SECTION 5
ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES

5.1 ASSESSMENT RATIONALE

Assessment on the Department of English degree programmes is planned to meet national benchmarks for the study of English and film, and to encourage as well as test students’ acquisition of key skills in conjunction with subject-specific knowledge. The Department aims to encourage learning with innovative and diverse forms of assessment, whilst recognising the core role of the essay or piece of creative writing or creative filmmaking. We aim to provide critical and constructive feedback (written and oral) according to established criteria (see below, 5.2). The assessment processes are subject to regular review through the Department’s Board of Examiners, Student-Staff Liaison Committee, feedback from students, external examiners’ reports, and Quality Assurance audits.

Stage 1 of the degree (i.e., for full-time students, the first year) is in the form of a foundation programme. Students must pass this year of study, but these marks are not carried forward to the degree award. All Level 1 modules also have class participation included within the assessment criteria. Level 2 modules are assessed by essays and exams. The Level 3 optional-core modules are similarly assessed by essay and exam. Other Level 3 options may be assessed in a range of ways, but the most common remains essays. Creative Writing modules at all Levels are assessed by a combination of creative portfolio, journals / notebooks and take-home exams. Film modules incorporating practice also apply aspects of group work and group assessment. The dissertation module is assessed as an 8000-word supervised project in the form of a long essay (or equivalent in Creative Writing).

Other modes of assessment may include the writing of regular log-book entries, web-based exercises, and individual or group presentations, with or without a piece of reflective writing. Peer- and self-assessment is introduced at Level 1 to encourage students to become familiar with the Department’s assessment criteria and marking scheme, and to develop a reflective, critical attitude towards their own work. Peer-assessment and self-defined criteria are used where appropriate to support group presentation assessment exercises.

The Department also makes use of formative essays and other exercises, especially in Level 1 and 2 modules. Formative assignments receive written feedback and an indicative mark or class, but this does not count towards your final mark for the module. These assignments are important for the opportunity they give students to develop their writing (and other) skills, and to receive constructive feedback.