Exam Boards and Assessments<>

Reviewing results with an exam board

Setting up an exam board

What is an exam board?

An exam board is an academic body charged with the oversight and moderation of exam results. Exam boards may be constituted to review the results at a specific level in the process (e.g. assessments, modules or courses), at a specific stage in the process (e.g. first sitting, second sitting) and for a specific subject or faculty. Exam boards usually focus on the marks of students who are at the borderline between one grade and another with the intention of ensuring that these students get the benefit of any reasonable doubt when their final grades are allocated. In addition there may be some situations in which a mark is adjusted downwards (late submission of work, plagiarism, etc.).

Adjusting student results

As a consequence of the review process a student’s original module results and course results may need to be adjusted in order to correctly reflect the student’s efforts.

This adjustment may take the following forms:

changing a student’s individual assessments results

changing a student’s overall module results

changing a student’s overall course result

changing a student’s final grade

This can be achieved in different ways, with different consequences for the underlying data held in Quercus. One consequence may be that, post-adjustment, higher-level results will no longer tally with the lower-level results. This could cause problems in situations where calculators are run several times on a batch of results – as a recalculation would overwrite a previously adjusted result. For this reason a locking mechanism exists to prevent adjusted results being overwritten in this way.

Changing a student’s individual assessments results

This is the most straightforward of the marking levels to change because any adjustments will automatically pushed to the next level when calculators are run.

Changes can be made manually to individual results or a batch of results can be uplifted by a specific percentage.

Adjustments are usually accompanied by an explanatory note.

Changing a student’s overall module results

Module results are normally calculated automatically by running the level-4 calculator. This applies the various institutional rules (weighting, penalties, minimum pass marks etc.) to the individual assessments, combines the marks and arrives at the overall module results.

After running the calculators, a board may decide to adjust a student’s module result. This can be done at the level of the module result as a whole: but be aware that, if this is done, the adjusted module result will be out-of-sync with the level-4 assessment results. For this reason you should lock an adjusted module result: if the calculator is run again and you have not locked the result, it will be reset by the calculation to the original, pre-adjustment value. Also, because the adjustment introduces a discrepancy between the level-4 results and the module results, you should add a note explaining why the adjustment has been made.

Changing a student’s overall course result

Course results are normally calculated automatically by running the overall results calculator. This applies the various institutional rules (weighting, penalties, minimum pass marks etc.) to the module results, combines the points and arrives at the overall course result.

In the same way you can adjust the module results, you can also adjust the course result. Again, you should be aware that, if you do this, the course result will be out-of-sync with the module results and you should lock an adjusted course result and add a note explaining why the adjustment has been made.

The exam board process

The Exam Boards and Assessment module allows authorised staff to set up and maintain exam boards and to perform all tasks associated with the exam board process.

The structure of exam boards varies from institution to institution, but, generally, individual results are reviewed at module level by a module board, before the aggregated results are reviewed at course level by a course board. Boards are usually constituted after each stage in the exam calendar (First Sitting, Second Sitting, etc.)

The process itself involves the finalisation and approval of the exam marks and student grades along with the occasional adjustment of the marks of individual students to correctly reflect their performance.

Results are usually reviewed and approved in batches on a module-by-module or course-by-course basis with the focus on results which are at the borderline between grades.

The various tasks associated with exam board maintenance and the results approval process are:

module board set-up

course board set-up