Assessment policies

Assessment Criteria

It is School policy that students must attain a mark of at least 40% on each major component of the assessment, as well as an overall mark of at least 50%, in order to obtain a clear pass (P or higher) in any unit of study. The precise definition of 'major component' is decided by the lecturer in charge, but will always include the final examination where there is one.

In general, late submissions will not be accepted unless either the lecturer has specifically advertised a late deadline and penalty, or else the Special Consideration procedure outlined previously in this handbook has been followed and the lecturer has agreed to accept the submission late on that basis.

The different units use a number of different ways to determine how well each student has mastered the material presented. Written exams (held during the usual examination period at the end of each semester), are common. Several subjects include a practical exam or quiz, in which students are required to solve a practical problem in a fixed time under supervised conditions. This enables the School to be sure that each student has mastered the required skills.

The way in which assessed work is returned varies from course to course. Usually, assignments done on paper are given back during tutorials, or are available from the Help Desk. When assignments are submitted electronically, the results of automatic grading are usually emailed or posted on the website or on the lecturer's office door. Examinations are not returned; instead the result will be posted on a noticeboard at the Student Centre. However, all exams are kept for at least three months and during that period a student may examine the marked paper on Exam Review Day, or by arrangement with the lecturer involved.

Students in our programming units sometimes complain about the amount of work required. This is often because the students did not begin work on an assignment until close to the deadline, when the computer system is slow because of the large numbers of users. It is well-known that one always underestimates the effort involved in writing programs, so it is important to start work as soon as the question is given. Experience shows that writing code out by hand, and 'tracing' it carefully before entry into the computer, is much more productive than trying to compose the program at the keyboard. Another reason for excessive time spent on computing assignments is lack of thought in debugging; when a program does not work correctly, it is important to understand what caused the program to act as it did, and then correct the mistake, rather than blindly modifying the code and hoping that the new form will act better.

Students are reminded that the average time they are expected to spend on their course is 1.5 hours per credit point, per week. For example, for full-time students studying 4 units of study (24 credit points), the guideline is to spend a minimum of 36 hours per week on their course (this includes attending lectures and labs, preparation for meetings, and private study). These guidelines are given for students looking to achieve a pass in their units of study. Further time will need to be spent by the student on their course if a credit or distinction is sought after.

Students are reminded that the University requires attendance at lectures, tutorials, workshops and other scheduled classes as a condition for being eligible to pass any unit.

Students are expected to work sufficiently in advance of assignment deadlines to allow for hardware faults and other problems that might make reliable access to School computers difficult. In extreme cases, such problems have been known to last for several days, although most are corrected within one day. Special Consideration will not be given for such problems.

The School will offer a deferred examination in all units to students who miss the final examination owing to illness or misadventure and who document this by submitting a Special Consideration form to the School (please refer to the 'Special Consideration due to Illness or Misadventure' section of this handbook for further details), as soon as possible after the exam date, and within one week in any case. The School will reject requests which it judges to be trivial or insufficiently documented. It is University policy not to accept misreading the examination timetable as grounds for a deferred examination.

It is important to understand that if a student attends the main examination they will not be eligible for the deferred examination unless they suffer a medical emergency requiring medical treatment during the main examination. If not feeling well on the day of the examination, the student should decide whether it is best to obtain a medical certificate and stay away from the examination, rather than attend, perform poorly, and then find themselves ineligible for the deferred examination.

Deferred examinations are written examinations similar to the corresponding main examinations: they have the same length, and the same other properties (open/closed book, etc). The results of students who take the deferred examination will be calculated by substituting the deferred examination mark for the missing original examination mark.