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Unit assessment information

Assessment Information available in the unit catalogue | What is an Assessment Summary? | What does the Assessment Detail tell me? | Assessment type codes and what they mean | Assessment weightings and what they mean | Supplementary Assessment | Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Assessment Information available in the unit catalogue

The unit catalogue on the web has always provided a summary of how the unit is assessed, e.g. if a unit was assessed entirely by coursework it would show as CW100 (Coursework 100%).  This was taken from SAMIS and amended on the catalogue if a change was approved. Requests from faculty and department staff to increase the visibility of the detail of how each unit is assessed has led to a change to what data is displayed on the unit catalogue and from 2014/15 the detail of how a unit is assessed taken directly from SAMIS, will be displayed.  The maintenance of this assessment detail on SAMIS is the responsibility of faculty/departmental/school staff and is changed following approval of those changes within the Faculties/School.  Deadlines for making unit assessment changes will be introduced and the catalogue updated twice a year after these deadlines to ensure that the most up to date information is displayed on the catalogue.  This will help staff and students understand how the unit is assessed.

What is an Assessment Summary?

The detail about how a unit is assessed is summarised by type of assessment and weighting.  E.g. if a unit is assessed by 4 pieces of coursework each weighted at 25% then this will be shown as CW100 (Coursework 100%).  The summary weightings will always add up to 100%.

What does the Assessment Detail tell me?

The Assessment detail section of the unit catalogue displays each individual assessment item: its type, description, weighting and any other relevant information such as whether different assessment items are taken by different groups of students; or whether the assessment item is subject to a qualifying mark. The assessment detail will be taken directly from the assessments area of SAMIS as set up by faculty/departmental/school staff.

Assessment type codes and what they mean


Assessment Type Description


Attendance Only










Multiple choice
















The decision as to what code to use to describe a piece of assessment is entirely determined by departmental custom and practice.  For example one department may choose to label all coursework as CW and then describe each piece of coursework in more detail in the description.  Another department may choose to use the more detailed codes e.g. ES for essay.  Labelling a piece of assessment as CW does not limit the department in what the coursework might be.  Assessments which are formal examinations or in-class tests sat under exam conditions would be expected to be described as EX.

Assessment weightings and what they mean

Each item of assessment will be assigned a weighting from 0% to 100%.  The weighting indicates the how each mark for each piece of assessment will contribute to the overall unit mark. The total of the individual assessment items will add up to 100%.  Items of weighted as 0% are those that are assessed as pass or fail.  Some units are entirely assessed as pass/fail e.g. a placement unit. Credit will be gained, but no mark will be achieved and thus doesn’t contribute to the overall stage/programme average.

Supplementary Assessment

You can find further information on types of supplementary assessment here.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between the assessment detail shown on the catalogue and what students can see on their results page on SAMIS?

There should be no difference - the data is all coming from SAMIS.  The only time there might be a difference is if the department owning the unit has updated the assessment detail prior to the deadline for updating the catalogue. Once the catalogue pages have been refreshed there will be no difference.

2. Does the way a unit is assessed change from year to year?

It can do.  Departments create a new version of the record which contains the details of how a unit is assessed if the way a unit is assessed changes from year to year. This means the University can keep track of the changes to assessment over the years and enables transcripts to be generated for graduated students even though the assessment for a unit has changed.

3. What does a qualifying mark on an assessment item mean in practice?

If a qualifying mark exists the student must achieve that mark or higher in order to pass the unit.  If the student doesn’t achieve the qualifying mark when it’s required, but overall achieves a unit mark (based on the assessment weightings) of >=40% then the unit mark will be reduced to 39% and the student will see a grade of QR (qualified reassessment). Once the student successfully passes re-assessment the 39% mark is retained.  If a student is not required to take re-assessment (the unit may not be a DEU) then the mark may be condoned depending on the student’s overall performance and the student will then see a grade of PC following the Board of Studies.

4. Why does my unit have qualifying marks?

Some programmes are governed by external accreditation organisations which require students to achieve a certain standard in their assessments in order to be recognised in a profession: pharmacists; social workers; engineers for example.  There is a requirement that you achieve a good standard in all items of assessment.  In some departments a qualifying mark of 35% is employed to encourage students to achieve at least the condonable mark in an item of work.  Where qualifying marks are not required students may compensate for a poor performance in one item by doing really well in another that means overall the unit is passed.

5. How is the unit mark calculated?

Each assessment item has a weighting e.g. 50% or 25%.  The weightings for each assessment item for a unit add up to 100%. The mark achieved for each item of work is then calculated together based on the weightings to give the final unit mark.  The only time this would be different would be if qualifying marks were involved (see above).

6. What’s the different between a "unit" and a "module"?

There is no difference. The University of Bath refers to units: a programme is made up of a number of units.  The software that runs SAMIS uses the term "Module" - they can be used inter-changeably - there is no difference.