Assessment, Coursework and Examinations

ASSESSMENT, COURSEWORK AND EXAMINATIONSThis section of the handbook goes into more detail about submitting coursework, the importance of its originality and a brief introduction to the role of the exam board and decisions they could make (along with listing the external examiners for your course).


You will be notified of the dates of your coursework submission for the modules you are taking by the lecturers concerned. This information should also be contained in the respective Blackboard module. Coursework will be submitted predominantly electronically via Blackboard and your lecturer will inform you of any specific submission instructions.
Policy on the late submission of work and subsequent penalties:
  • This policy applies to all assessments where there is a formal deadline. In the case of assignments that are submitted in more than one format, the date of submission recorded for lateness penalty purposes will be that of the last piece of work submitted.
  • The late submission of group work will be subject to the same lateness penalties as those for an individual piece of work.
  • Students may submit work up to 5 working days after the formal assessment deadline, but the work will be subject to a penalty. (NB: ‘working days’ excludes submission at weekends and on Bank Holidays or University closed days, but it does not preclude submission during vacations. The 5-working day submission window will therefore continue to run after the last day of a term.)
  • The penalty will be based on a proportion of the awarded mark.
  • The late submission penalty will be 10% of the awarded mark for each working day that the piece of work was submitted after the formal deadline.
  • There will be a penalty collar at first attempt (or any uncapped attempt), in that the final mark for the component of assessment after penalty has been imposed will not fall below the pass mark for that component. If the awarded mark for the component was already below the pass mark, prior to late submission penalty, the awarded mark will stand as the final mark.
  • Work submitted more than 5 days late may be passed to markers in order for students to receive feedback on it, at the discretion of the School. Where this practice is adopted the mark formally recorded will be zero (0-PN).
  • Any exceptions to the late submission policy at module level will be subject to approval by the relevant College’s Learning & Teaching Committee and will be clearly stated in the appropriate Student Handbook. Exemptions to cover a whole programme should be approved by Regulation Sub-Committee.
  • The penalty collar will not apply to second or third attempts, for which a mark capped at the pass mark is formally recorded. Any lateness penalties due will be applied to the mark awarded and may result in a mark that falls below pass level.
  • Late penalties are considered to be discrete from other penalties, and the late penalty collar does not prevent a fail mark resulting in cases where another penalty is also applicable. Late penalties should therefore be levied before any other penalty.
The University's full regulations and policies regarding assessments (of which the above is taken from) can be found here. (Aston University assessment policies AU-RSC-17-1285-A 2020/21)
Students’ ability to meet coursework deadlines may be affected by legitimate issues such as illness. To request an extension, contact your Year Tutor (if you have one) or your Programme Director as soon as you can. There will be occasions where an extension cannot be granted for practical reasons, e.g.  not delaying feedback to other students. Where you believe that circumstances have affected your performance in, or ability to attend an assessment, an Exceptional Circumstances form can be completed. This must be submitted together with supporting evidence attached in accordance with the deadlines found here. You can find more information on what constitutes as Exceptional Circumstances, acceptable forms of supporting evidence and what happens with your forms once submitted here. This page also contains the application forms themselves for download.Please find more information about exams and assessments - such as the university 'Fit to Sit' exam policy - here.


For the University's regulations on Examinations and assessments, visit this link.

Copies of Past Examination papers are available on Blackboard under each module where available, or in your subject group's information module (e.g. CEAC General, Mathematics Noticeboard, etc.)

It is important that all the material you submit as continuous assessment (essays, project reports, laboratory reports, computer assignments etc.) and all examination answers are your own original work. Where material is used from other sources these sources must be clearly identified. If you do not do this, you may be investigated for plagiarism and/or collusion which can have a serious impact on your progression through your course. The University Regulations and definition of academic offences are detailed here. It is strongly recommended that you familiarise yourself with these definitions.To avoid the offences of plagiarism and collusion always:
  • Refer to each source used in your work at the point where it arises in your text;
  • Use quotation marks whenever you are citing an author’s views in his or her own terms;
  • Acknowledge the source of any diagrams, tables or graphical representations of data that have been copied directly from a literature source at the point where they are used;
  • Identify fully all your sources (text, tables, illustrations etc) in a reference list at the end of your work. You should use a standard format for your reference list and unless otherwise advised this should be the author-date (Harvard) system;
  • Name fellow students with whom you have worked.


The Learning and Development Centre can assist you with referencing systems.
The marks from your assessments are used for your module mark. You may receive marks and feedback for assessments from your tutors throughout the year, but these marks are not formal until they have been considered by an Exam Board, and may change as a result of the Exam board. For undergraduate students, this normally happens at the end of the academic year.When the Exam Board meets, it will consider all of your results and decide whether or not you have passed the year and if you can progress to the next stage of your course (or which classification of degree to award, if you are in your final stage of a course). If you have not passed, then the Exam Board will decide whether or not you can resit any failed assessments and how and when they want you to resit.Referred/Deferred Assessments, including exam resits: Students who do not pass a module may be allowed a referred assessment. These take place (normally) towards the end of August/start of September. You should avoid booking a holiday during this period unless you are sure you do not have a referred assessment.Publication of Examination Results:  End of year results will be posted on MAP shortly after the end of the Board of Examiners’ Meeting. A transcript of results will be sent annually to each student’s home address during the summer vacation. Results will not be released by telephone.The University and College has a lot of support measures in place to help you succeed in your studies, but there may be instances where you do not reach the pass standard for a module.
  • You may wish to make an appointment with your personal tutor to reflect on your performance and gain academic guidance on your assessments and feedback. Their contact details are displayed to you on MyAstonPortal.
  • You could also take advantage of the support available from the university’s Learning Development Centre – you can book one-to-one tutorials with help such as Improving revision and/or exam strategies, please see more information here:
  • You can also access a range of support services from The Hub, more information is available here:
  • Independent advice can be sought from the students union, you can see the range of support they offer here:


For detailed explanation of the assessment process and options in case of failure you should consult the General Regulations. For the University's regulations on Examinations and assessments, visit this link

Universities are responsible for the quality of the education they provide and, for the academic standards of the awards they offer.  External examining is one of the important checks on those standards.

Universities appoint External Examiners from higher education, industry, and professional institutions. Those appointed are suitably qualified and experienced and are external to, and independent of, the University.  External Examiners are able to provide carefully considered advice on the academic standards of the awards, programmes and/or modules to which they have been assigned, and can offer advice on good practice and opportunities to improve the quality of those programmes/modules.  External Examiners are also able to offer a view of how standards compare with the same or similar awards at other higher education institutions.

An important feature of external examining in the UK is the provision of annual written reports by each External Examiner.  Universities consider these reports carefully, and either take action in response to any recommendations or make clear the reasons for not taking action.

Students have an important role in the management of standards and quality, and External Examiners' reports are made available to students as part of this and should be discussed at Student Staff Committees. To access the most recent External Examiners’ reports for your programme please see your MAP home page in the Degree Programme information section.

The current External Examiner(s) for your degree are:


Name of External Examiner

Position (e.g. Professor)


BSc Applied Physics, MPhys Applied Physics
David Binks 
University of Manchester
MSc Professional Engineering, PG Dip Professional Engineering
Gordana Collier
Oxford Brookes University
BSc Digital Technology Solutions
David Cooper
University of Chichester Business School
BSc Transport Management, BSc Logistics with Purchasing Management, BSc Logistics with Supply Chain Management, BSc Logistics with Transport Management, BSc Business and Supply Chain Management
Richard Crompton
University of Huddersfield
FD Eng In Engineering (Mechanical, water and Gas transmission Pathways)
Ioanna Dimitriou
University of Nottingham
MSc Professional Engineering, PG Dip Professional Engineering
Bill Drury
Visiting Fellow - University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Innovation, University of Bristol 
BSc Computer Science, BSc Computer Science with Business, BSc Computer Science with Multimedia, BSc Joint Hons Computer Science and Mathematics 
Joseph Finney
Lancaster University
Fd.Eng in Electrical Power Engineering (Distribution), Fd.Eng in Electrical Power Engineering (Transmission), Fd.Eng in Electrical Power Engineering (Power System Management), Fd.Eng in Engineering (Electrical Pathway)
Damian Giaouris
Newcastle University
Foundation Programme in Engineering and Applied Science and International Foundation Programme in Engineering and Applied Science
Nicola Jennings
Loughborough University
BSc Computer Science, BSc Computer Science with Business, BSc Computer Science with Multimedia, BSc Joint Hons Computer Science and Mathematics, MEng Software Engineering
Yanguo Jing
Coventry University
MSc in Mechanical Engineering, MSc Mechanical Engineering (Modelling)
Ivor Arthur Jones
University of Nottingham
BEng Professional Engineering, BEng Professional Engineering (Power Systems)
Barbara Keating
University of Strathclyde
Foundation Degree In Logistics, BSc Logistics and Operations Management
Morag Malins
University of Warwick
MSc Wireless Communications and Networking, MSc Telecommunications Systems
BSc Construction Project Management
Yakubu Olawale
Kier Group Plc
BSc Construction Project Management
Theopisti Papadopoulou
Kingston University London
MSc Product Design
Michael Pieniazek
De Montfort University
BSc Applied Chemistry, BSc Chemistry, BSc Biological Chemistry, BSc Chemistry with Biotechnology
Peter John Skabara
University of Glasgow
BSc Mathematics (Hons), BSc Mathematics with Computing (Hons), BSc Mathematics with Economics (Joint Hons), BSc Business and Mathematics (Joint Hons),
Dirk Hermans
University of Birmingham
BEng/MEng Electrical & Electronic Engineering, BEng Communications Engineering, BEng/MEng Electronic Engineering & Computer Science
Morag Filip
University of Portsmouth
BSc Chemistry, BSc Applied Chemistry, BSc Biological Chemistry
BSc Industrial Product Design, BSc Transport Product Design, BSc Product Design & Management
Simon Harrison
University of Nottingham
BEng/MEng Mechanical Engineering, BEng Electromechanical Engineering, BEng Design Engineering
Matthew Murphy
University of Liverpool
MSc Computer Science, MSc IT Project Management, MSc Software Engineering, MSc Artificial Intelligence
Natalia Alechina
University of Nottingham
MEng Chemical Engineering, BEng Chemical Engineering
Nigel Slater
University of Cambridge
MSc Engineering Leadership and Management, MSc Engineering Management, MSc Supply Chain Management, MSc Industrial Enterprise Management
MSc Telecommunications Systems, MSc Data Communication Networks, MSc Wireless Communications and Networking
MSc Electrical Power Engineering and Systems
Xiao-Ping Zhang
University of Birmingham

The role of External Examiner does not include responding to individual student queries, and if you have any queries about an External Examiner’s report, you should contact your student representative who will raise the issue with the University Programme Director or at a Student Staff Committee on your behalf