The assessment of your progress is an integral part of the Department's teaching and your learning. Our procedures are designed to provide a fair assessment of your achievement, to give you goals to aim for, to provide feedback on how you are doing and to encourage you to develop and use your transferable skills in Self-study, Communication, IT and Organisation.
Our assessment policies comply fully with the University Assessment Strategy.
Assessment is by way of
- Written Examination
- Most written examinations take place in the summer term, either in week 30 or in weeks 34-38. The Department believes that end of year examinations allow you the time necessary to digest the module material and put it into context with material from other modules. The Department also believes that revision for examinations plays a crucial part in the learning process. The Department encourages you to practice on past papers, complete sets of which are made available to students as are sample answers. Personal tutors will also help you with your revision particularly in the first two years.
- Continuous Assessment
- First year lecture and some second year modules, all laboratory modules and some computing modules have components which are continuously assessed. You will be asked to submit work including answers to problems, output from computers and laboratory notebooks. This is then marked and returned to you, so that you can benefit from the feedback in time for any future submissions.
- Written Reports
- You will be asked to write formal reports on some laboratory experiments, as part of your final year project and for the Group Project. You may also write extended reports as part of your second or third year programme. You will be given guidance on how to write and will be encouraged to discuss the written work with your supervisor before submitting the report.
- Oral Examinations and Presentations
- Some laboratory and project work is assessed orally. For some modules, you will be asked to make a presentation to an audience including some of your colleagues and members of staff. You will be given guidance beforehand on how to prepare your presentation. Oral examinations are used for final year projects and some laboratory report assessment and would normally include some feedback and advice.
At the end of each year, the relevant examination board considers your marks. On the basis of the marks and any additional information, such as evidence of illness or difficult personal circumstances, your overall performance is classified into one of six categories: First Class, Second Class Division 1, Second Class Division 2, Third Class, Pass or Fail according to the University's Classification Guidelines. After the examiners decisions have been announced, you can receive a breakdown of the marks you obtained on each individual module (but not on individual questions).
You will see that the classification guidelines are quite complicated and (particularly for science students) are changing over time. You should note that whilst the overall mark is the most significant factor in determining classification it is becoming increasingly important to pass individual modules.
All modules are assigned a level (equivalent to 1st year University, 2nd year etc) and a weighting in CATS. These properties are discussed here. Paragraph 4 is of particular significance in determining whether an unusual option will be permitted or not.