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As part of the University’s quality process, the University Modular Framework (UMF) is reviewed annually. Following a full review of the assessment provisions during 2016-17, approved by the University Senate in June 2017, colleagues across the University have revised programme and module specifications in line with the new UMF provisions. These changes have been implemented for all students across all levels of provision.

Underpinning Principles

The new UMF Assessment provisions are designed to:

  • Increase academic ownership of assessment practice, to ensure that assessments are based on sound pedagogic principles within the broader ABL framework and clearly linked to subject content and learning outcomes.
  • Remove overly prescriptive rules around assessment volume and weightings, to encourage more innovative assessment design and facilitate assessments more closely aligned to subject content and learning outcomes.
  • Reduce the assessment burden placed on our students, with the aim of increasing student achievement, student retention and progression and student satisfaction.
  • Align our assessment volume with practice in the sector.
  • Rationalise learning outcomes, to ensure clear constructive alignment between content, learning outcomes and assessment and to ensure that learning outcomes remain achievable through reduced volume of assessment.

Summary of the Key Changes

A summary of the changes follows, but University staff are encouraged to read the changes in full.

  1.  A new maximum number of Programme Learning Outcomes (normally 12): 9 subject-specific outcomes and 3 covering employability and Changemaker skills and attributes.
  2. A rationalisation of Learning Outcomes categories at both Programme and Module Level:
    – Subject Specific Knowledge, Understanding and Application
    – Employability and Changemaker Skills
  3. A reduced number of Module Learning Outcomes
    – Normally no more than 4 MLOs for 10 credits
    – Normally no more than 6 for 20-40 credits
    -Normally no more than 8 for 40-80 credits
  4. Module Specifications to clearly link to any PSRB requirements
  5. Learning Outcomes to be written clearly and explicitly to academic level in order to apply a new common grade criteria and aid progression between levels. For help with this, why not try using our COGS learning outcomes toolkit?
  6. One quarter of module hours (25%) would continue to be devoted to assessment activities (i.e. 50 hours per 20 credit module) measured through the agreed % weighting for each assessment.
  7. Normally no more than 3 items of assessment per module, with exceptions to be discussed at Validation / Change of Approval. (No more than 2 for 10 credit modules)
  8. Assessment items and all deliverables to be clearly specified and transparent on the Module Specification.
  9. Extent of assessment burden to be determined by what is pedagogically appropriate.
  10. An overall reduction in the maximum limits on the volume of assessment by approximately 25% in the light of the assessment strategy as a whole.
  11. Assessments will be marked to Learning Outcomes using one set of agreed grade and marking criteria.
  12. Programme Learning Outcomes to be mapped to Modules in the Programme Specification.
  13. Module Specification templates reduced in complexity.
  14. Module hours to be clear which hours are face-to-face and which are online (as part of the move to Active Blended Learning). Assessment and Independent Study hours combined into one new category – Guided Independent Study.

The video below. from the project leader, Dr Rachel Maxwell, provides an overview of the changes: