|ADMINISTRATION||LEARNING & TEACHING||SUPPORT|
|Processes for Collating marks||(not relevant to this topic)||Student support:late results|
|Good collating practices||Informing students about results|
|Moderating marks/ Examiners' meetings|
|Recording moderation decisions|
|Preparing for examiners' meetings|
|Late results & result changes|
The role of 'Prinicipal Examiner'
As unit of study (UoS) coordinator, you are generally considered to be the ‘Principal examiner’ for your UoS. In this role, you are responsible for collating your students’ marks and transmitting their final results to your head of department, who needs to approve them before forwarding them to the Student Records Office.
Processing results is primarily an administrative task, but does have some important ramifications for student support.
You may have access to an online or database results processing system, which:
- provides a template you can use to collate and record marks for all assessment components throughout the semester
- facilitates the calculation of each student’s final mark and grade
- may also facilitate the reporting of results to the Student Records Office in the required format.
If you do not have access to such a system, you will need to record marks in two formats.
1. The first format should be a detailed record showing:
- each student’s mark for all assessment components
- the maximum mark for each component (eg a mark out of 100)
- the percentage value of each assessment component (eg 20% of the total mark)
- whether each assessment component is mandatory (ie whether the student will receive an Absent Fail for the unit if that task is not attempted)
- all additional notes or comments related to each student (eg regarding late penalties, special consideration, adjustment of marks, etc). Be very thorough about keeping these records, to ensure that errors are not made.
- each student’s final result for the unit, generally as a mark and grade.
2. The second format in which you need to record marks is a brief record showing all and only the information required by the Student Records Office.
- Your local administration team can advise you about the exact format for this, and you can check the information on common result grades in the University Assessment Policy.
- This format is only relevant at the end of semester, and must be approved by your chair and/or head of department.
- Ensure that your marks are stored throughout the semester on a password-protected server that is secure and regularly backed up. You need to guard against the possibility of students being able to access or change your records, or records being lost or corrupted.
- Never use your desktop or laptop computer for storing records of marks. The chances of losing data (or even losing your entire computer) are too high.
- Keep the version on the server up to date over the course of the semester. Enter all marks into it before returning or releasing marks to your students.
- Agree on strict protocols to ensure version control etc. if other colleagues also have access in order to enter marks
- Keep all your notes and comments up to date and in the same location.
Many departments conduct examiners’ meetings, in which academic staff convene to make sure that marking standards are consistent across units of study at the same level (eg junior, senior) and to discuss any difficult decisions relating to borderline results, special consideration, and so on.
Even if formal examiners’ meetings are not held in your area, you should still meet with your colleagues to discuss any issues that have arisen regarding students’ final marks and grades. This is in addition to meetings you have as a teaching team during the semester to ensure equity and adherence to standards when marking work.
Keep records of all decisions related to students’ results, so that you can justify them if needed. Remember that students have the right to see their exam paper, and to appeal their result.
It is important that you keep the following as records:
- detailed mark sheets for at least twelve months (although these can be very handy even years later when students ask for recommendations for exchange, letters of reference, etc.)
- annotated exam scripts for six months (you can then destroy them according to the processes specified by Records Management Services)
- your own notes from any examiners’ meetings that relate to decisions on results for which you are responsible
- a copy of the unit of study outline, in case you need to show what information was given to students on how results would be calculated.
Your department head will also be responsible to centrally file notes from departmental meetings, so these could be another source of evidence in case you need to justify decisions made.
Go through the final results carefully to see if there are any students who:
- have a failing mark but should instead receive an Absent Fail (AF) grade (and therefore no mark) because mandatory items of assessment have not been submitted
- have a failing mark but should instead receive an Incomplete (INC) result (and therefore no mark) because mandatory items of assessment have not been submitted and an application has been approved for special consideration, or the like
- are on the borderline between Pass and Fail and should be discussed at the meeting
- have a case for Special Consideration that should be discussed at the meeting.
Highlight all students who need to be discussed at the meeting, so that it is easy for your colleagues to locate them on the mark sheet.
- Discuss these cases with others in your teaching team, so that you can bring any recommendations or comments from the team to the meeting.
Print your own copy of any notes or comments you have made on marks throughout the semester, so that you can refer to these in the meeting if needed.
Check with your department head about the format in which you are expected to bring materials to your examiners’ meeting. For example:
- Should you display electronic files using a data projector, or print sheets for circulation? Make sure column and row headings remain visible for all pages.
- Should results be sorted by family name or by final mark and grade?
- Either way, it helps to number each row (corresponding to each student). In this way, when you need to refer to a particular student, it's easy for colleagues to locate them on the mark sheet.
It is sometimes the case that coordinators, especially coordinators of large units of study, need to submit late results or changes to results.
- Late results involve amending Incomplete (INC) results:
- for students who have needed extensions, special consideration, supplementary assessment, and so on, whose work cannot be completed or marked before results are due
- in cases where all results in the cohort could not be finalised on time due to marker illness, etc.
- Result changes involve amending marks (and possibly grades) already submitted due to factors such as:
- successful student appeal
- errors in recording marks, etc.
Ensure that you follow the correct processes for submitting late results or changes. These will be somewhat different from the processes for submitting on-time results. Check with your local administration team.
As far as possible, try to process and submit results correctly and on time. This is by no means just for the sake of administrative convenience. Delays in receiving results can cause a range of problems for students.
Remember that some first year units are open to would-be graduands, particularly those in combined degree programs or in other programs that allow a range of junior elective units.
Without a formal statement of final results, students who are working to complete the requirements for their degree program may be ineligible to:
- apply for graduate employment or take up offers that require completion of their degree
- apply for postgraduate study and scholarships
- attend their graduation ceremony with others in their cohort.
If in danger of failing your unit, students at any stage in their degree program will be unable to:
- make informed choices about the need to take summer/winter school units
- enrol in subsequent units that have the unit in question as a pre-requisite in summer/winter school or even, in the case of extreme delays in results, in the following semester.
Late results may also mean delays in identifying students who are not meeting progression requirements, and thus consequent delays in faculty strategies for intervention and support, or in processes around requirements to show good cause in order to avoid possible exclusion. Needless to say, all of these delays can be extremely stressful for the students involved.
Students will be receive official information about results from the Student Records Office. Departments can also make results directly available to students as soon as they have been confirmed by the head of department and sent to the Student Records Office.