Fair assessment approach

Assessment support measures for specific student groups content

Assessment support measures for specific student groups

Information about assessment support measures for all degree students was issued on 5 February 2021. This additional information is for all undergraduate and taught postgraduate (PGT) students.

It outlines the different assessment support measures for specific groups in academic year 2020-21.

Together with representatives from the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, the university’s team responsible for academic quality matters, carried out a review of policy on principles for fair assessment [for higher education students] which takes into account the impact of COVID-19 on student assessment and the regulatory requirement to meet academic standards and quality expectations.   

Our principles for fair assessment are aligned with the national Quality Code for Higher Education, the current guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency, and the statement from Universities Scotland on Maintaining Fair Assessment. These principles will support students in their learning journey and take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate these as far as possible, while maintaining the academic standards of our qualifications.

The University of the Highlands and Islands partnership will aim to: 

  • enable students to complete their qualification or progress to the next stageof their studies. Wherever possible, progression and award decisions will be made within normal timescales 
  • maintain the academic standards of our awards, and the value of our qualifications to students, graduates and employers
  • award credit and qualifications consistently to recognise student achievement
  • continue to meet the accreditation requirements of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, where relevant
  • make assessment decisions that are fair and students are treated consistently
  • continue to provide opportunities for assessment at all levels, using alternative assessment arrangements where necessary. If circumstances prevent delivery of some course elements, students will not be academically penalised

Students with queries or concerns about your studies, should speak to their personal academic tutor or course leader. Alternatively, you can contact student support staff at your local academic partner.

Guidance for degree students about resit requirements in Summer 2021 content

Guidance for degree students about resit requirements in Summer 2021

Guidance for degree students about resit requirements in Summer 2021

Read the guidance about resit requirements in summer 2021 issued on 18 May 2021

Assessment support measures for all degree students issued on 5 February 2021 content

Assessment support measures for all degree students issued on 5 February 2021

Assessment support measures for all degree students issued on 5 February 2021

Undergraduate degree students in Year 1 and Year 2 - progression requirements content

Undergraduate degree students in Year 1 and Year 2 - progression requirements

Undergraduate degree students in Year 1 and Year 2 - progression requirements

We have reviewed assessment requirements for progression from Years 1 and 2, subject to specific course requirements.

You are eligible for up to 40 credits as ‘Ungraded Credits’ (UC) for modules you have not completed, provided you have met the achievement threshold:

  • pass all modules which are designated as “core for progression” on the course
  • must pass 80 credits at relevant level

You do not have to complete reassessments for modules where Ungraded Credit has been awarded, although you can choose to do so, to receive a mark and grade.

You WILL need to undertake reassessments for modules designated as “core for progression”. Your course leader will advise which modules this applies to on your course (if any).

Courses accredited by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies may have specific requirements which exclude the use of Ungraded Credit. Your course leader will advise if this applies to your course.

Undergraduate degree students in Year 3 content

Undergraduate degree students in Year 3

Undergraduate degree students in Year 3

We have put in place a range of measures this year to support you in performing to the best of your ability. These include flexibility around extensions and submission deadlines, and the option of additional time over the summer, to ensure you can submit final assessments when you are ready to do so.

You may normally progress to Year 4 (Honours degree level) carrying up to 40 credits as resit / repeat modules, as long as you have passed modules which are designated as “core for progression”. Your course leader will advise which modules this applies to on your course (if any).

If you choose to exit with an Ordinary degree, we will use the average (mean) mark across 100 best credits at that level, discounting the lowest mark, to determine if you are eligible for a Distinction classification.

Honours degree classification and other undergraduate awards content

Honours degree classification and other undergraduate awards

Honours degree classification and other undergraduate awards

We have put in place a range of measures this year to support you in performing to the best of your ability. These include flexibility around extensions and submission deadlines, and the option of additional time over the summer, to ensure you can submit final assessments when you are ready to do so.

We will base classification decisions on the average (mean) mark across your 100 best credits at the final level (SCQF Level 10 modules), discounting the lowest mark. This is an exception from our standard calculation, which includes all module marks.

If you took any final level modules during Semester 2 of Academic Year 2019-20, your classification decision will be considered under the exceptional assessment arrangements which operated in that year, so you will not be disadvantaged.

This approach also applies to other undergraduate awards which offer a Distinction classification, such as an Ordinary degree, a Diploma or Certificate of Higher Education.

Courses accredited by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies may have specific requirements for final award classification. Your course leader will advise if this applies to your course.

Final year students - other undergraduate awards content

Final year students - other undergraduate awards

Final year students - other undergraduate awards

Ordinary degree, Diploma of Higher Education or Certificate of Higher Education

We have put in place a range of measures this year to support you in performing to the best of your ability.  These include flexibility around extensions and submission deadlines, and the option of additional time over the summer, to ensure you can submit final assessments when you are ready to do so.

To award a Distinction classification, we will use the average (mean) mark across your 100 best credits at the relevant level, discounting the lowest mark. This is an exception from our standard calculation, which includes all module marks.

If you took any modules at the level of your final award during Semester 2 of Academic Year 2019-20, your classification decision will be considered under the exceptional assessment arrangements which operated in that year, so you will not be disadvantaged.

Courses accredited by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies may have specific requirements for final award classification. Your course leader will advise if this applies to your course.

Taught Postgraduate students content

Taught Postgraduate students

Taught Postgraduate students

We have put in place a range of measures this year to support you in performing to the best of your ability. These include flexibility around extensions and submission deadlines, and the option of additional time over the summer, to ensure you can submit final assessments when you are ready to do so.

To award a Distinction classification, we will require achievement of a minimum number of credits at Distinction grade AND an average (mean) mark of at least 67 across all SCQF Level 11 modules. The required number of credits is lower than in our standard regulations.

  • Masters – minimum 80 credits at 70+ (in any SCQF Level 11 modules, not necessarily including the Dissertation/Major project)
  • PGDip – minimum 40 credits at 70+
  • PGCert - minimum 20 credits at 70+

If you took any modules during Semester 2 of Academic Year 2019-20, we will apply the exceptional criteria for PGT awards 2019-20 which operated in that year so you will not be disadvantaged.

Higher National students content

Higher National students

Higher National students

We have ensured all HNC/D delivery takes place in accordance with SQA requirements and guidance.

This has ensured all delivery that can take place as normal, does so. SQA have permitted a range of adaptations to the way we deliver and assess our HN curriculum, and we have implemented those changes where it is necessary and possible to do so. Adaptations include combining assessments to reduce duplication and overlap and replacing examinations with open book or project-based assessment. Our aim is to ease the burden on students.

SQA permitted changes to the way in which graded units are assessed. Only those graded units deemed mandatory by SQA will be delivered and assessed in full. All other graded units will be assessed using evidence generated during completion of the contributing or mandatory units that underpin the graded unit. The removal of the graded unit will allow us to focus more on our teaching and learning time so we can ensure you get the most of out the course. There will be no change in the number of credit points you receive for the course and you will receive the full HN award if you successfully complete the course.

Students articulating from HNC/D to degree programmes content

Students articulating from HNC/D to degree programmes

Students articulating from HNC/D to degree programmes

Some students may be unable to complete their HN qualification within the normal timescale this year, due to circumstances beyond their control.

We will operate flexibility in enabling progression for students to their chosen degree programme, taking into account all available evidence of student achievement and ability on a case by case basis. This will apply to students undertaking HN study within the university partnership and applicants from other Scottish colleges. If you are planning to progress to degree study within the university, and have any concerns about your studies, contact your course leader.

Postgraduate research (PGR) students content

Postgraduate research (PGR) students

Postgraduate research (PGR) students

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of our Academic Partner campuses, ongoing social distancing requirements and national and international lockdowns, has directly or indirectly impacted the work of many of our PGR students.

Although many were able to continue working remotely, some will be disrupted until all appropriate research facilities are open and operational at full capacity, and/or fieldwork can resume safely and/or personal circumstances become more manageable. 

Additionally, while some have/will be able to accommodate the disruption by changing the scope, phasing or design of their research, others have/will have circumstances that require them to extend their registration.

PGR students have the option of preparing a COVID-19 Impact Statement to submit with their thesis, for consideration during the examination process, to make their examiners aware of the impact COVID-19 has had on their research plans and thesis. Further information available from your supervisors and on the PGR Brightspace area.

Further education students content

Further education students

Further education students

Your college is committed to assisting you to complete your course and will be able to advise you on how your assessment might be changing.

Your college may well have told you of any changes already, but if you have questions about assessment you should discuss these with your personal academic tutor/learning development adviser or equivalent.