Assessment:  Criteria, Marks, Feedback, and Progression

The University’s Assessment Principles  document sets out key guidelines to be followed in all assessment practice and procedure.  When completing an assessment, students are expected to follow the University’s Regulations Governing Academic Integrity.

To evaluate learning outcomes, a module may use different assessment methods, which may include essays, laboratory reports, presentations, multiple-choice questions, and product designs.  One or more assessment methods may be used in a coursework assignment, a mid-term test, or a final examination.

Categorical Marks, Assessment Criteria, and MCQs

Typically, your work will be awarded a categorical mark according to assessment criteria (see below) and the Categorical Marking Scheme.

Assessment criteria are based on recommendations from Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).  The agency defines National Qualification Descriptors and Attributes for each Level of Award (i.e., Year) — for the same mark (e.g., 65%),  assessments become more challenging over the three level/years.  Note that different assessments may focus on different descriptors.  Grading templates for respective years can be accessed via the following links.

Year 1 grading template

Year 2 grading template

Year 3 grading template

Multiple choice quizzes (MCQs) — questions with single or multiple correct answers — are an excellent tool for assessing how much information you know about a subject.  Here we explain how we convert your MCQ performance to a categorical mark.  We use a conversion so that you will get a fair mark, even if your MCQ is difficult, and so that we can combine MCQ marks with those from other types of assessment, such as essays.

Across all modules in Psychology we use a standard algorithm to convert your performance (i.e. the proportion of questions that you answer correctly) into a categorical mark. It has been designed to ensure that if you do well on the test your categorical mark reflects this.  For example, if you get 40 out of 40 the algorithm allocates a categorical mark of 100.  If your performance is the same as chance then you would get a categorical mark of 18.  For example, in a test with 40 questions, and 4 possible answers for each, 10 questions correct would be converted to a mark of 18.  Scores between chance and perfect performance are mapped to categorical marks between 18 and 100 via an algorithm based on z-scores. Scores below chance will be given a categorical mark of 0.

Prior to your test we can provide you with a table that gives an indication of how different scores (i.e. numbers of questions answered correctly) were converted to a categorical mark in the previous year, so that you have an idea of how many questions you need to get right in order to do well on the test. Please note that this table should be used a rough guide – all assignment and essay marks are subject to moderation.

For some larger modules, students take MCQs in separate groups, and are often asked to answer different questions.  One of the good things about our method is that we can ensure that you will not be unfairly disadvantaged if the sample of questions used in your particular test are slightly more difficult than those answered by a different group. Likewise, another group will not have an unfair advantage if their questions are slightly easier than those used in your test.

If you have any questions regarding how we calculate your categorical grade then please ask your module co-ordinator.

To familarise with the standard algorithm, you can download this Excel file to peruse examples from two previous MCQ tests.

Component Marks vs. Module Marks

The final mark for a module (or module mark) is a weighted average of all component marks (one for each piece of assessed work) for that module unless another condition applies.  For example, a module mark may be capped (e.g., at 40%) if certain requirements are not met (e.g., not completing all practice questions; absent from one or more compulsory sessions).  Furthermore, a component mark may be modified due to, for instance, late submission, over-length, under-contribution to group work, or breach of academic integrity (see Assessment-related Policies, Procedures and Advice).

Note — all marks are provisional until they have been reviewed and confirmed by the Board of Examiners.

Feedback on Coursework vs. Examinations

Formal feedback on assessed work is given typically within 4 (for coursework) or 6 (for exams) working weeks and the feedback follows the Assessment Feedback to Students Policy.

Individual feedback is generally provided for coursework (see Grading templates above).  For examinations, feedback is provided on the class level (not individually) and you will be informed of its publication via email or Blackboard.  Feedback for an examination will include descriptive statistics and tutor’s comment on each question regarding what constitutes good or poor answers and how these relate to marks.

If you wish to view your exam script, please submit a completed request form to the Student Office.  You will be permitted to view an examination script to enable you to see how you can improve your future performance.  No mark or annotation on the script is negotiable or open to alteration, and you may not question the academic judgement of the examiners.  Absence of annotation on a script does not mean it has not been marked.

You are welcome to discuss feedback with relevant tutors.  Prior to deadlines or examinations, you are also encouraged to seek informal feedback when appropriate; for example, have a chat with your Personal Academic Tutor or module tutors.


Students will be informed individually about whether they have met Criteria for progression as specified in the University Calendar and, for finalists, their degree classification.  Failing one or more criteria, a student may be recommended for a referral or repeat (see the link).

Assessment-related Policies, Procedures, and Advice

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to act with honesty and responsibility in their own academic work.  Procedures will be invoked to investigate suspected breaches of academic integrity when concerns are raised.  You must take steps to ensure your full understanding of the expected standards as significant penalties can be imposed if these are breached.  For further details, please see the Academic Integrity, Plagiarism and Research Ethics Section.

Research Participation

To enhance experience, most modules in Psychology have a component mark that requires students to spend a certain number of hours participating in research conducted within the School of Psychology.  Failure to collect required credits will result in a lower module mark and your final degree classification may be affected.  Please see the Research Participation Scheme page for details.

Format and Style for Assessed Work

Unless otherwise instructed, all coursework should be submitted in specified or appropriate electronic documents (e.g., in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint Presentation).

Where applicable, the format and style of all assessments should conform to Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition.  The Hartley Library [link] holds a number of copies of the manual.  There are also many relevant online resources (click here and here for examples).

You can use Referencing Software (e.g., EndNote) to collect, store, and manage a collection of references and to insert them automatically into Microsoft Word documents to build bibliographies in required format/style (e.g., APA, or Harvard).  For EndNote, online tutorials and training and support sessions are provided by the Hartley Library.

Peer Evaluation for Group Coursework

Some assessments will involve you working with a number of classmates.  In order to identify whether submitted group work reflects equal (or unequal) contributions from group members, peer evaluations are conducted for each group coursework assignment.  That is, with respect to the process of completing the work, students will be asked to rate their own contributions and that of each of their fellow group members.  These ratings will be used to moderate individual group members’ marks.  Details about the moderation are included in the Group Assignment Participation Rating Form.

Coursework Extension Policy

If a student experiences circumstances that affect completion of coursework, a student may request an extension for submission deadline.  The maximum extension that can be applied for is one week, except for PSYC3003 (literature review) and PSYC3005 (research project), which may be longer.  Any extension longer than those specified above should be requested via Special Considerations (see below).

Only a limited number of deadline extensions can be requested without the student’s fitness to study undergoing review, and the possibility of voluntary or involuntary degree suspension or termination being considered, following sympathetic consultation with the Director of Student Support. As a guideline, no more than three requests for an extension for the same reason, and no more than six for any reason, in the same year.

To request an extension, please see Procedure: Request for Extensions, Special Considerations, or Absence from Compulsory Session.  You will be informed via email about the decision as soon as your request has been reviewed (usually within two days).  Until you have received the decision, please assume that the original deadline stands.  With an extension, if you feel the assignment is still affected by your circumstances, please request for Special Considerations (see below).

Special Considerations Policy

If a student is experiencing exceptional circumstances outside of his/her control and these have or will negatively affect his/her performance in a recent or upcoming assessment (including an exam) or ability to meet a deadline for submission of an assessment or to sit an examination, the student may apply for Special Considerations.  For details, use this link to view relevant regulations.

To make a request for special considerations, please see Procedure: Request for Extensions, Special Considerations, or Absence from Compulsory Session.

Compulsory Attendance

For pedagogical reasons, some modules require your attendance in some or all of timetabled sessions and stipulate penalties for failing to attend certain number of compulsory sessions on time.  If you have special circumstances that may prevent you from attending any compulsory session you must request permission to be absent.

Only a limited number of absences from compulsory sessions can be requested without your fitness to study undergoing review, and the possibility of voluntary or involuntary degree suspension or termination being considered.  Other action may also be taken by the University in accordance with its Regulations. As a guideline, no more than three requests for absences from a compulsory session for the same reason, and no more than six for any reason, in the same year.

Procedure: Request for Extensions, Special Considerations, or Absence from Compulsory Sessions

First, ascertain whether you may have a valid reason to request an extension, special considerations, of authorised absence.  Use this link to see examples of circumstances that may or may not be accepted for a valid reason.

If you have a valid reason, then please collect supporting documentations and complete an appropriate form, which can be downloaded from the links below.  Use this link to see examples of acceptable supporting documentations.

Deadline Extension Request Form

Special Considerations Request Form

Absence from Compulsory Sessions Request Form

Submit the completed form and supporting documentation(s) to the Psychology Student Support Point (room 4001, Level 4 in Psychology) or to the Student Office (Level 2 in Psychology) or to  You should submit them 48 hours before the original deadline, exam date, or compulsory session expires, or failing that as soon as possible afterwards.  It is your responsibility to make an appropriate request in a timely manner.

If, for some valid reason, you cannot promptly submit the form and documentations, then please notify the Student Office ( or Psychology Student Support (  Alternatively, arrange to have someone else either contact these parties or submit the form and documentations on your behalf.

If you do not have any supporting documentation at the time of submitting the request form, then please note on the form that supporting documentation will be supplied later, and supply it by the end of the Semester.  Without appropriate supporting documentation, no special considerations can be made; late or absence penalties will be applicable even if the request is initially approved in the absence of documentation.

If you are experiencing issues that are affecting your studies, please see the Sources of Support within Psychology section or contact Psychology Student Support (

You may also find the following links useful.

Attendance and Completion of Programme Requirements

Transfer, Suspension, Withdrawal and Termination

eAssignment System

Unless otherwise instructed, use the eAssignment system to submit your coursework, and to receive your marks and feedback.  Please familiarise yourself with the system via eAssignment Support Guide.

Document type.  Before submitting to eAssignment, make sure that your work has correct or appropriate document type (e.g., .docx, .pptx) as specified in the coursework assignment.

Submission is timestamped after submission process completed.  The eAssignment system can take several minutes to process your submission, depending on how busy the system and other factors (e.g., random interruption in your internet connection).  A submission process that begins only minutes before a deadline may result in the process being completed after the deadline; thus, it will be flagged as a late submission incurring late penalties.  Hence, you are strongly encouraged to manage your work and time to prevent any such lateness in submission.  If, however, a malfunction occurs in the eAssignment system (excluding being busy), or with the University computer network, then that will be considered a valid excuse for not submitting on time.

Keep submission receipt.  After a submission process is complete, a receipt will be sent to your University email account.  Do not delete this email receipt as it may be required to prove assignment submission at a later date.

Examination Timetable and Regulations

Dates of examination periods are published on the University’s Assessment Website.  Via Online Examination Timetable, you are responsible for checking that you are entered for correct module examinations and that there are no clashes in your examination timetable.  If there are any problems or clashes, you should report them immediately to your Student Office ( for action.

You must attend all examinations as timetabled.  Unless a good cause can be shown, a mark of zero will be awarded for an absent assessment.  If you have missed or may miss an exam due to special circumstances, then please see the Special Considerations Section above.

The Assessment Website also publishes information on policy, process, and exam regulations.  Be sure to understand and strictly observe exam regulations concerning conduct during examination.  Please also see the regulations regarding the use of calculators or dictionaries in exams.

Illegible Examination Scripts Policy

For handwritten scripts, ensure that they are legible.  If your script is considered illegible, the Illegible Examination Scripts Policy will be instigated.  You will be asked to come in to dictate your script so that it can be transcribed. The cost of this work will be met by you.  If your script is not transcribed then it will receive a mark of zero (0).

Advice for Preparing and Taking Examinations

The sooner you start your preparation, the better. Make sure that you have a complete set of notes; that you understand their content; that you can apply the material by solving the example sheet questions; and that you have practiced questions from previous papers under examination time constraints.

The University’s online archive of previously set examination papers is available to assist with your learning and preparation for forthcoming examinations.  To access Past Examination Papers, click here.

The Assessment Website provides a few tips for a successful revision strategy.  Our Revision Strategy and Examination Techniques page is designed to help you prepare efficiently and effectively for your examinations.

Should you encounter any difficulties when revising a particular subject, please ask someone to help you – you can approach your tutor(s) or teaching assistant(s) on the module.

Assessment: Penalties

A component mark or module mark may be reduced due to one or more factors listed below.

Under-contribution to group work

Penalties are specified in the Group Assignment Participation Rating Form.

Absence from compulsory sessions

Penalties are specified by respective modules.  Please see relevant module documents.

Over-length coursework

For a written assessment that specifies an upper limit of word count, a work is over-length if its word count is one or more words over the stipulated upper limit.  Over-length work will be addressed through marking solely that proportion of work that falls within the word limit.

Please be advised the word count includes just the main text of an assignment. It does not include Titles, Contents Pages, Abstracts, References and Appendices.

Late submission

If you fail to submit a piece of coursework by stated deadline and have not been granted an extension for the work, the mark awarded to your work will be reduced according to University’s Late Submission Penalties.  A penalty is computed from the exact deadline.  For instance, given a deadline at 16:00, submission completed at 16:01 will be penalised as one ‘University Working Day’ late.  A ‘University Working Day’ does not include weekends, public holidays or bank holidays.

Breach of academic integrity  

Significant penalties can be imposed if these are breached.  These penalties will always affect the mark you receive for the piece of work in question, and the most serious cases could lead to a reduction in degree classification or even termination of programme.  There is likely also to be an impact on any future reference we provide.  Please see the Academic Integrity, Plagiarism and Research Ethics Section for details.



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