CSM student and staff handbook

3.11 University of Exeter policy on examination and assignment preparation

3.11.1 Examinations styles

3.11.2 Setting Re-assessments: referral and deferral

3.12 Changing degree programmes or interupting your studies

3.13 Quality Assurance


3.11 University of Exeter policy on examination and assignment preparation

For each module, a member of academic staff should be nominated as a Module Moderator. The nominated staff member should be from the same discipline as the module to which they have been assigned, but not be involved in teaching on this module; the Module Moderator will be required to review all examination papers and instructions for assignments associated with this module.

1. Draft examination papers (including full rubric and model answers) and instructions for assignments should be completed a minimum of 1 week before the beginning of the term in which a module is taught (so at least 12 weeks before the relevant examination period).

2. Examination papers and instructions for assignments should be reviewed by the moderator and improvements/revisions agreed with the module leader before the beginning of term.

3. All assignment deadlines set should be reviewed by the Programme Lead before publication to students in week 1 to check for potential overlap between modules and review of assessment deadline bunching within a programme or cohort.

4. Once agreed internally, examination papers are sent to the external examiner for approval. Any subsequent revisions should be undertaken as required (return date – no later than during week 5, so 8 weeks before the relevant exam period).

5. Revised papers that include complex calculation(s) or data analysis should be checked by a ‘dry-run’ by a colleague or post-graduate research student.

6. Once these checks have been completed, final draft examination papers should be prepared and approved by the CSM Education Committee, signed off by the CSM Director of Education and CSM Head of Discipline and submitted to the examination office (no later than during week 8, so no later than 6 weeks before the relevant exam period).

7. A report confirming conclusion of this process and completion of the quality assurance of the assessments should be submitted by the Director of Education to the CEMPS Associate Dean Education and received by the CEMPS Executive Group (to be on its executive agenda in week 9).


3.11.1 CSM examination styles

Past examination papers can be accessed via module’s ELE pages. If you cannot find the relevant script, please ask the relevant module leader for them or for further guidance. In Stage 1, theory exams typically require you to answer between 2 to 4 questions over 1.5 to 2 hours, which mainly come in the form of short format multi-part questions, but some questions set will require essay-style answers (e.g. in CSM1035). In Stage 2, all exams last between 1.5 to 3 hours and typically require you to answer between 3 to 4 questions, which either require short format multi-part or essay-style answers. In Stage 3, you typically answer between 3 to 4 questions with either short format multi-part or essay-style answers over 1.5 to 2 hours.


3.11.2 Setting re-assessments: referral and deferral

The term referral is used if you have not met a module’s pass criteria and have to undertake re-assessment before the start of the next academic year in order to progress to the next Stage or to gain your final award. If you are prevented from completing an assessment for a module (or modules), and mitigation has been approved, then deferral may be recommended. Reassessment is not possible for condoned credits.

Students who have been referred in an assessment, or have been given permission to defer an assessment, must be assessed on the module’s original syllabus, but alternative methods of assessment may be employed in certain circumstances. Examples of when this approach is justified include where the original assessment relied on fieldwork, group work, access to specialist equipment, or input from visiting staff, or where the process of assessment throughout the module was intricate, involving many assessments. The method of reassessment should address as many of the module’s intended learning outcomes as possible. The rationale for using alternative forms of assessment should be explained to students when their assessments are referred or deferred.

Where deferment applies and a student has successfully completed other individual assessment components in a module, these marks should be retained and combined with the marks attained from the deferment process in calculating the final module mark. All assignments / exams set for reassessment should be different to those used originally in the module that academic year.

Where the original referred assessment included a component from coursework and/or mid-semester tests, the examination style used for reassessment may vary from that of the original examination. This allows for the fact that, in all cases, the referred assessment is based solely on the referred examination, i.e. previously acquired marks are discounted. Unlike with deferral, referred exams are capped at a maximum mark of 40%.

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3.12 Changing degree programmes or interrupting your studies

If you wish to change degree programme you can request a ‘change of programme’ form by emailing: info.penryn@exeter.ac.uk. If you wish to interrupt your studies, please inform your tutor in the first instance and then talk to a member of the ESS team. The ESS team will provide you with the appropriate form to fill out.

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3.13 Quality Assurance

The content and assessment of individual programme units is the responsibility of the Module Leader(s). Quality is monitored by Accelerate: which offers students with the opportunity to provide anonymised feedback on a module and their degree programme at the end of the term (also see Section 7.1). For each module, Accelerate feedback is used by the module lecturers to review its performance; if any aspect can be improved for the future the module coordinator will devise a plan of action to be implemented for next academic year (also see Section 7.2). The Programme leads for mining engineering and geology annually review these programmes, taking all Accelerate feedback and module reviews into account. Programme leads report to the Director of Education. A major programme review by the programme team takes place on a three-year cycle when a fundamental overhaul of the programme may be performed. Programme leads provide feedback to students via the Student Staff Liaison Committee (see also Section 7.3).


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