The word/time limit gives you a clear indication of the expectation of the effort needed for an assessment. UCSD uses the principle of 4000 words for 20 credit modules.
The word count includes everything in the main body of the text (including headings, tables, citations, quotes, lists, etc). The list of references, appendices and footnotes are NOT included in the word count.
Word limits have a ‘plus 10%’ stipulated. Note, writing under the word limit is self-limiting thus no need for a minus 10% principle.
If you go over the word count or time limit by more than 10 percent the marker will stop marking, this will result in the rest of your work not being read, and this may impact your grade.
Word count equivalencies for 10 credits
Further information on word count at UCSD can be found here.
Each assessment task will have a specific marking criterion that reflects what you have been asked to do, it will be located at the bottom of your assessment brief and will align with UCSDs generic marking criteria by level of study.
Each section will be assessed out of 100 and the language used within your feedback will reflect your grade band, example: outstanding for over 85 percent, excellent for 70-84 percent, very good for 60-69 percent, good for 50-59 percent, satisfactory or fair for 40-49 percent, not met or weak or inadequate for less than 30-39 percent, and poor for less than 30 percent.
Your submission process will be clearly outlined on your assessment brief.
Typically, you will submit your assessments through Turnitin, there will be an assessment block on your Moodle course page.
Your assessment block will typically have each of your module codes, module name and summative date. Each module will typically have either a Turnitin point, Moodle assignment point or an area to record your submission.
During your teaching sessions you will be provided with guidance on uploading assessments and support will be given for you to develop the skills to create, save and upload different file types.
Please seek support from the HE Study team if you are having issues creating or submitting your assessments.
Here is guidance on using Turnitin e-submissions on Moodle.
The brief details exactly what you are expected to do. It should be written in a way that you understand what you need to do before any module teaching has taken place.
To help you understand the context of the brief you should be provided with a scenario. If a specific structure or subheadings are required then this should be made clear to you in the brief.
Command verbs are used in this section so that there is clarity about what you are being asked to do. These should reflect the level of study and the QAA framework.
The summative submission is your assessment deadline.
The date and time will typically be midday on the day of your usual lesson and will not occur on a Friday, bank holiday or in the holidays. Typically, you will have two summative submissions per module (spread across the module). To avoid bunching of assessments, you will not typically have more than one summative submission a week.
To help your long-range planning, you will have an assessment schedule with both draft and summative assessment dates and arrangements, you can view this on your Moodle course page.
To enable you to have feedback early, some programmes include an early summative assessment in semester one.
Submitting work after the deadline, but within 24 hours will result in your mark being capped at 40. If you fail to submit or submit later than 24 hours, then you receive 0 for your mark.
If you have had a serious situation which has a significant impact on your ability to attend or complete assessments, you may be eligible to apply for ‘extenuating circumstances’ (ECs). Further information on ECs can be found here.
A draft is a formative development feedback opportunity that is embedded in the module teaching. On your Moodle page you will have an assessment schedule with both draft and summative assessment dates and arrangements.
You will submit a draft typically two weeks (or longer) before the summative deadline. The date and process will be clearly written on your assessment brief. You will be offered a one-to-one appointment to discuss your assessment plan and written draft and you will be actively encouraged to reflect on how your draft meets the Assessment Criteria.
UCSD strongly encourages you to have an almost completed assessment for the draft, and then highlight the areas you want draft feedback on. You can have feedback on up to 500 words or 25 percent (whichever is greater) of the assessment. During the draft process, no indication of grade will be given by the teaching team. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors will be highlighted, please utilise the support available from HE Study!
You will receive written feedback on your draft within three working days and no later than five working days.
Exceptions to the rule include dissertation modules, when the draft feedback parameters are set out in the Module Guide and negotiated between the student and supervisor.
Learning outcomes (LO) are a statement of what you are expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of teaching. Typically, at UCSD the LO for each module will be divided over 2 assessments.
The LO for your course can be found in your programme quality handbook (PQH) and they are reflected on your assessment brief.
You will see the learning outcome numbers, and written text of what they are, so that you are clear about what you are trying to achieve.
A command verb accurately informs you of what you are being assessed on and is a key component of a LO. The clear command verbs will be reflected in your task description and be at a level appropriate to your study.
This is the title of your assessment; it will inform the reader of what to expect from the writing. It should clearly state if you need to create your own, or use the one provided.
Weighting refers to the percentage of the element in relation to the whole module.
The mode of assessment relates to what you need to produce.
Example – mode is a case study report and the Element is coursework
The assessment mode for each module will be shown on each assessment brief and the type of mode expected will be explained. This is so you understand the style and/or audience you are writing for.
Example – You will not just see report, you will see the type of report; case study report, school governors or market research report.
The skills you need to produce the mode of assessment will be embedded into your scheduled teaching. You will be given an opportunity to practice these skills formatively with the opportunity of feedback.
UCSD examples of assessments modes can be viewed here .
You will experience a diversity of assessment modes that will encourage you to write and present your learning in different ways. Assessment modes are typically designed to be authentic to your industry and reflect tasks you will undertake in future employment.
To make assessments more inclusive, during the second semester of Level 5 and within Level 6, you may be given the choice of the mode of assessment within specific modules. New assessment briefs are written every academic year.
Element refers to how you are going to be assessed and it will be either coursework, practical, exam, test or an open book.
The element is written at the top of your assessment brief, this provides you with the basic premise of the assessment. UCSD follows inclusive practice and this happens at the point in design to ensure that the ways we assess does not exclude anyone.
Your course will use a range of assessments across the year, and you can view these in your programme quality handbook (PQH). Typically, you will not see tests as an assessment at L4, unless you are on programme that has a professional, statutory and regulatory body (PSRB) and requires it.
Typically, you will have two elements per module, both assessments are added together to produce a single percentage mark. However, some modules will have pass or fail assessment.
A practical element enables you to demonstrate your capacity to arrange and present information in a clear, coherent and effective way.
Group work can be an effective way to engage you and your peers, and lead to rich learning experiences. Group work can encourage participation, peer learning, development of team-working, analytical and cognitive skills, as well as collaborative and organisational skills.
You will be provided with an opportunity to discuss expectations and practice in a safe environment, for example, building short group presentation activities with discussion and feedback within your class time.
You will be provided with clarity about how group marks are allocated, collectively, individually or both, and whether the process (element) or the product (mode) is being assessed, or both.
Exams are usually externally set and/or marked.
Where PSRBs require exams (or tests) in a particular format, there is little flexibility for development.
If you have a disability your lecturer will meet with you early in the course to agree reasonable adjustments for assessments that are not inclusive.
Tests are internally set and marked.
Consideration has been given and only used when needed and appropriate for assessing the LOs.
Tests are revised to be inclusive for all.
University of Plymouth guidance says 48-hour open-book assessments are intended as an ‘inclusive’ alternative, so no additional time allowances are needed for reasonable adjustments.
Assessments should be designed so that they can be completed in one working day.
Authentic assessments require you to construct or produce something in real-world context, or mimicking the real world:
Realism involves linking knowledge with real life and work
Contextualisation characterizes situations where knowledge can be applied in an analytical and thoughtful way
Problematisation invokes a sense that what is learned can be used to solve a problem or meet a need
The nature of an authentic assessment limits the risk of academic offence
Foundation Degrees integrate academic and work-based learning. Thus, authentic assessments are the norm.
Enhancing employability by exposing you to activities and problems that you will face in the workplace.
You will be given the knowledge and opportunities to practice the skills to engage in the assessment.
Authentic and unique assessments also reduce the likelihood of accidentally or consciously engaging with essay mills.
Evaluate: Appraise the worth of something e.g., concepts, principles, arguments, assumptions or set of beliefs associated with an area of study in relation to their accuracy and appropriateness. Conclude, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most principal factors and justify how you have made your choice.
Explain: Clarify a topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurs, its results, implications, and impact by clearly stating and interpreting the relevant details.
Interpret: To explain the meaning of something e.g., in relation to qualitative and quantitative data making its meaning, patterns, and causal relationships clear and explicit, in and of itself, and in terms of your own knowledge.
Make an argument: analyse differing points of view in the literature or from other sources and come to a judgement call as to which points are the most persuasive – which may not be one side or the other but a mixture of points on both sides of an argument.
Present: use different mediums to disseminate findings, set out proposals, inform, critique, etc.
Reflect: on own performance, in given situations, its strengths, limitations and develop ways to improve. Identify the impact of performance on knowledge, learning methods, values, beliefs, and ethics.
Solve problems: recommendations and critique of alternative solutions.
Analyse: Breakdown a topic, issue, concept, theory, or event into its main ideas and evaluate them by examining the supporting arguments and evidence. Also, to frame appropriate questions to achieve solutions, while recognising any downside of those solutions.
Apply: Concepts, principles and techniques/methods to professional practice, actual events, and situations e.g., case studies. Use analytical techniques and problem-solving skills to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in a context of uncertainty.
Critically Reflect: on own performance, in given situations, its strengths, limitations and develop ways to improve. Identify the impact of performance on knowledge, learning methods, values, beliefs, and ethics.
Introduction to – Critically Analyse: Breakdown a topic, issue, concept, theory, or event into its main ideas and evaluate them by examining the supporting arguments, contradictory argument, and their underpinning evidence. Also, to frame appropriate questions to achieve solutions, while recognising any downside of those solutions.
Introduction to – Critically Evaluate: Appraise the worth of something e.g., concepts, principles, arguments, assumptions or set of beliefs associated with an area of study in relation to their accuracy, completeness and appropriateness using evidence taken from a wide range of sources. Conclude and justify it, while recognising contradictory ideas about your justification.
Make an argument, proposals and solve problems – at a more complex level than 4 e.g., arguments involving many players, a case study where solutions are not clear, etc.
Critically Analyse: Breakdown a topic, issue, concept, theory, or event into its main ideas and evaluate them by examining the supporting arguments, contradictory argument, and their underpinning evidence. Also, frame appropriate questions to achieve solutions, while recognising the downside of those solutions.
Critically Discuss: Investigate or examine by argument a topic, issue, concept, theory, or event. Work through the arguments and the evidence used to support different points of view, giving reasons for and against both sides and examining any implications. Argue not just for the side of the argument that you support, but the side with which you may have little sympathy and provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict those arguments.
Critically Evaluate: Appraise the worth of something e.g., concepts, principles, arguments, assumptions or set of beliefs associated with an area of study in relation to their accuracy, completeness and appropriateness using evidence taken from a wide range of sources. Conclude and justify it, while recognising contradictory ideas about your justification.
Review: Survey and critically assess a topic, an argument or body of literature so that the reader has a better understanding of what is being proposed or argued or/and for you to consolidate this information and apply your judgement to decisions in complex and uncertain situations.
Research: Gather information (literature, theories models etc.), frame questions, deploy techniques/skills to critically analyse arguments and make proposals.
Present: use different mediums to disseminate findings, set out proposals, inform, critique, etc.