Undergraduates: Vice-Chancellor’s memo
Changes to Assessment Rules
I am writing to let you know about changes being made to the University’s assessment rules. The new rules will provide greater consistency and transparency, are in line with developments taking place across UK higher education, and have been developed to ensure that they can be understood by all. The changes are being made as part of a wider University project that aims to enhance the feedback that students get on academic work, as well as improve the ways in which assessment is operated and managed.
Up until now different procedures have been used across the University to classify degrees depending on what degree programme a student has followed. After detailed discussions and extensive consultation with academic schools and a range of student groups, a single set of rules to govern the classification of modular undergraduate degrees will be introduced for all students across the University from 2013/14. The rules will be simpler for everyone to understand and will produce more consistent and equitable results for students. They will further ensure that you can remain confident that your degree from Cardiff can provide a passport to future success.
Why are we telling you this now?
We are aware that the way in which your degree class is calculated may not be at the forefront of your mind right now. However, the University is informing you of the changes we are making, so that you can be clear as to how this will be done and to assure you that students will not be disadvantaged by the changes that are being made.
How do the new rules work?
A student’s final degree classification is normally calculated from the marks achieved in modules taken in years 2, 3, and where appropriate, year 4. While the degree classification boundaries will remain unchanged, the new system will introduce:
- New rules to govern the weightings that apply to marks achieved in modules taken in years 2, 3, and where appropriate 4, to ensure that the marks students achieve in different years are rewarded appropriately and equitably;
- A 10% weighting to the marks attained by students on their ‘year-out’, (whether this is a year in industry, a year abroad, or both), to better recognise the value and importance of this experience;
- Consistency in the ways in which module marks and final marks will be rounded into whole numbers, and;
- A new rule that will be used to calculate the class of degree that will be awarded to students who have a final mark close to classification boundaries. This will mean that some students on the borderline will automatically receive a higher class of degree.
Many of our degree programmes already make use of similar rules to the new system, so for many students this will mean little change. Extensive analysis and modelling on the degree class results achieved by previous cohorts has also shown that the changes being made to the weightings applied to different years will have very little (if any) effect on the degree classification that most students receive.
How does this affect me?
Your School will be contacting you at enrolment in September to explain the exact details of the changes they will be making and the weightings that will apply in your programme. Students on programmes that are not modular (i.e. students in the School of Dentistry and School of Medicine) will also receive confirmation of their School’s award rules.
What will this mean for my degree?
The changes will not impact on any of the module marks you have achieved already. As an additional safeguard, the University will put in place arrangements to ensure that no student who has already taken assessments that contribute to their degree classification will end up with a lower class of degree than they would have previously. If it can be shown that a student would have had a higher class of degree under the old rules, this is what they will be awarded.
Full details of the new rules, and a series of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, can be found on our website at: www.cardiff.ac.uk/assessmentmatters/about/award-rules/
If you have any questions about the new system, please feel free to email Registry at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you all success and a very happy and relaxing summer,
Dr David Grant