Frequently asked questions

Within this section we answer your frequently asked questions around assessment. You can also find explanations on our Glossary of Assessment Terms page.

Here we present a summary of the 11 standard assessment regulations for 2019/20.

How am I assessed?
You are assessed through a number of assessment tasks at each level of your course.  The methods of assessment your module leaders choose will allow you to assess your progress, get feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, consolidate your learning and award you a grade.

Before your module tutor decides on an appropriate assessment task, they have to consider the following:

Learning outcomes A learning outcome is defined as ‘What a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completing a process of learning’. These are normally expressed as the knowledge or skills that students are able to demonstrate as a result of studying a module.

Assessment criteria Assessment criteria is developed to evaluate to what standards students achieve the module learning outcomes.  Assessment criteria can also form the basis for feedback about a student’s performance and what they need to do to demonstrate a higher level of achievement.

Assessment tasks An assessment task is an individual piece of assessed work. A collection of related, small assessment sub-tasks e.g. a collection of phase tests or experiments can form a single assessment task.

Assessment tasks within a module marked by percentage may have different weightings; the weightings refer to the relative contribution the individual assessment tasks make towards the overall module mark. These are normally expressed as a percentage e.g. a coursework essay may count for 30% of the whole module mark and an exam for 70% of the module mark.

There may be a requirement for one or more assessment tasks to be passed at a minimum pass mark, if the module is designed in this way. If you have to pass an assessment task in addition to achieving an overall minimum pass mark this will be published in your module documentation.  Assessment tasks can include the following:

Exams are fixed, time constrained assessments, which are good at assessing the recalling of knowledge and assessing the full breadth of a module’s content, allowing tutors to assess students across a range of topics

Essays are good at developing and assessing the ability to organise, integrate and express ideas together with critical thinking and problem-solving

Practical work is linked to real-world application, required when students need to develop skills to a professional standard, applicable for such disciplines as Nursing, Computing, Education and Sport

Portfolios Can be used to record actions, thinking and reflection.  The use of portfolios promotes reflective thinking and personal and professional development planning (PPDP)

Group Work can allow students to learn about a topic, learn about themselves and how to work in a group to complete group-based tasks effectively.  Many ‘real world’ activities require group effort and a group-based assessment can mimic these complex and multi-skill types of activities.  Use of group work can develop team-working skills such a cooperation, negotiation, leadership and time-management

Dissertation/Project is a substantial piece of work compiled from research undertaken by the student, such as a final-year project in undergraduate honours degrees or Master’s degrees.  Dissertations allow students to develop a deep insight into a chosen area of study, develop critical-thinking, originality and independence of enquiry to produce a comprehensive piece of original research

Please refer to diagram below for a full description of how assessment is designed.  Just click on the image to enlarge it.

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CLICK TO ENLARGE

Where do I find my deadline dates?
The Assessment Statement in My Student Record is the primary way to check formal submission dates for all modules on course. The Assessment Schedule channel on each of the 2019/20 Blackboard site home pages shows the formal submission dates for assessments on that module.

The Assessment Statement provides you with a complete overview of the tasks and sub-tasks that contribute to your overall award for your course. This is the formal record for your assessments and should be used to plan your work.

You can access your Assessment Statement via the ‘Assessment Statement/final results’ link in the Assessment essentials channel on Blackboard or visiting My Student Record . Go to the ‘My Assessments’ page and then select ‘Assessment Statement’.

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If you have an approved extension, the agreed extension date will be displayed next to the original deadline date for the task.

Some coursework assessments will be set over a date range e.g. some group or in class work. For these types of assessment, the date of the last assessment in the range will be the one initially published in the Assessment Statement. Where this is the case, exact dates for each group assessment need to be confirmed by the module leader in advance of the assessment and will be updated in your Assessment Statement when these are confirmed.

If you are referred or deferred in a task, the date for this will be shown in the statement as soon as these marks have progressed through the University assessment boards.

Update April 2020: Please refer to the university’s coronovirus impact: information for students page which is continually updated with key changes and guidance on assessment.

Assessment Schedule channel on each of your 2019/20 Blackboard module site home pages shows the formal record of the assessments for that module. Exam dates will not show in the Assessment Statement, only that an exam is part of the assessment for the module. Exam periods are accessible from the academic calendar and this will show the date range of when exams will be held. The specific date for each exam task will be confirmed in the Assessment Statement following publication of the exam timetable. Your exam schedule can also be access through your personal exam timetable.

What should I expect to see on my Blackboard module sites?
At Sheffield Hallam University, every taught module must have a Blackboard module site for providing core information to students though many will link to additional learning resources and activities outside of Blackboard.

Your Blackboard module sites should include the following:

  • Essential module information (e.g. module guide)
  • Link to the Resource List Online for the module
  • Learning materials such as lecture notes and hand-outs
  • Assessment criteria and arrangements for coursework submission
  • Contact and availability details for all teaching staff
  • Provisional marks and feedback when they are released
  • Formal submission points for the electronic submission of coursework

If these are not available, contact your Module Leader for this information.

What is the pass criteria for a module?
The minimum pass criteria to pass a module which uses percentage marks are that you:

  • achieve an overall module mark of 40% (50% for level 7 modules) or above
  • achieve the specified pass mark in all of the module assessment tasks where this is a requirement

The minimum pass criteria to pass a module which uses pass / fail grades only or a combination of percentage marks and pass / fail grades are that you:

  • achieve an overall pass grade
  • achieve other pass criteria as defined in the module information.

There could be Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements which mean that a different pass criteria is stipulated for some modules. This will be made clear to you in module information. For more details on percentages, grades and subsequent awards, please refer to the Standard Assessment Regulations

What happens if I fail a module after the resit?

Under Standard Assessment Regulations you will be able to retake the module on one occasion only. Contact your College Student Support Advisors if you are in this situation. There could be Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements which mean you cannot retake a module – this will be stipulated in course documentation.

Please see the following guidance if you have failed a module. The FAQ guidance about results and progression will also help you.

When do I get my marks and feedback after submission?
Marks and feedback on assessment are normally given within 3 working weeks (excluding student vacation periods, ie. Christmas, Easter and summer breaks) of the coursework submission deadline.  There may be exceptional situations in which the 3 week turnaround is not possible but in these situations your Module Leader will inform you of the delay.

Module leaders will publish the expected feedback return dates to you either via the Blackboard module site or email.

How can I feedback on my modules throughout the year?
Please see below the opportunities for you as students to feedback on your modules throughout the academic year.  You can input into the following processes that can help inform future delivery of  modules.

Student Feedback Opportunities

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If there are issues you need to feedback immediately on, you can:

  • Contact your module or course leader and discuss it with them directly
  • Discuss with a member of staff you are comfortable talking with, for example your named academic adviser
  • Contact your course student representative and ask them to raise the issue on your behalf (if you’re not sure who your course representative is, ask your course leader)
  • Use any module or course evaluations that are carried out

For feedback relating to your course, please contact your College directly.

See Student Input for further information on feedback opportunities.

What is the difference between core and elective Modules?

Core Modules are those which students must pass in order to achieve a named award.  Core modules may be compensated (unless an exemption from Standard Assessment Regulations has been approved) but cannot be substituted. Students are permitted one re-registration on a core module.

Elective/Specialist Modules may be chosen from a limited list, specific to a course. The elective list may change from year to year and modules can be added or removed throughout the time a course is running. Elective modules may be compensated or substituted.

Independent Study Modules are credit bearing modules that are created for individual students who need to retrieve a credit deficit in a core module, which is no longer available, to enable them to gain an award. In such cases, the agreed learning outcomes for the module must be consistent with those of the core module that is being replaced.

Where can I find support around assessment?
The following table provides a quick reference guide to where face to face support can be given based on particular assessment queries.  Just click on the image below to enlarge.

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How is my degree calculated?
The Award Classification Tools are designed to help you understand what classification you might be able to achieve. An accurate outcome will not be calculated for courses that have exemptions to the Standard Assessment Regulations.

Please read the guidance notes which explain the different methods to calculate your final average mark and how to use the tool.

You can access your results transcript on My Student Record. Please be aware that any marks shown on My Student Record may be provisional and subject to change due to moderation. If you have any queries about how your degree is calculated please contact your College Student Support Advisers.

What are the Responsibilities of the University and Students around assessment?
Responsibilities of the University

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The University will ensure that you have access to the Standard Assessment Regulations and ancillary assessment policies and procedures. These include:

Update April 2020: Please refer to the university’s coronovirus impact: information for students page which is continually updated with key changes and guidance on assessment.

Your College will ensure that the assessment requirements for each module are published to you. This will include:

  • regulations specific to your course (if applicable)
  • learning outcomes, assessment criteria, weightings and mode(s) of assessment for each module
  • procedures for the submission of assignments, including the procedure for dealing with late submission of work, and indicative feedback dates
  • criteria relating to grading and marking schemes

Responsibilities of students

It is your responsibility to:

  • ensure that you understand and comply with the assessment regulations for your course, ancillary policies and procedures where they apply to you
  • attend examinations and submit work for assessment as required
  • submit any relevant information on extenuating circumstances which you believe may have affected your performance in accordance with the University’s extenuation policy