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Academic decision-making 2022/23

How we made academic decisions to award our degrees during the national marking and assessment boycott in the 2022/23 academic year.

On this page we provide information about how we make academic decisions to award our degrees. This includes information about how we made academic decisions during the national marking and assessment boycott which impacted the 2022/23 academic year.

We offer a range of courses and awards, some of which are accredited by professional bodies. Most of our students follow undergraduate programmes that lead to bachelor or master’s awards. Most postgraduate students follow taught programmes that lead to master’s awards.

This description is about how we assess taught programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It does not cover the individual assessment of students for research degrees such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Rule-based assessment regulations

Decisions about students’ progression, their ability to remain on a programme, their eligibility for an award, and their award classifications, are made according to our rule-based assessment regulations and appropriate levels of academic judgement.

In some of our programmes, it is important to pass all or specific units. In other programmes, we tolerate minor amounts of failure, which allows a student to try an area of study without having to pass every item.

We govern our programmes and awards by sets of common assessment regulations that take these differences into account. For example, the level of the award or its professional accreditation status will determine precisely which set of rules are followed. However, we have designed these regulations to form a coherent whole. This approach makes us confident of degree standards that are appropriate to each type of study and award.

The full sets of assessment regulations are available on our website.

We have arrangements for when something goes wrong for a student. We can allow students to suspend their studies if they are ill or otherwise unable to study for extended periods. We can grant extensions for coursework deadlines if, for example, a student is ill for a period leading up to the normal submission date. We have the means to consider “Individual Mitigating Circumstances” (IMCs), when these temporarily prevent a student from undertaking assessment or significantly impair the student’s performance in assessment.

The mitigating circumstances arrangements are available from our Assessment regulations webpage.

We have an internal complaint process. We also have an Academic Appeals regulation (Regulation 17) that allows students to appeal against academic decisions on clearly specified grounds. Students who remain dissatisfied with the outcomes of these processes may be able to appeal to the external Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

Our Boards of Examiners

There are three tiers of academic decision-making to assure academic standards on behalf of Senate. Following the setting and marking of assessments that have been reviewed by External Examiners:

  • The BEU (Board of Examiners for Units) determines the marks for individual units in its subject area. The BEU is responsible for confirming that the assessments provided an appropriate level of academic challenge, and the marks are an accurate reflection of the standards achieved by the students.

  • The BEP (Boards of Examiners for Programmes) makes decisions about progression, awards, classifications and whether students can remain on the programme(s) under their academic authority. The BEP also determines what permitted action (if any) can be taken for an individual student if they have an IMC.

  • The Boards of Studies consider the recommendations from the BEP and give approval to decisions on progression and on the making of awards and classifications.

National marking and assessment boycott 2022/23

Most of our students were unaffected by the 2022/23 marking and assessment boycott. They had a full set of marks, and decisions about progression, award, and classification were made as normal at the end-of-year decision point.

However, for some students, the marking of some of their assessments was not undertaken by the end-of-year decision point. This meant some Boards of Examiners did not have a full set of final marks to consider when making decisions for these students.

Our highest academic decision-making body, Senate, agreed measures to allow Boards to continue making academically robust decisions for these students. These measures align with regulatory guidance produced by the Quality Assurance Agency and the Office for Students. Professional, Statutory and Regulatory bodies were also consulted, where appropriate.

We are committed to maintaining the quality, rigour, and value of University of Bath awards and decisions made during 2022/23 were based on actual marks and outcomes and normal assessment regulations.

This means we made award and classification decisions using the unit marks known at the time of the award, including interim marks. These award or classification decisions were not estimated or predicted but based on known academic achievement at the time of award.

The national marking and assessment boycott ended in early in September 2023, after which marking was finalised. Interim assessment and unit marks were replaced with final marks through Boards of Examiners. For finalist students, final decision-making for classifications used normal assessment regulations. For continuing students, final decision-making about progression and supplementary assessment requirements used normal assessment regulations with some additional Senate-agreed policy.

In practice during the national marking and assessment boycott:

Interim assessment and unit marks

  • For some assessments, it was still possible to robustly determine that the pass threshold had been met. These assessments had an interim mark of the pass mark, with an indicative grade of AD (admin delay).
  • For some assessments, it was not possible to robustly determine any mark. These assessments had an interim mark of 0AD. This was not a failure, but a ‘flag’ that the assessment mark was not known yet.
  • Where there was an interim assessment mark, this was included in calculating the interim unit mark.
  • Interim marks were minimum levels of achievement; the final mark either stayed the same or went up but did not go down.

Interim awards and classifications

  • Decisions were made using normal assessment regulations with some extraordinary approaches to allow the university to formally recognise the definitively known achievement for a student at the end-of-year decision point.
  • If we could not robustly determine whether the intended award requirements had been met, we conferred the highest award possible as an interim measure for the known level of achievement.
  • If we could confirm the intended award requirements had been met, then this award was conferred but with an interim classification. This interim classification was the highest possible for the known level of achievement.
  • Once marking was completed final marks replaced interim marks, and final classifications or final awards were conferred.

Progression decisions

  • Decisions about progression were made according to our normal assessment regulations with an extraordinary approach agreed to allow Boards of Examiners to permit progression for students with interim marks.
  • Progression in these circumstances was only done where it was possible within the context of the requirements of the course. For some courses it was not possible to ignore certain requirements for progression, such as needing students to pass certain essential units, or certain assessment items related to competency standards (including Health and Safety) and Professional, Statuary and Regulatory Body requirements.
  • Students will still be required during the 2023/24 academic year to take supplementary assessment for any 2022/23 units that have been agreed as failed.
  • Where we extraordinarily allowed progression with interim marks, we did not reverse this decision when final marks were known.

How we display student results

We provide a student’s results in two formal formats: a summary transcript commonly issued alongside the degree certificate, and a more detailed record of assessment available to students to download from our student record system.

You can find out more about the University’s transcript on our website.

We are using the “Administrative Delay/AD” grade to indicate that results in an assessment and unit are interim and not yet final.

Students with interim decisions will receive a new transcript and certificate (if applicable) once final decisions have been confirmed.

Transcripts contain explanatory text where there are AD grades, and some decisions and calculations are interim.

Further information

If you would like further general information about academic decision-making or degree standards, please email If you need to confirm an award has been made by the University for an individual, please visit Verify an award.

Page updated Ocober 2023

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