At UWS, we are here for our students and, as part of our continued commitment to supporting our students’ education journeys, the University is enhancing how we calculate students’ Honours classifications. The arrangements are being introduced now, so that you will all benefit, even if you are completing your studies in the academic year 2020/21.
These adjustments, which are in line with Universities UK guidance, are designed so that no student is disadvantaged.
WATCH THIS VIDEO EXPLAINING THE CHANGES
Q: What has changed, and what does it mean for me?
A: A new way of calculating Honours classification has been developed which recognises the contribution (results) from SCQF level 9 (3rd year of undergraduate programmes). Level 9 results can now be included in your final Honours classification at one third of the total (33.3%.) There are some exceptions, in relation to imported credit and this is outlined further below. This can be combined with your final year results (SCQF level 10, 4th year of undergraduate programmes) results, which will be weighted at two thirds (66.7%) to produce your final Honours classification.
However some students only reach their full potential in their final year of study. So it will still be possible to have your final degree classification calculated on the basis of the final year alone. Students’ honours classification will be based on the better outcome of the two methods (final year only, or final year 2/3, third year 1/3).
In line with the Universities UK Principles for effective degree algorithm design, we have also changed the 3% classification boundary. This is where a classification could be increased if a student has a majority of credit in the upper category. It has now changed to 2% and half or more credit in the upper category.
Q: What are the details?
A: The measures ensure you will achieve the higher of two possible classifications, either: (i) based on 120 credits at level 10 (i.e. the existing regulations); or (ii) the new approach, which takes into account level 9 results too.
The formal wording of the new regulations is as follows.
The degree classification will be determined by the higher of:
- the average of all 120 credit points studied at SCQF level 9 (weighted 33.3%) plus all 120 credit points studied at SCQF level 10 (weighted 66.7%),
- the average of all 120 credit points studied at SCQF level 10;
and, in either case;
- if a student’s average as calculated above falls within 2% of a higher classification boundary, and at least half of that student’s credit points studied at SCQF level 10 are in the higher classification, they will be awarded the higher classification.
Some students, studying in term 2 of academic year 2019/20, will come under last year’s Covid-19 emergency regulations, and will be identified separately by Registry and School colleagues.
Q: Why are level 9 results now being included?
A: This change is in line with the methods used to calculate Honours classifications in other institutions across Scotland and the rest of the UK as it recognises students who perform consistently well across the final two years of their programme in addition to those who improve their performance in their final year.
This approach can also alleviate stress and improve wellbeing by spreading the load over two academic years, instead of everything being based on the final year.
However, for some students, it is all about final year, hence there is an alternative way of calculating Honours classification based on level 10 study only.
Q: What does this mean for resits?
A: Classification is based on the principle that modules are passed at the first attempt. This is to make it fair for all students. At present, any resits undertaken at level 10 are capped for classification purposes. This means that the actual resit mark will be recorded on the transcript, but for the purposes of classification it will be capped at 40%.
This means that in future, resits taken at level 9 will also be capped for classification purposes, although the actual resit mark will be recorded on the transcript.
It is important to remember that the classification will be based on the better of the two outcomes – so level 9 results will only impact on the classification if it improves it.
Q: What does this mean for imported credit (credit from outside of UWS e.g. exchanges)?
A: Imported credit may not be used for the calculation of the classification of Honours. Credit cannot be imported into SCQF level 10, hence where there is any imported credit at SCQF level 9, the Honours classification will be based on credit studied at SCQF level 10 only.
Q: How will Pass/Fail modules be treated?
A: Some modules use a pass/fail grade (not A1, B2, C etc). As there is no grade, these modules are excluded from the calculation for Honours classification. So, for example, the classification may be based on 100 credits out of the 120 studied at level 10 if one 20 credit module is assessed by Pass/Fail.
Similarly, it has been agreed that Pass/Fail modules taken at SCQF level 9 will be excluded from the calculation and the level 9 contribution (weighted at 33.3%) will be based on the remainder of the credit studied at SCQF level 9.
Q: Why has UWS changed the classifications boundary from 3% to 2%?
A: This change brings UWS in line with the Universities UK Principles for effective degree algorithm design. By aligning with these principles we can continue to support the UK Higher Education Sectors’ commitment to fairness, transparency and reliability in degree classification and protect the value of our qualifications.
Q: Are these changes supported by the UWS Students’ Union?
A: Yes, these changes are fully supported and endorsed by the UWS Students’ Union.
Q: What will happen next year?
A: These arrangements will continue for next year and will be kept under review.