FAQs - End of Session

EoS End of Session thumbnail red - NEW Frequently-asked questions about exam boards and end of session processing:

NB: If you have encountered an error message in BIRMS Marks Entry/End of Session, consult the online errors guidance for further information on addressing errors.

Exam Board queries

 

I am concerned I cannot meet the deadlines detailed in Appendix A, what should I do?

If marks and progress decisions cannot be released by published deadlines, please check with Taught Student Administration to ensure that the late release of marks and recommendations will not cause problems for students who are intending to graduate in either July or December, who have the right of appeal or who will need to be entered for supplementary examinations/assessments.

If you cannot enter provisional marks into BIRMS for a WHM module or optional module that is taken by students belonging to another School by the June (for Main assessment period) or September (for Supplementary assessment period) deadline, please contact the affected Schools directly to liaise with them regarding the provision of marks in an interim format.

The programme I look after does not have an Exam Board during the standard times in June/September, so what deadlines should I work to?

It is likely that programmes that are deemed to have Non-Standard Start Dates (NSSD), i.e. where cohorts are not expected to start at the beginning of an academic year, will be unable to hold Boards of Examiners meetings in accordance with University deadlines as listed in Appendix A.

In such instances Schools should confirm dates of Boards of Examiners to Marcelle Cobbold (m.y.cobbold@bham.ac.uk).

Schools that run programmes with Non-Standard Start Dates should, however, note University deadlines in relation to confirmation of module marks and Exam Board decisions for conferment at the July and December degree congregations.

I have a student who has not been in regular attendance this year; how should the Exam Board consider him/her?

Occasionally, a student will not attend any assessments and few, if any, teaching sessions in an academic year, yet the Schools have not invoked Reasonable Diligence procedures prior to the main meeting of the Board of Examiners. In such cases, Boards of Examiners may, if they are satisfied that they have made reasonable attempts to contact the student about his/her diligence, fail the student and require them to withdraw from their programme of study without a resit opportunity. However, all such cases will need to be submitted to the University Progress and Awards Board (PAB) for ratification.

NB: Leave the ART blank for the student in BIRMS until the decision has been ratified by PAB.

Please use the Recommendations Not Withstanding Regulations pro-forma (Appendix E).

Does the guidance in the Exams Pack also apply to UG Affiliate Students?

It is vital that full marks and recommendations are returned for these students, as they leave the University to return to their ‘home’ institution immediately after the end of the academic year and require a full transcript as evidence of their achievement during their time at the University of Birmingham.

Failures to return these marks promptly, especially for Erasmus students, may result in their progression being delayed on their programme of study and may jeopardise our agreements with partner institutions overseas.

Due to the need for compliance with Home Office regulations with regards to enrolling on the requisite number of credits, it is no longer expected that Affiliate students will have an agreement in place with their School to attend teaching for a module but not be required to submit any assessments or sit any exams.

If you have any students with such an agreement in place, please contact Marcelle Cobbold (m.y.cobbold@bham.ac.uk) before returning a mark.

The module recommendation of F (Fail) should be used for modules failed in May/June unless the student has indicated that they wish to be entered for the supplementary assessment.

ART B – Successful Completion should be entered for these students (regardless of whether all modules have been passed or not) unless they have specified that they wish to be entered for supplementary assessments, in which case a recommendation of ART C – Review should be used.

What module result should be returned for a mark below 50% but not less than 40% for a postgraduate taught student who does not need to pass the module to achieve the qualification for which they are registered?

Unless the student has already advised the School that they will not be taking up the opportunity to resit the failed module, you should enter the module result as:

SU (Supp, no CT exam) / SE (Supp with CT exam) to denote the attempt as ‘Supplementary’;

or M (Sit, no CT exam) / ME (Sit with CT exam) to denote the attempt as a ‘First Sit’.

If the student has advised that they do not wish to take up the opportunity to resit the failed module, a module recommendation of F (Fail) should be selected.

NB: A module recommendation of PC (Pass by Compensation) should never be used.

I have both a first and second attempt module mark and recommendation to take to the same exam board. What should I do in BIRMS?

Prior to the exam board, ensure that the first attempt mark and recommendation are available in BIRMS Marks Entry (this will ensure they will appear on exam board paperwork downloaded from BOXI; you will need to make a note of the second attempt mark and recommendation on the documentation provided to the board).

Following the exam board, where the first attempt mark and recommendation have been approved, they can be released using the appropriate ART.

If the appropriate module recommendation has been used, this will then enable you to process the second attempt mark and recommendation.

 

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Marks processing

 

Can I make mark changes before and after marks and Exam Board recommendations have been released from BIRMS?

In recent years, several Boards of Examiners have expressed concern that marks for modules delivered to their students outside their ‘home’ School/department have been changed without the ‘home’ School/department Board of Examiners being informed.

The efficient operation of examination processing relies upon colleagues across the School informing one another if a mark changes for a student who may be in another School/Department. It is the responsibility of Schools to inform one another of relevant mark changes if this occurs prior to the meetings of Boards of Examiners (i.e. the mark has not yet been ratified by the Board).

If marks change after a Board of Examiners and after marks have been released from BIRMS into Banner, you can change marks in BIRMS and release to Banner as a ‘Correction Approved’ (PDF - 541KB). If you change a mark for a student from another School/Department, you should inform the ‘home’ School of the amendment to the mark, and if the correction changes the ART, contact TSA.

These changes can be identified by running the ‘Module Mark audit report’ in BOXI.

When I click the [Calculate Mark] button in Marks Entry, BIRMS auto-calculates an ‘SU (Supp, no CT exam)’ whereas I need it to calculate ’SE (Supp with CT exam)’. What should I do?

This module recommendation is auto-calculating because there is no centrally timetabled supplementary assessment set up in Banner.

Please contact the Curriculum Management team via curriculummanagement@contacts.bham.ac.uk who will create a supplementary assessment.

Once they have made the necessary update the module recommendation will need to be recalculated.

Please also ensure that the central examinations office have the correct supplementary assessment listings.

When I click the [Calculate Mark] button in Marks Entry, BIRMS auto-calculates an ’SE (Supp with CT exam)’ recommendation whereas I need it to calculate ‘SU (Supp, no CT exam)’. What should I do?

This module recommendation is auto-calculating because there is a centrally timetabled supplementary assessment set up in Banner.

Please contact the Curriculum Management team (curriculummanagement@contacts.bham.ac.uk), who will remove the supplementary assessment.

Once they have made the necessary update the module recommendation will need to be recalculated.

Please also ensure that the central examinations office have the correct supplementary assessment listings.

In BIRMS, I need to amend a component structure in Component Manager; however, assessment marks already exist in Marks Entry. What should I do?

If the module mark and recommendations have yet to be released, then:

  1. Download the component marks by clicking the [Create Component Marks File] button in BIRMS Marks Entry.
  2. Save this file in an appropriate location for later retrieval – depending on the changes to the structure, you may be able to reimport this file or the information in the file can be used for reference.
  3. Remove the component marks from BIRMS by either deleting the marks manually or by importing a blank component marks file (ensure that the marks are not ‘Locked’).
  4. Make the necessary changes in Component Manager, ensuring that you reactivate the structure.
  5. Where the previously retrieved component codes and marks still apply, you can import the downloaded marks file accordingly.

Watch a video tutorial demonstrating this process (expand 'Components' to access the video).

NB: if the module mark and recommendations have already been released, get in touch with your TSA contact.

 

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ARTs processing

 

I have responsibility for programmes with a year abroad. Year abroad marks will not be available in June, what should be returned in BIRMS for these?

A progress decision is needed for each student to ensure that students receive registration information in good time.

Where marks are not available, please use 0/M for the mark and module recommendation and progress decision ART D – Proceed with Outstanding Requirements in the main period.

The only exception to the above is where it is already known that there are problems with the year abroad and your student may not satisfy requirements for progression. In these cases, use ART C – Review in the main period.

The actual marks can be entered along with a revised progress decision in the BIRMS supplementary period when these become available.

When I attempt to calculate degree classifications for some students they generate errors, and I need to prepare for my Exam Board – what can I do?

Consult the guidance available online about resolving common degree classification calculation errors.

I have responsibility for UG Masters students that will be proceeding to ATAS required programmes; how will I know that ATAS clearance has been obtained in these cases?

When a student applies for ATAS clearance, the decision is communicated to Taught Student Administration via Admissions. TSA will add a comment to Banner to record the decision.

BIRMS will reflect a ‘Y’ in the ATAS Clearance field in ES02 where clearance has been granted and detail the associated programme code in the ATAS Clearance obtained for’ field.

Validation has been written into BIRMS to prevent the release of an ART where students are classed as overseas, have a start date on or after 1 January 2012, and are transferring onto an ATAS required UG Masters but either do not have ATAS clearance recorded in BIRMS at all, or not for the programme in question.

As BIRMS will prevent you from releasing an ART where clearance has not been obtained you do not need to keep track of individual students-make progression recommendations at your Exam Board as you would normally.

BIRMS will alert you to any problems, so if you see one of the following error messages in ES02 when trying to release ARTS:

  • ‘ATAS clearance must be confirmed to allow release of ART-contact Taught Student Administration’
  • ‘Mismatch between Programme transfer and ATAS clearance obtained for fields-contact Taught Student Administration’

please contact Jess Coles (j.l.coles@bham.ac.uk), Helen McKinnon (h.mckinnon@bham.ac.uk) or Yvonne James (y.d.james@bham.ac.uk) in TSA. We will investigate whether the student has submitted an ATAS request and the status of the application.

I’m unable to auto-calculate a main or supplementary assessment period ART for a standard GT programme – instead a blank ART is calculated despite a message displaying stating that ARTs have been successfully calculated.

This is because component and possibly module marks exist for a later assessment period than the one you are trying to process within. The existing marks will have to be removed from BIRMS, but retained for future use:

  1. Download any component marks from the later assessment period by selecting the [Create Component Marks File] button in BIRMS Marks Entry – make sure you save this file in an appropriate location for later retrieval.
  2. Remove the component marks from the later period by either deleting the marks manually or by importing a blank component marks file.

Once this has been completed, either:

  • Recalculate the ART; OR
  • Manually select and save an ART W – Release Marks.

 

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