Annex I: Examination conventions

1. Introduction

Across the disciplines within each division in the University, there are many similarities in the way in which we teach and assess undergraduate students and teach and assess graduate students. Some common features in examining, marking and classification would therefore be expected within divisions. The QAA expects that ‘Higher Education providers operate equitable, valid and reliable processes of assessment’.1  This may involve a degree of variation from discipline to discipline.

Whilst academics in subject disciplines are best placed to determine the criteria used in marking and classification, Education Committee also has a duty to ensure that the processes used to apply these criteria are fair, explicit, and transparent.2  Where the criteria used in marking and classification differ from the norm and from cognate disciplines, there should be a rationale for the divergence.


1  From the Expectation of the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning.

2  From Indicator 2 of the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning.

2. Purpose of examination conventions

Examination conventions are the University’s formal record of the specific assessment standards for the course or courses to which students apply. They are a student-facing document and should be written in a clear and comprehensible manner. The same version of the examination conventions should be used by examiners, with more detailed local operational guidance appended if necessary.

Education Committee’s Policy and guidance on course information states that there are three key sources of information for on-course students about their course of study. These are the Examination Regulations, the relevant course handbook and the relevant examination conventions. Information about the structure of the course and the way it is assessed should be contained in those three documents. Key information on those matters on which students are entitled to rely should not be solely located elsewhere (for example, in a ‘Notice to candidates’ focusing on administrative arrangements).

3. Publication

Examination conventions must be circulated to all students and also published, either as part of the course handbook or separately, in a place easily accessible to students. Ideally, examination conventions should be publicly available so that prospective students may have access to them. If this is not possible, they should be accessible via Single Sign On (SSO) to anyone in the University so that the Proctors and colleges have access to them.

4. Content

The template downloadable below provides the headings of the information that should be supplied in examination conventions with a description of what is expected. In square brackets are references to further information in the Policy and guidance for examiners and others involved in University examinations (P&G for examiners) and/or the Examination Regulations where available or relevant. Please ensure that information is provided in clear and comprehensible language.

Suggested or sample text is provided in [square brackets].

Annex I - Examination conventions (27kb)