Assessment categories will make the assessment information presented to students via the Course and Modules Catalogue (which will replace the Programmes and Modules Handbook, provisionally in Sept 2025) easier to digest. All assessments are divided into either 'coursework' or 'examination', with the total percentage assessed by this method displayed alongside. Therefore, a module assessed by an essay, presentation, and blog post would appear on the Course and Modules Catalogue as '100% coursework'. Providing this general level of information to students can remove the requirement to consult with students if the assessment is to be modified in advance of the module running (e.g. a 3000 word essay changes to a 2000 word blog post and 5 minute presentation), as long as the assessment category is unchanged (and the assessment detail has not been provided to students by other means).
Note that changes to assessment will continue to require approval (via the module modification process), to ensure the assessment is an appropriate and suitable means of assessing the learning outcomes, requires an appropriate amount of student effort, and that it meets the course's assessment strategy and/or accreditation requirements. For these reasons, more detailed assessment information (the type of coursework, word/exam length) will continue to be captured on module specifications. This information should still be as brief as possible, e.g. 'essay, 2000 words (50%), individual presentation, 10 minutes (50%)', to allow flexibility, and, as previously, a module modification will be required to change the assessment information contained in the module specification.
More detailed assessment information will continue to be made available to students locally via module handbooks.
Examples of the two assessment categories are provided below.
'Coursework' includes a wide variety of assessment tasks that are undertaken during the semester and normally before the end-of-semester designated exam period (i.e. one week at the end of Semester 1 and four weeks at the end of Semester 2). Coursework can be submitted anytime during the semester, including the assessment weeks. Extensions to coursework can be requested (see the guidance on extensions and Extenuating Circumstances).
Examples of ‘coursework’ assessment tasks include:
- Written tasks, including essays, fieldwork/placement/reflective reports, practical write-ups, learning logs/diaries, dissertations, projects, literature reviews, writer’s notes, essays in the target language, calculations, practice assessment documents, and other types of extended writing.
- Digital assets, including podcasts, blog/vlog posts, posters, discussion boards, webpages, and wikis.
- Oral presentations, including presentations, video essays, and debates.
- Portfolios of work/tasks, including Practice Assessment Documents and other assessments not covered by the above related to professional placements.
‘Examinations’ will not normally last for longer than 3 hours. Deferrals can be requested for examinations (see the guidance on deferring exams).
Examples of different types of examination include:
- Traditional on-campus timed ‘closed book’ exams. These are normally centrally scheduled in the designated exam periods (i.e. one week at the end of Semester 1 and four weeks at the end of Semester 2) and it is these exams (in addition to 'open book' exams) that should not normally contribute >50% to the overall module mark. In addition, there is a 'supplementary period' in the summer when resits or any exams that have been deferred will usually be taken. 'Closed book' exams may be scheduled in an examination hall or other local or practical setting, computer cluster, or other UoB-approved venue. In a ‘closed book’ exam, students are not allowed to bring any written material into the exam venue or to access additional materials.
- On-campus timed ‘open book’ exams that, as with 'closed book' exams, are normally centrally scheduled in the designated exam periods and should not normally contribute >50% to the overall module mark. These may be scheduled in an examination hall or other local or practical setting, computer cluster, or other UoB-approved venue. A timed 'open-book' exam allows students to use notes, textbooks, and reference materials or other approved resources during the exam.
- Online, fixed time period exams and assessments, which require students to work on an assignment for a scheduled period (usually up to 3 hours) or a specified amount of time within a duration (e.g. 3-8 hours in a 24-hour duration). These assignments are usually undertaken within the assessment period. These do not need to be sat in an examination hall or other UoB-approved venue. (Where assessments are undertaken off-campus, it is important to consider whether additional on-campus engagements may be required to confirm the attendance of sponsored students - see the Code of Practice on Student Attendance/Engagement and Reasonable Diligence (PDF - 119KB)).
- Practical exams and assessments, including laboratory practicals, performance and other practicals for music, dance, and drama, oral-aural and listening exercises, skills-based assessments, and OSCEs.
- In-course tests (UoB-approved venue including on-campus, or off-campus), in-person or online, are scheduled locally and are during the semester before the designated exam assessment period. They will be submitted during the semester and before the assessment week(s). They include laboratory/workshop/computer-based examinations, synoptic examinations, short answer questions, multiple-choice tests, and Canvas quizzes. 'In-course tests' may take place off-campus or online for sponsored students during the semester and before the designated exam assessment period if additional on-campus engagement is already in place.
- Vivas, e.g. on a thesis, project, or dissertation.
Integrated Programme (synoptic) Assessment describes tasks that are specifically designed to assess programme level learning outcomes rather than articulated at the module level. Such assessment is integrative in nature, trying to bring together understanding and skills (often across modules) in ways which represent key programme aim and graduate attributes. Integrated Programme Assessment may consist of any assessment type.