Statement on variations to undergraduate rules of assessment

Policy on variations

The University's rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate student progression and final results.

Variations to the Rules are exceptional and would normally only be considered in the following circumstances:

  • professional, statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) requirements – where there is a clear rationale to vary our standard rules of assessment in order to satisfy a verifiable PSRB requirement
  • where the rules of assessment do not accommodate a programme or provision at a partner institution – where there is a need to create a rule to accommodate a specific mode/programme of study or provision at a partner institution that is not covered by the current rules and where it is agreed that a standard rule should not be applied/created
  • in order to meet course or module level learning outcomes – this should be very unusual as designating a module as core and ensuring there is a breadth of learning and assessment methods over the length should enable course designers to ensure that essential knowledge, understanding and skill outcomes would be demonstrated by any successful student
  • progress to a study abroad or placement year – this should be very unusual so that additional barriers to undertaking a study abroad or placement year are not created, and only where there is a clear rationale that the particular nature of the study abroad/placement year requires additional specific progression criteria to be met as part of the course requirements

Approval process for the University of Essex

Proposals for a variation to the rules of assessment should be discussed with the Deputy Dean (Education) of the Faculty, the Assessment team, and Quality and Academic Development.

There are two approval routes:

  • for minor or straight forward variations for new courses/modules, approval is via the New Course approval route. The Deputy Dean may determine that a request needs to be considered by the Advisory Group on Rules of Assessment for possible submission to Education Committee and Senate
  • more significant variations and variations for existing courses would be considered by the Rules of Assessment Advisory Group prior to submission for approval by Education Committee and Senate

Approved variations should be reviewed as part of the annual update of all course and modules. All variations are also subject to monitoring by the Rules of Assessment Advisory Group.

Approval process for partner institutions

  • For new partners, where an institutional-level variation for the partner’s provision is proposed, this should be considered and approved as part of the institutional validation.
  • For existing partners and provision, proposals for a variation to the rules of assessment for University partners should be discussed with the Deputy Dean (Partnerships) and the Partnerships team. The Deputy Dean will refer the proposal to the Rules of Assessment Advisory Group prior to submission for approval by Education Committee and Senate.
  • Approved variations should be reviewed annually by the Deputy Dean (Partnerships).  All variations are also subject to monitoring by the Rules of Assessment Advisory Group.
Contact us
Quality and Academic Development For queries regarding a variation as part of a new course approval or during the annual curriculum update:
Telephone: 01206 874861
Assessment Team (Exam Boards) For queries regarding amending or creating a variation to an existing course outside of the annual curriculum update: