1. ASSESSMENT POLICY
Assessment is the process whereby evidence of academic performance is gathered and evaluated against agreed criteria in order to make a professional judgement as to whether the learning required for the achievement of specific outcomes or competencies is taking place or has taken place. During assessment, the examiner collects evidence to identify the level of knowledge and/or skill acquired so that decisions can be made related to the student, the module or the programme, depending on the purpose of the particular assessment. It includes the assessment of student performance during work-integrated learning activities, where relevant.
1.1 The focus of assessment includes:
1.1.1 Improving the quality of a student’s learning experience by concentrating on graduate characteristics, that is significant knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, and providing motivation to work through the material through tasks and feedback. Assessment focuses on the ability to transfer knowledge to new contexts and to apply knowledge to specific contexts.
1.1.2 Providing accurate estimates of current competence or potential in relation to desired outcomes to enable academics to make appropriate decisions (placement, diagnostic, etc.)
1.1.3 Making academic judgments of student performance related to competence and progression or qualification.
Each lecturer may prescribe reading, conduct class tests, and set projects during the semester at his/her discretion, bearing in mind the students’ overall programme. The dates on which projects have to be handed in shall be communicated by the Academic Dean to the Department Heads in Philosophy and Theology and to the students during the first fortnight of the semester.
1.1.4 Each subject is examined at the end of a semester orally or in writing, as the lecturer wishes.
1.1.5 The final mark for the semester shall be a combination of the class work results amounting to 40% of the overall mark plus the examination results amounting to 60% of the overall mark.
1.1.6 If a student fails to obtain an aggregate mark of 50% for a subject due to failing the examination, the student shall do a supplementary/repeat examination [see below]. The class mark shall be added to the examination result to give the final mark.
1.1.7 When students have to repeat a written examination, the lecturer shall send to the Academic Dean the text of the repeat examination paper together with the students’ marks.
2. PROMOTION AND FAILURE:
Both academic achievement and personal growth in areas of formation form the basis of the assessment of a candidate for the priesthood or religious life. Both of these dimensions are important in discerning a candidate’s suitability for promotion to the next stage. A candidate who is unable to reach the required standard is unlikely to minister effectively in a pastoral situation or live out his religious commitment.
2.1 A student who attains 50% or more in a module will have successfully passed that module.
2.2 A student who attains 49% will have his mark adjusted to that reflecting a pass mark of 50%.
2.3 A student who attains between 40-48% will be subjected to a supplementary examination.
2.4 A student who attains a mark less than 40% will have to repeat the module in the corresponding semester when it is offered again, or upon the availability of a requisite lecturer for that specific module.
2.5 A student who fails a core or fundamental module will repeat that module. However, any student who fails an elective module may substitute that module with an alternative elective.
2.6 A student who fails a supplementary examination, or who has failed a module outright will repeat the module, by attending class again and doing all the prescribed tasks, or by studying the material privately under the direction of the lecturer, if the lecturer is available for such private tuition and the Academic Dean assents. In which case the following procedure is adhered to:
i) The lecturer will set an elaborated work (4000-7000 words) covering the essential aspects of the module, specifying the date on which this work is to be handed in.
ii) The essay should be marked with detailed comments in regard to content, methodology and language.
iii) If the mark for this elaborated work is 60% or more, there will be no need for a semester examination; but there will be an examination at the end if the mark for the elaborated work is below 60%.
iv) A student who does not succeed in passing the module when repeated the first time shall be considered to have failed finally, and no further repeat is permitted, and does not attain the requisite credits for that module.
3. MATTERS REGARDING PHILOSOPHY & THEOLOGY STUDENTS:
3.1 A student who fails no more than two modules after the supplementary examinations will be promoted to the following year.
3.2 A student who has failed four or more modules for the semester will not be promoted to the next semester but will have to repeat the semester, including the modules already passed.
3.3 A student who fails three modules in the first semester, after the supplementary examinations, will be allowed to continue into the second semester, but the failed modules will be carried over to the corresponding semester in the following year, when it is offered again, provided that he / she passes all modules in the second semester.
3.4 A student who fails a further module in the second semester will be asked to repeat the entire year, including the modules already passed.
3.5 A student will not be admitted to the theology programme at St John Vianney Seminary NPC unless he/she has successfully completed a minimum of two years’ study in philosophy, and which is attested as such in an authenticated transcript.
3.6 Any philosophy student who has not passed the modules required to be promoted to theology may either repeat the complete year at the Seminary, or study the failed subjects elsewhere at the discretion of his Ordinary and be assessed again by the Seminary’s academic staff.
3.7 A third year philosophy student who does not in terms of academic achievement qualify for a degree may repeat the modules failed or the year itself, or be given a transcript of modules passed.
3.8 A student will be informed at the end of each semester about what modules he/she will have to undergo a re-examination or do a project in terms of Projects, Tests and Examinations above.
3.9 Supplementary examinations will be conducted twice a year: in the second or third week of the second semester for first semester modules, and in February at the commencement of the new academic year for the second semester modules of the previous year. With the consent of the Academic Dean, the lecturer concerned and the student may agree to this repeat evaluation being done earlier [see Projects, Tests and Examinations 4].
3.10 Marks awarded for a supplementary examination will not exceed 50%. However, for a repeat module, a student attains for the mark awarded him or her by the lecturer.
4. TYPES OF ASSESSMENT:
4.1 FORMATIVE, CONTINUOUS & SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
These types of assessment are possible components of all modules within a programme. Formative and summative assessment is the most usual form of assessment in modules.
4.1.1 Formative Assessment
Formative assessment refers to assessment that takes place during the process of teaching and learning. Formative assessment.
a) Supports the teaching and learning process.
b) Provides feedback to the student on his/her progress.
c) Identifies the student’s strengths and weaknesses.
d) Assists in the planning of future learning.
e) Is developmental in nature and contributes to the student’s capacity for self-evaluation.
f) Assists with decision making with regard to the readiness of the student to complete a summative assessment
4.1.2 Summative Assessment
Summative assessment is conducted for the purpose of making a judgment about the level of competence of a student in relation to the outcomes of a module and/or programme. The result of such a formal assessment (e.g. class tests, assignments, projects, presentations) is expressed as a mark reflecting a pass or fail. There is a minimum number of summative assessment options in the programmes.
4.1.3 INTEGRATED AND CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT
Integrated and continuous assessment is used to assure overall applied competence, to prevent disjointed learning experiences and as a time effective assessment method. General assessment principles and practices apply. Integrated assessment refers to:
i) Assessing a number of outcomes together
ii) Assessing a number of modules together
iii) Using a combination of assessment methods and instruments for an outcome or outcomes
iv) Collecting naturally occurring evidence (such as in a workplace setting)
v) Acquiring evidence from other sources such as supervisor reports, testimonials, portfolios of work previously done, logbooks, journals, etc.
vi) The use of different types and combinations of integrated assessment will be dependent on the nature of specific disciplines, including its appropriateness at the particular level of study, for example at exit level of an undergraduate programme. Applied competence refers to the foundational, practical and reflexive aspects of learning. In other words, students must demonstrate their understanding of the knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with a particular discipline or field of study (foundational knowledge), they must be able to apply this knowledge in a given context and be able to reflect on the knowledge and application in a critical way.
vii) The use of a ‘case study’ approach exemplifies the use of integrated assessment. While it can have targeted applicability at the undergraduate level, it is particularly suited for postgraduate programmes.
viii) Continuous assessment occurs when students are assessed continuously in a module. It is an alternative to reliance on a summative examination in a module. It can also be used in capstone projects.
4.2 Grading of Assignments
Percentages will be awarded when marking and 50% constitutes a pass mark for all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Individual programmes will determine sub-minima marks.
Feedback to enhance learning is fundamental to the student learning process. Academics are expected to provide timely feedback that identifies where misunderstandings have occurred and the ways in which the student can improve on a marked assignment. Feedback should be individualised to the specific student’s attempts whenever possible and practicable. Generic feedback should also be given in answers/ guidelines to self-assessed tasks in study materials and lecturer-marked assignments.
Feedback on assignments or, for example in tutorial letters, must reach students before they write their examinations. Additional support is provided for at the -risk of failing students in the form of individual mentoring and/or supported classes, where applicable
Student Responsibility: Students are responsible for incorporating assessment feedback in their learning; making use of the assessment criteria that they are given; being aware of the rules. Policies and other documents related to the assessment of a module; and to provide academics with feedback on the assessment methods used and their assessment practices
Students With Disabilities: SJV is committed to ensuring fair treatment for all its students. The Academic Committee will make reasonable arrangements for students with special needs resulting from disabilities including aspects such as venues, time for completion of examination and mode of the examination (taped, oral, Braille, use of laptops, etc.) at the expense of the student.
5. ASSESSMENT POLICY FOR PHILOSOPHY & THEOLOGY
5.1 COURSE EVALUATIONS:
Each lecturer is asked to conduct an evaluation of the course and the lecturer’s part in it in dialogue with the students at the end of each semester. The precise form that this evaluation takes is left to the lecturer’s discretion. There are sample forms available on request from the Academic Dean.
5.2 CLASS TESTS, SEMESTER PAPERS AND PROJECTS
i) Class tests are a useful way of gauging progress, and may be asked of the students at any time. Lecturers are asked, however, to give students adequate notice of such tests in the first week of the semester. All class work should be considered and the marks to be included in the final mark for the semester.
ii) All courses should involve set reading, whether for the semester assignment or as part of the preparation for lectures; but lecturers are asked to make sure that students read and reflect so that the fruits of their reading are shared and discussed insightfully in class. Short class tests on specific sections of such books can be a useful way of checking or evaluating prescribed reading.
iii) Some form of writing (not assignments) should accompany prescribed and recommended reading: either as a teaching tool or in preparation for class seminars or class discussions. If marks are allocated this can be included as part of the term mark. Oral presentations, based on the recommended reading, can be presented in class in the form of shared teaching or debates.
iv) The above guidelines make provision for on-going formative assessment and on-going informal formative assessments.
i) Examinations are held at the end of each semester, in June and November respectively, for the work covered during that semester.An examination can be either in oral or written form. The normal duration of an oral examination is fifteen (15) minutes. The normal duration of a written examination is three (3) hours.
ii) Questions related to oral examinations are to be submitted with the examination marks. Any request to the contrary should be made to the Academic Dean.
iii) Examination questions are not to be given out ahead of the examination. Lecturers are free to use whatever means they choose to suggest to students important areas from which examination questions are likely to be set. This should be done in such a way, however, that the students would still study the whole course and get an overview of the whole as a unit.
iv) In those skills-training courses in which a project replaces an examination, some means should be found of getting the students to do a review of the whole course, so that they grasp its unity and see how the various subsections fit into the whole.
The above regulations make provision for formal summative assessment.
v) Where feasible, lecturers should provide for examination evaluations with the whole class at the beginning of the next semester. In all cases, lecturers, where possible, should make themselves available to discuss their papers with individual students who have failed.
Examination scripts are not ordinarily returned to the students. These are kept and stored in the archives.