Assessment, Coursework and Examinations

ASSESSMENT, COURSEWORK AND EXAMINATIONSThis section of the handbook goes into more detail about submitting coursework, the importance of it's 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.

In some cases, you may be required to submit a printed copy of your coursework to the College office. This information will also be supplied by your module tutor.

The Coursework Submission Office (Reception area of the EPS College Centre) is open from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday. The office is closed promptly everyday at 2pm and a drop-box facility is available during out-of-office hours (this is located just outside the doors to EPS College Centre Reception). Coursework submitted via the drop-box will be stamped with the submission date of the following day. Don’t leave submission of your work until the last minute as there can be queues! All work submitted via a hard copy to the Coursework Office should include a cover sheet (available to you via MyAstonPortal). For work to be handed in to the Coursework Submission Office, students will need to:

  • Print off the Submission Cover sheet from MAP and attach it to your work securely.
  • Take it to the Coursework Submission Office where the work will be stamped, then scanned and an email notification will be sent to you confirming receipt.

It is the student’s responsibility to bring the coursework bound and secured for submission. Ensure you have appropriate stationery for submission (folders, stapled, etc), as you cannot purchase this from the Coursework Submission Office.

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, when School offices are not open to receive submissions, 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 after the 5 working day deadline will be accepted by the College office but will be recorded with a mark of zero (0-PN). Such work will require evidence of exceptional circumstances which meet the regulations before an academic mark for it will be considered at the module board.
  • 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 College. 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 note that coursework marks will be released within 3 working weeks of submission, and exam marks will be released after the relevant exam board.

Please find guidance on exams and assessments, including our 'Fit to Sit' exam policy, here.

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) in the last week of August and first week 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 iImproving 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 Undergraduate Programmes. 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:

 External Examiners table for website UG student handbooks

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.