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How the University works out your degree award

How the University works out your degree award

Find out more about marking, moderating and how degree classifications are calculated.

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Overview

The final degree award you achieve depends on the marks you receive for your assessments.

On this page we explain how you can have confidence that marking is fair and that your degree classification reflects your work and capabilities.  

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Marking, moderating, and scaling

Before marks are released, module teams make sure that work is marked consistently. How they do this will depend on the type of assessment – but it could include things like checking samples of work or recording student presentations so they could be reviewed by a second person.

Your module leader will also look at the distribution of marks on the module and compare this with previous years. If there is a difference, it could indicate a problem with the assessment. To address this, they can request permission to scale the results.

Safety Net 2020-21

This year module teams must compare the student grades with those from the last four runs of the module. If this year’s grades are significantly different to what is expected due to the impact of the Covid-19 situation, they will scale marks before they go to the Board of Examiners.

In the videos below, academic colleagues describe their school’s usual marking, moderating, and scaling practices.

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Marking and moderation - Dr Martin Farr and Dr Samantha Shields explain how work is marked and moderated and how extra attention is given to significant pieces of work like dissertations.

Scaling - Dr Sara Marsham gives an overview of scaling.

Each school has a moderation and scaling policy based on the University’s template. Your school will have provided you with a copy of the policy for your school.  

Once marks have been moderated, the confirmed marks go forward to the board of examiners for consideration. Marks are not altered at the Board of Examiners.  

Degree classifications

After Stage 1, your assessments begin to count towards your degree. Your degree programme handbook will give details on the importance (or weighting) given to work at each stage. You can also see this information on the University website.

For information about the detailed rules and processes in place see the University’s general regulations and assessment regulations.

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Discretion

Each school has a Board of Examiners for each subject area. The Board of Examiners is an official group responsible for considering the outcomes of assessment on programmes. They make decisions on your award and degree classification based on your marks.

There are some instances where they can show discretion:

  • If a student’s work is close to grade boundaries - they review students marks across all of their credit-bearing modules and have the discretion to grant a higher award. The discretionary zone is normally 2 marks from the classification boundary.
  • Safety Net 2020/21: the discretionary zone this year has been increased to 3 marks. If your marks are within 3 points of a grade boundary the Board of Examiners has to review your marks and consider whether to grant a higher award.
  • They consider the impact of personal extenuating circumstances (PEC) on assessment marks and have discretion to mitigate and grant a higher award.

When Boards of Examiners exercise discretion, they can only adjust in your favour; they cannot reduce an award. It is important to state that a higher award is not guaranteed.

In this video, Dr Sara Marsham explains what Boards of Examiners take into account when students’ marks fall into the discretionary zone or have PEC support.

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Higher Education Academic Record (HEAR)

At the end of each stage your marks are added to your Higher Education Academic Record (HEAR). This contains details of all the marks across your studies including your award. It is the official record of your academic achievement.