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Teaching, Learning and Assessment

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GUIDELINES FOR TEACHING, LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT
AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

One of the strengths of the Institute of Theology in Queen’s University is the diversity of experience which is offered to students through the recognised colleges.  The Institute Board is also concerned to disseminate good practice within the Colleges.  These guidelines are offered as an aid to ensuring that teaching and learning are as effective as possible and that assessment procedures are both clear and fair.

Teaching and Learning:

All teaching and learning within the Institute is designed to foster knowledge of and enthusiasm for Theology in its varied subject areas.  Recognised teachers are free to choose the methods of teaching and learning which suit the material and their own personal style. However all modules should include certain precepts as follows:

1.  Modules should have learning outcomes which are clearly indicated to the students:

2.  Course outlines should give a schedule of contact sessions, an indication of work which is required in non-contact sessions and indicative lists of learning resources (books, journals etc.) appropriate for the study of the module.

3.  Students at level 1 will receive a higher amount of support in their learning, together with some encouragement towards independent learning. Throughout the two years of level 2 and 3 modules, students will take an increased level of responsibility for their learning, commensurate with the requirements of the particular subject.

4.  Level 3 modules should offer some opportunity for students to be exposed to current research in the subject.

5.  All modules will provide an opportunity for students to participate in group discussion.

Recognised teachers should review their teaching and learning methods as part of the teaching evaluation, course evaluation and annual module review process.

The peer observation process which has been introduced by the Institute should be used to enhance good practice in Teaching and Learning.

Teachers should research and evaluate the use of multi-media resources in their teaching.

Assessment:

Assessment is designed to enable the student to demonstrate that s/he has achieved the learning outcomes of the module. Students are exposed to a range of assessment methods, according to the knowledge, understanding and skills being assessed.  Subject boards are responsible for ensuring that the methods of assessment adopted for any particular module are appropriate. In particular they should assess whether the methods of assessment are clearly related to the learning outcomes stated. Any change in method is proposed to the Institute Board which, after consultation with the Staff/Student Consultative Committee, take the final decision.

It is essential that students receive feedback on returned coursework (either by way of a top-sheet or written comments on the text).  Examination papers are not returned to students but feedback is available, either through a dedicated plenary session, or by making an appointment to speak with the tutor of the course.

The following policy is adopted by the Institute within its subject boards to ensure that assessment is rigorous, transparent, equitable, valid and reliable.

1.  All course-work titles and examination questions are agreed at subject board level.  There are two Subject Boards of the Institute: Biblical Studies (Chaired by Dr Desi Alexander), and Systematic and Practical Theology, Church History (Chaired by Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick).

2.  Assignment and coursework details (title, format, length, due date, weighting) are published to students at the beginning of the module.

3.  Criteria for essay type assignments and written examinations are published to the students.

4.  The policy for the submission of course work is published to the students along with clear guidance about what is deemed to be academic misconduct.

5.  Course work receives a provisional mark, and the meaning of these marks is published to the students.

6.  All work contributing to the final grade for a module is subject to an internal moderation process where a sample of the work is second-marked to ensure consistency in the application of criteria both within college groupings and across the recognised colleges. If significant inconsistencies are indicated the work is referred to the external examiner for comment.

7.  External examiners facilitate an understanding of comparability with other institutions and have a significant role in helping to maintain academic standards.