School of Mathematics and Physics

Assessment and Feedback

 Assessment

It is very important that you make yourself aware, early in each semester, of the assessment format in each of the modules that you are studying. Normal practice is that the form of assessment to be used is announced at or near the first class meeting in each module, and again at some point later in the semester (for example, after the External Examiner's approval of the examination paper). Should you miss such an announcement (for example, because you change enrolment or enrol late), be sure to check this with your lecturer or through the QUB Student Information System (Qsis).

Where final written examination papers are employed as assessment, they will now take place at the end of the  second semester modules.  The dates and times of examinations are determined centrally within the university, and cannot be changed to suit individual circumstances. For the students who have not been successful in the main exams, resit examinations are provided in August (see below). Should you fail a module, please contact your Adviser of Studies for further advice.

Even where a written examination is the only form of assessment, other work by the student, such as homeworks, may be taken into account by the Board of Examiners if the exam mark is a narrow fail. In such cases, the results of coursework are only ever used in a student's favour, never to their detriment.

Late submissions: all coursework assessed as part of the examining process will have a deadline associated with it. Work that is handed in late will be penalised. You will be informed of the deadlines at the start of the module. According to the Study Regulations, “Assessed work submitted after the deadline will be penalised at the rate of 5% of the total marks available for each working day late up to a maximum of five working days, after which a mark of zero shall be awarded".  Please note : Any work submitted after the 'feedback' class will receive a mark of zero, (even if the feedback class is within 5 working days of the deadline). For example if an assignment is due in on Monday and feedback is given in a tutorial class on Tuesday at 2pm, then a submission on Tuesday at 3pm receives zero

 If you become aware that circumstances will prevent you from meeting such a deadline, it is important that you contact the lecturer concerned (or, failing that, staff in the Teaching Support Office) as soon as possible - preferably three days or more before the deadline - to see if alternative arrangements can be made. For exemption from penalty or flexibility of deadline to be granted, documentation covering the circumstances will normally be expected (at the time of your request or, if that is not possible, shortly thereafter).


Progression: in order to progress from one stage (‘year’) of study to the next, you should have passed the assessments in all of that stage's modules (and must already have passed all from any earlier stage). Students who have passed all but one module's assessment at a given stage are allowed to progress to the next stage, but will need to pass their ‘missing’ module assessment during that stage.

Resits or supplementary examinations: students who fail an examination are permitted (and, in Levels 1 and 2, are expected) to register for the supplementary or ‘resit’ examination, and will be required to pay the appropriate fee at the time of registration. Resit examinations usually take place during the second half of August. Students' individual supplementary exam timetables are made available through Queen's Online at the end of July. For examination costs please check with the Student Guidance Centre. Resit assessment scores will appear in full on degree transcripts, but for the purposes of calculating degree classifications only the ‘bare pass’ mark of 40% is automatically used unless the Examination Board is made aware in good time of any exceptional circumstances (e.g., serious medical or personal problems) that have resulted in the student having to do a resit exam. We will not be able to take account of such circumstances unless they are professionally documented:  If, as part of your degree programme, you are taking a module from another School, be aware that their resit policy may be different from ours and - if relevant to you - find out in good time what it is.

Anticipated emergency: if, in advance of an examination or deadline for returning assessed work, you believe that your performance may be adversely affected by exceptional circumstances such as illness, then you should seek advice from your Adviser of Studies, your doctor or the University Health Service, regarding the options open to you. These may include temporary withdrawal from the University, deferral of the examination, applying for an extension to the deadline for submitting coursework or applying for a waiver to any penalty imposed for late submission. Medical certificates and documentary evidence of extenuating circumstances must be presented to the Teaching Support Office.  Note that the decision on whether to attempt the examination or submit the assessed work, and the consequences of that decision, shall remain your sole responsibility.

 

Things may not always go to plan during your time at University; something may happen that has an impact on you personally or on your academic progress.  If any such factors have a significant effect on you and your studies (especially around the time of assessment deadlines or exams), you should always let someone in your School know at the earliest opportunity.

It is vital that you recognise that there are very strict and inflexible deadlines within which you must make the University aware of any exceptional circumstances.  By clicking on the link you will find information & guidelines on what the University will accept as “exceptional circumstances” and what you should do in the event of such circumstances.

Feedback

The School recognizes the great importance of feedback on student progress, and therefore takes care that such feedback is provided throughout the studies. This feedback can take many different forms, including both formal and informal means.

Formal feedback is provided through coursework and assignments taking place throughout the year. Many of these assignments are marked by the lecturer or class assistants. The overall mark for these assignments provides basic feedback on student progress, but additional comments given provide more detailed feedback on which parts of the course are well understood and which parts require further attention. It is often not practicable to provide students with full comments on their work. Returned assignments are therefore often complemented by model solutions, made available on Queen’s Online. Students can thus compare their work with these model solutions to identify which parts of the course have been understood and which require attention. If the model solutions leave questions unanswered, students are strongly encouraged to obtain further feedback from the lecturer and/or tutorial assistants.

Formal feedback is complemented by informal feedback. Scheduled tutorials provide students with an opportunity to work on problems under the supervision of a lecturer and/or assistant and/or to see how the material discussed in the course applies to specific problems. These tutorials also provide students with an opportunity to ask questions about the course contents. Responses to such questions provide valuable informal feedback to students on the course material.

Project work is a component of many degree pathways within the School. During such project work, students work on extended problems in which students put together information from across the entire programme. Feedback is invaluable for student progress within these projects. The different nature of Level 3 and Level 4 projects means that different levels of feedback are given for these.

Lecturers within the School are strongly committed to providing a high-quality learning environment.
Hence, the School expects lecturers to be approachable and helpful to students, and to provide informative answers to students’ queries on their course. However, the School emphasizes that lecturers may exercise academic judgement on what material is made available and what material is not. Lecturers may not make material available, when they feel doing so impinges on students’ learning.