Institutional Principles for Assessment and Feedback in Taught Programmes


The principles are a statement of the University’s approach to assessment and the provision of feedback such that both staff and students share common expectations and are aware of their responsibilities. The principles are an outcome from a review of external guidance and existing internal practices and strategies and were developed following discussions by the University Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees and honed following discussion at a workshop attended by a mixed group of students, academic and professional services staff. In addition, helpful and reflective feedback was received from faculties and schools during a directed consultation process.

The principles are supplemented by:

The Principles

See also: Institutional Principles for Assessment and Feedback (PDF, 100kB)

1. Assessment and feedback practices promote effective student learning

1.1. Assessment and feedback are designed to foster and actively engage students, encourage them to be independent, self –motivated learners and support students’ attainment of knowledge, understanding, and skills.

1.2. A range of assessment methods should be employed throughout a programme of study, taking into consideration the need for them to be inclusive and student and staff workloads, to ensure assessment plays an appropriate but not excessive role in the learning year, ensuring there is sufficient time given for quality feedback to be provided.

1.3. Assessment and feedback is a conversation, which is not limited to isolated events, but provides the opportunities for students to engage with their learning within a continuing dialogue and as part of a learning community.

1.4. All assessment is for learning, but some will be wholly developmental in aim others will also measure students' performance, knowledge and skills against the learning outcomes. It will also ensure that any student, on completing a programme of study, has met the necessary standard to receive an academic award of the University.

1.5. Wherever possible, research and good practice should inform the development of assessment and feedback practices. This includes inclusive, authentic and programme-level approaches.

1.6. Feedback is timely, constructive, and supports the future development of students’ work within and across units. Feedback will be provided on all assessment where practicable. Completed assessment work should either be returned to the student or the student should have the opportunity to access their work to facilitate the effective use of feedback and encourage self-reflection, unless there is good academic reason otherwise.

1.7. Self-reflection and peer assessment/feedback are used to develop independent learning, understanding of assessment criteria and capacity for giving and receiving feedback on work.

2. Assessment and feedback practices are appropriate, valid, reliable and transparent

2.1. Assessment tasks are appropriate to disciplinary and/or professional contexts.

2.2. Assessment and feedback practices align with the teaching and learning method and are designed to measure the attainment of intended learning outcomes, aims and assessment criteria - at both the unit and programme level.

2.3. Assessment methodology applies rigorous academic standards related to and across the discipline(s) to provide consistency and is based on clearly defined marking criteria.

2.4. Assessment and feedback practices are fair, inclusive and accessible to all students, using inclusive design approaches.

2.5. Assessment tasks and feedback events and activities are simple, clear and appropriate.

3. Assessment and feedback practices are clearly communicated to students and staff

3.1. All students and staff are aware of the criteria and standards used to assess and provide feedback on work.

3.2. Students are provided with opportunities to develop an understanding of, and the necessary skills to demonstrate, good academic practice and the importance of academic honesty in assessment.

3.3. Students are made aware, at the beginning of a unit, of the purpose, weighting and timing of assessment and the nature and timing of feedback.

3.4. In each programme the processes for submission, marking, moderation, and feedback are appropriate fair, and explained to students and staff.

3.5. Students understand the processes of anonymity, external scrutiny, and how professional judgements are made.

3.6. All staff involved in assessment and feedback have opportunities to develop effective practice and innovation and staff are encouraged to improve their assessment and feedback literacy.

4. Assessment and feedback practices are regularly reviewed

4.2. Assessment and feedback practices and standards are consistent within and across disciplines, reflective of disciplinary differences, with Faculty assessment statements framing the process.

4.3. Fitness for purpose, appropriateness, inclusivity (in light of the potentially changing nature of the student cohort) and the consequential validity of assessments and assessment practices are regularly reviewed.

Approved by Senate, 15th June 2015 (last revised: February 2018)