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Paper B

UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE

LEARNING AND TEACHING COMMITTEE


ASSESSMENT REPORTING SCALE WORKING GROUP
A meeting of the Group was held on 4 November 2005
Present: Professor J Calderhead (Convener), Dr M Ward, Mrs L Gillies, Professor C Reid, Mrs C White (vice Professor G Fisher), Ms P Elliott, Dr A T Davidson
In Attendance: Dr E Monaghan
Introduction
The meeting was arranged to consider any difficulties Faculties were facing in the implementation of the new assessment policy. Faculty representatives were asked to report back on any problems and a number of representatives who could not attend the meeting, provided written comments (Appendix 1 refers).
The Director of the Registry, Ms P Elliott, tabled a paper (Appendix 2 refers) highlighting issues that the Registry had been asked to address including the text of the warning to students concerning the posting of provisional module marks on e-Vision, as requested by the last meeting of the Learning & Teaching Committee.
Discussion
In general terms, the Group reported no major problems, to date, with the introduction of the new policy. The following issues were identified:
Addition to the Assessment Scale: Following discussions (Appendix 2 refers) between the Registry and the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the Registry has activated a previously unused facility, that of 'qualifying sets'. This feature enables departments to identify a group of assessments within a module that must be passed as a group, in order for the overall module to be registered as a pass. A new value of QF- 'qualified fail' has been added to the Reporting Scale (see below). This indicates to a student that while the aggregation of individual items of assessment might indicate a pass, failure to pass an identified 'qualifying set' had resulted in an overall failing grade. To make this clear to students, e-Vision will include an explanation of how this grade is achieved. Action: Dr Monaghan to ask Dr Peebles to provide examples of the use of this new scale to include in the assessment policy.
Explanatory Text on e-Vision: following from the last meeting of the Learning & Teaching Committee held on 29 September 2005, Ms Elliott submitted draft text to explain clearly to students the status of their module marks on e-Vision (Appendix 2 refers).
Penalty points policy: the need to add a new section to the assessment policy to clarify the University’s position on the use by some Faculties including Arts & Social Sciences, of penalties on students’ marks for the late submission of assignments. The Group agreed to recommend that penalties should be applied on the basis of the numerical scale and not the grade scale. Hence students’ marks should be reduced by increments of one point and not one grade.
Aggregation of marks containing decimal points: it was noted by the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences that students might be disadvantaged by the fact that the student management system can only deal with whole numbers and not decimal points. The system automatically applied the normal rule of rounding decimal figures either up or down. If departments entered the students’ marks into the system in terms of the alpha-numeric grading scale, such problems would cease to exist.
Faculty of Education & Social Work: interpretation on the use of the Type 1 Pass/Fail Scale: the Dean of the Faculty raised staff concerns regarding advice given by the Academic Secretary to the Faculty over the Summer of 2005 in respect of his interpretation of the application of the Type 1, Pass/Fail scale to specific modules. Faculty staff believed that this advice inhibited the use of mixed modes of student assessment within specific modules.

Recommendations
The Learning & Teaching Committee is asked:


  1. to approve the addition of the new “Qualified Scale” (QF) value to the assessment scale and the following explanatory definition of that grade for publication on e-Vision:


QF indicates that you have not met the conditions required to have obtained an overall pass. Any queries should be directed to the department concerned


  1. to approve the following explanatory text for students on the status of degree marks which are published on e-Vision:


The results listed are provisional grades, subject to ratification by an examination board and may be subject to change. Should you have any queries regarding your results please contact the relevant department.
Following confirmation of grades by the Examination Board, the message will be amended to read:
All Grades listed have been approved by University Examination Boards and are now final.


  1. to ask the Academic Secretary to consider the drafting of text for a new section for the assessment policy on Faculties’ use of penalty points in respect of students’ late submission of assignments, based on the loss of points from aggregation scale and not the grade scale, for submission to the meeting of the Learning & Teaching Committee of 23 January 2006;




  1. on the rounding up of marks reported in decimals, to note that this problem would be overcome if staff entered the data into the student management system using the alpha-numeric scale;




  1. to note that the Academic Secretary had been asked to review the adequacy of the current guidance to Boards of Examiners and to report his findings to the Committee’s next meeting;




  1. to note that the Convener had been asked to chair a meeting with the Academic Secretary, the Dean of the Faculty of Education of Social Work and the Faculty Secretary, to clarify the Faculty’s interpretation of the Academic Secretary’s guidance to them on the application of the Type 1, Pass/Fail assessment scale, (paragraph 29 of the policy refers) which he made to that group at a meeting held during the Summer of 2005;

7 to note the guidance submitted to the Group by Dr Ward in respect of his Faculty’s guidance to academic staff on the new assessment policy (Appendix 3 refers); and


8 to note that each Faculty (and each School, in the case of MDN) would be asked to submit a report to the meeting of the Learning & Teaching Committee arranged for 23 January 2006 on any further issues arising from the implementation of the new assessment policy particularly issues arising from module assessments at the end of the first semester and for each Faculty to consider the submission to that meeting of exemplars describing best practice in their application of the new policy.

Professor J Calderhead

Convener

7 November 2005


Appendix 2
WORKING GROUP ON ASSESSMENT- 4th NOVEMBER 2005
REGISTRY REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW MARKING SCHEMES


  1. Implementation of New Scales

The Working-Group is asked to note the addition of a further value on the alpha-numeric scale. Following discussions with the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, we have activated a previously unused facility, that of 'qualifying sets'. This feature enables departments to identify a group of assessments within a module that must be passed as a group, in order for the overall module to be registered as a pass. A new value of QF- 'qualified fail' has been added to the Reporting Scale (see below). This will indicate to a student that while the aggregation of individual items of assessment might indicate a pass, failure to pass an identified 'qualifying set' has resulted in an overall failing grade. To make this clear to students, e-Vision will include an explanation of how this grade is achieved. The Working-Group is asked to note that sample text is provided in paragraph 2, set out below




A1

21




A2

20




A3

19




B1

18




B2

17




B3

16




C1

15




C2

14




C3

13




D1

12




D2

11




D3

10




MF

7-8-9

Marginal Fail

CF

4-5-6

Clear Fail

BF

1-2-3

Bad Fail

CA

0

Certified Absence

AB

0

Unauthorised Absence/ no attempt

MC

0

Medical Certificate

WD

0

Withdrawn

DC

0

Discounted

ST

0

Stopped

NM

0

No Mark Awarded (Plagiarism)

QF



Qualified Fail




  1. Sample Text on eVision

2.1 Provisional/Final Results

Any student, accessing eVision to confirm results, will see in addition to the results, the following explanatory text:
The results listed are provisional grades, subject to ratification by an examination board and may be subject to change. Should you have any queries regarding your results please contact the relevant department.
Following confirmation of grades by the examination board, the message will be amended to read:
All Grades listed have been approved by University Examination Boards and are now final.


    1. Qualified Fail

Students accessing results throughout the year will also see the following definition of the grade QF:
QF indicates that you have not met the conditions required to have obtained an overall pass. Any queries should be directed to the department concerned.


  1. Penalty Points

The Working-Group is asked to consider whether it wishes to give any guidance on the use of penalty points. Current practice in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is to deduct penalty points for late submission of assignments. The tariff used is one grade per day for 5 days (including weekends) and thereafter the mark is reduced to zero. Some concern has been expressed that if only the values corresponding to MF(8), CF(5), and BF(2) are entered, some students might be unnecessarily penalised overall.


4. Aggregation
A concern has been expressed that because SITS accepts only whole numbers as valid mark entries and rounding-up or down only takes place when the overall module mark is calculated, some students may be adversely affected.
Paula M Elliott

Director of Registry

4 November 2005

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