, and normally no more than two, in respect of each assessment within each module in each academic session.
  • The Academic Director shall ensure that the approved assessment procedures are implemented by the Course/Programme Management Team, that regulations for each course within ORMS are approved by the Board of Directors and that students who are the subject of assessment are fully informed of all matters relating to their assessment.
  • The Academic Director shall ensure students are advised of the rules that govern assessment.
  • The Academic Director shall ensure a clear and concise explanation of the schedule of assessment for each module of study will be distributed to all students at the start of each module.
  • Where a course includes an element of advanced independent work undertaken by the student, the Course/Programme Management Team shall appoint one or more supervisors for each student of whom at least one shall be a member of staff of ORMS.
  • Where elements of assessment occur throughout a course, students should be advised of the quality of their work but should also be advised that grades remain provisional until ratified by the Board of Examiners.

4.   Assessment – Student Responsibilities

  • In addition to the obligations prescribed in the Regulation C2: Student Conduct and Appeals, the student shall have the following responsibilities concerning the assessment process, as specified in paragraphs 4.2 – 4.11 of this Regulation.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to keep the School informed of his/her current address, in particular so that information concerning assessment and reassessment may be received.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to attend examinations and to submit work for assessment as required. If a student fails to do so without good cause, the Examiners may deem the student to have failed the assessment(s) concerned.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that work is presented in a clear and comprehensible manner. Where an assessment submission is judged by the Boards of Examiners to be below a satisfactory standard of presentation, it may require the student to re-present the work in a prescribed form. A fee is normally payable, details of which can be obtained from ORMS’ Administration Department.
  • All students must bring their enrolment cards to examinations. The Senior Invigilator is not obliged to admit to the examination area a student who is not carrying his/her enrolment card, but shall have discretion to admit such a student.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the conditions that relate to particular examinations with regard to material that is legitimately available to the student during an examination. Students should also be aware of and avoid practices that will be deemed to constitute academic misconduct.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that ORMS is informed of any circumstances, such as illness or exceptional personal circumstances, which might have prevented him/her from undertaking an assessment or that might have adversely affected his/her performance in an assessment and which he/she wishes to be taken into account by the Assessment Board. The mechanism for notifying ORMS of such circumstances is through the completion of the D4a Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form. The D4a Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form should be accompanied by verifiable evidence and should be submitted to ORMS normally not later than five working days after the assessment. Failure on the part of the student to provide such information without good cause may be taken by the Assessment Board or the Student Appeals Panel as sufficient reason to dismiss an appeal (refer also Regulation D6: Academic Appeals Procedure).
  • In the circumstances where a student is unable, because of illness or for other good cause, to take a summative assessment on the date(s) and at the times and location specified, the Course Leader may authorise alternative arrangements. Such arrangements shall be made in consultation with the appropriate Academic Director and, in the case of illness, in consultation with an enrolled medical practitioner if appropriate. Where the assessment takes the form of an invigilated examination, the student may be required to bear the cost of the invigilation together with any other expenses incurred.
  • It is the responsibility of a student to present him/herself for oral examination where such examination is prescribed in the Course Specification or where the Assessment Board so requires.
  • It is the responsibility of a student who avails him/herself of an opportunity to satisfy the Assessment Board on a further occasion, to consult the Programme Leader offering the module(s) to ascertain whether there have been any changes in the syllabus for such module(s).
  • A student who, having exhausted all assessment opportunities, fails to satisfy the requirements for his/her progress shall normally be required to withdraw from the course.

5.   Assessment – Submission of Coursework

  • Coursework includes continuous assessment such as assignments, laboratory and project reports and any such exercises where specifications are given to students in advance for submission by a specified deadline. Coursework must be the exclusive work of the individual, unless clearly specified to be a group submission. Coursework should be submitted in the manner specified by ORMS for the assessment on or before the specified submission date/time. Further details regarding the submission of work can be found in ORMS’ D1d: Assessment Submission Policy
  • Penalties for late submission of coursework:
    • Coursework received after the specified date and time for submission shall only be accepted if there is a valid reason which has been accepted by the staff member issuing the coursework. Late coursework, accepted because of extenuating circumstances, shall be assessed in the normal way.
    • Coursework received late without valid reason shall not be accepted and shall receive no grade, and shall count as an assessment opportunity.

6.   Progression and Awards – General

  • A student shall be deemed to have passed a module if he/she meets the minimum specified grade for the piece of work or module. This varies depending on whether the work is a written or practical task.
  • A student shall normally pass all modules central to the objectives of the course at each progression point as specified by the Board of Directors and defined in the Course Specification at each stage of his/her course before being permitted to receive the appropriate award or to proceed to the subsequent stage of the course, except that:
    • the Assessment Board shall have discretion to exceptionally allow a student to proceed to the subsequent stage of his/her course carrying modules, normally amounting to no more than 15 credits and not designated as prerequisites for the subsequent stage of study;
    • for undergraduate courses a student who, after one or two assessment opportunities fails to satisfy the Assessment Board in a non-continuing elective module, may be permitted to proceed to the subsequent stage of his/her course taking a specified alternative elective module as a replacement. In such event the opportunities available to students to satisfy the Assessment Board shall be limited to those remaining from the original module.
  • A student who has satisfied the requirements for progression shall normally proceed immediately to the subsequent stage of the course. A student may be permitted to suspend his/her studies temporarily for a specified period of time (refer to D5: Interruption of Studies Policy).

7.   Assessment Boards – Recommendations

  • The Assessment Board shall determine in respect of each student that:
    • the final qualification be awarded; or
    • no award be made, and the student be permitted to proceed to the next stage of the course leading to the final qualification; or
    • no award be made, and the student may not be permitted to proceed to the next stage of the course leading to the final qualification; or
    • no award be made; or
  • Where the Board determines that the final qualification may not be awarded, or that the student may not be permitted to proceed to the next stage of the course the Board may permit the student to present him/herself for re-assessment in accordance with Section 8 of this Regulation, in which event the Board shall state the form of re-assessment.

8.   Re-Assessment

  • An entitlement to re-assessment shall be withheld only in exceptional circumstances and subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.
  • In permitting re-assessment, an Assessment Board shall specify which components of the assessment the student must undertake and when reassessment shall take place. For award-bearing stages, the Assessment Board, in consultation with the External Examiner, should approve, in advance, the means of re-assessment, including instances of re-submission of coursework.
  • A student may be required by the Assessment Board to repeat the whole or part of a course before being re-assessed. If so required, the modules of study that are to be undertaken by the student in the repeat stage shall be agreed by the Assessment Board. The Course Leader shall ensure that the subsequent attendance and performance of the student are monitored and assessed. Where the subsequent attendance is deemed to be unsatisfactory, the Assessment Board may recommend to the Board of Directors that permission for further re-attendance and re-assessment be withdrawn.
  • Re-attendance for a part or for the whole of a stage of a course shall not confer the right to an increased number of re-assessment opportunities.
  • ORMS is not obliged to provide for re-assessment in elements no longer included in a course curriculum. The Assessment Board may at its discretion, however, make such special arrangements as it considers appropriate in cases where it is impracticable for students to be re-assessed in the same elements and by the same methods as at the initial attempt.
  • The actual grade obtained for a re-assessed module, including the attempt at which this is achieved, shall be recorded on the student’s transcript. When a grade contributes to the determination of the classification or grading of an award, including the determination of Distinction or Merit, then for this purpose the re-assessed module shall be attributed the maximum of a threshold Pass. This applies to all progression, final and exit awards. Exceptionally, some other provision may be made where the circumstances have been specifically approved by Board of Directors.
  • Notwithstanding the general principle that re-assessment shall be permitted only in accordance with the decision of an Assessment Board, in the case of a component contributing towards summative assessment the Course Leader may exceptionally permit a student with a provisional fail grade to be re-assessed prior to the meeting of the Assessment Board. Any such opportunity shall be subject to the prior approval of the Chair or Deputy Chair of the Assessment Board. If the student undertakes such re-assessment it shall count as one of the reassessment opportunities for the purposes of this Regulation and shall be reported to the Assessment Board in the normal way.
  • Re-assessment opportunities shall be subject to the student completing the course within the normal maximum period specified.

9.   Valid Reasons for Poor Performance

  • Where an Assessment Board is satisfied that a student’s absence, failure to submit work or poor performance in all or in part of an assessment is the result of illness or other causes genuinely outwith the control of the student and which can be verified by reliable evidence, the Board may exercise discretion in deciding on a particular form of re-assessment designed to clarify whether or not the student has satisfied the course learning outcomes; alternatively, the Board may decide that sufficient evidence of achievement exists to support a recommendation for progress or award. In this event, the Board must ensure that the student is not put in a position of unfair advantage over other students; the prevailing concern must be to ensure that the student is assessed on equal terms with other students.
  • The forms of re-assessment available to an Assessment Board include viva voce examination, additional assessment tasks, normal assessment at the next assessment opportunity or re-assessment as for the initial assessment in all or any of the elements. Where an assessment affected by illness was itself a reassessment, the consequent re-assessment shall not count as an additional assessment opportunity.

10.         Condonement of Failure

  • An Assessment Board has discretion to condone a partial failure in the assessment for an award or for progression to the subsequent stage of a course. A Board is not required to condone failure and any such exercise of discretion shall have due regard to the overall performance of the student, the standard of the award and to any regulations specific to the course. For progression, condonement shall be limited to one module only. Normally, condonement is not permitted where the failure concerned a module which was central to the objectives of the course, as specified in the Course Specification.
  • Where a fail is condoned this shall be recorded as “condoned” on the student’s transcript, and the module’s RQF/QCF/SCQF credit points awarded.

11.         Viva Voce Examination

  • In addition to the assessments specified in the Course Specification, an Assessment Board shall have the authority to require a student to attend a viva voce examination. The viva voce examination may be used to determine difficult or borderline cases or as an alternative or additional assessment where valid reasons for poor performance have been established; it shall be used only to raise and not to lower the rating of a student’s assessment. The viva voce examination may be used also as a means of sampling across the range.

12.         Appeals Against a Decision of an Assessment Board

  • Appeals against a decision of the Assessment Board shall be made in accordance with the provisions of C15: Student Academic Appeals Policy, though the academic judgement of an Assessment Board cannot be formally questioned or overturned. An appeal against the recommendation for an award can only be made on the grounds that information relevant to a particular assessment was not available to the Assessment Board when it reached its decision or on evidence of procedural irregularity.

13.         Disability

  • Where a student is unable as a result of disability to be assessed by the normal procedures and methods, an Assessment Board may approve variations as appropriate, subject to the prevailing concern that the learning outcomes of the course of studies are satisfied and that the student is assessed on equivalent terms with other students.

14.         Posthumous Awards

  • ORMS will not award any of its courses posthumously.