UCD

User's Guide to the General Regulations:

2017 / 2018 Academic Session

When should assessments take place?

Assessments for a module should be completed during or as soon as practicable after completion of the module.
(General Regulation 4.1)

What is an assessment component?

Each module should include one or more components of assessment.  An assessment component may be:

  • A single assessment task (e.g. terminal written examination, a major essay or project);  
  • A number of separate assessment tasks, (e.g. series of laboratory reports, tutorial assessments or short tests that make up a single component). 

(General Regulation 4.2.1)

 

 

 

What method of assessment should be used?

A range of assessment methods is strongly encouraged.  In some modules end of semester assessments may be entirely replaced by continuous and/or in-term assessment. Assessment strategies should also be aligned with the learning outcomes of the module, and should be designed to measure competency in those outcomes.  Possible assessment methods include:

  • Formal written examinations
  • In-class written examinations
  • MCQs
  • Laboratory examinations
  • Practical or experimental reports
  • Projects
  • Essays
  • Problem sets
  • Reflective and learning journals
  • Clinical or practical competency assessments
  • Participation in seminar or tutorial settings

(General Regulation 4.2.2)

How and when should assessment strategies be communicated to students?

The assessment strategies of a module should be expressed in the module descriptor in the form of a clear assessment methodology and set of assessment criteria.  These strategies should include any assessment for participation in seminar or tutorial settings.
(General Regulations 1.9 and 4.2.3)

Module assessment strategies should be made known in advance to students participating in the module.  Assessment strategies should be finalised before students begin taking the module.

What should be the duration of formal end-of-semester written examinations?

 

 

 

 

For modules of less than 10 credits, the maximum duration of a formal end-of-semester written examination is 2 hours.  For modules of 10 credits or more, the maximum duration is 3 hours.
(General Regulation 4.3)

 

What is a grade?

A letter grade is the final aggregate result of all assessment components completed for a given module.
(General Regulation 4.4.1)

 

What is a grade point value?

The grade point value is the numerical value associated with a letter grade received in a module, which is used to calculate the grade point average (GPA). 
(See Module Grade Scale for specific grade point values – General Regulation 4.4.1 and FAQ “What are the component and module grading scales and what do the grades mean?” refer.) 
Each grade has a fixed numeric value, which is used to calculate the GPA (unless the grade point value is capped at 2.0 as for repeat attempts). 

What is Grade Point Capping?

Grade point capping means that, regardless of the actual grade awarded, the module carries a maximum grade point value of 2.0 for the purposes of calculating any GPA.  Grade point capping occurs when a module is being resit and/or repeated.
(General Regulation 5.14)

 

What is a neutral grade point value?

A neutral grade point value means that the module is not counted in any GPA calculation. 

What is a Grade Point Average (GPA)?

GPA is the numeric average of the grades achieved. There are three types of GPA that are calculated: Stage GPA, Compensation GPA, and Award GPA.

 

  • Stage GPA. The Stage GPA is calculated when a student has successfully completed a stage i.e. a student’s final successful attempt of those modules which have been completed and passed to satisfy the credit requirements of the stage.   The Stage GPA includes all modules, including electives, that are taken as part of the stage, and including the final grades of any modules that are repeated and passed during a second attempt.  It does not include extra credit modules or failed modules—students with failed modules cannot complete a stage.  The Stage GPA is calculated by multiplying the grade point value for each module by the number of credits assigned for the module, summing the resultant values, and dividing by the total number of credits for the stage (as indicated in the table below for a 60-credit stage).  

(General Regulation 5.15.2)

 

Module

Grade

Value

Multiply

Credits

Points

Earned

1

A+

4.2

X

5

21

2

A

4.0

X

5

20

3

A-

3.8

X

5

19

4

C-

2.6

X

5

13

5

B

3.4

X

5

17

6

B-

3.2

X

5

16

7

B+

3.6

X

5

18

8

C+

3.0

X

5

15

9

A

4.0

X

5

20

10

D+

2.4

X

5

12

11

D

2.2

X

10

22

Totals

 

 

 

60

193

Stage GPA calculated (193 / 60 = 3.21667, rounded to 3.22)

 

3.22

 

PLEASE NOTE: No modules taken in any stage in UCD are passable by compensation. An E grade received for any module registered to and taken in 2014/15 or earlier, that was eligible to compensate, will still be eligible to compensate in 2016/17.
(General Regulation 5.7)

 

Where grades of AU (audit), W (withdrawn), WX (withdrawn owing to extenuating circumstances), I (incomplete temporary), IX (incomplete owing to extenuating circumstances) or IP (incomplete permanent) are recorded, these grades are treated as neutral and are excluded from the compensation calculation.  (General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

Additonal information for staff on compensation can be accessed here.

  

  • Award GPA. The Award GPA is used to classify the overall award of all university programmes.

For an Undergraduate Honours Bachelor Degree programme, the Award GPA is calculated based on all modules, excluding extra credit modules, which the student completed and passed to satisfy the credit requirements of either (1) their final stage only, (2) their final and penultimate stages, weighted evenly (50/50) or (3) their final and penultimate stages, with grade points of final stage modules weighted by a factor of 7 and grade points of penultimate stage modules weighted by a factor of 3.  The method of calculation is determined by the Programme Board.  Programmes wishing to use another method of honours calculation must obtain the approval of the University Programmes Board.

(General Regulation 6.2)

For a Graduate Taught Degree Programme, the Award GPA is calculated based on all modules which the student completed and passed, in order to satisfy the credit requirements of the programme. Where the programme is completed in two stages, the grades from both stages contribute to the Award GPA, with the exception of approved programmes in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) where the award GPA is determined from the grades awarded in the final stage only.

(General Regulation 6.2.5)

 

How will module assessment results be shown as grades?

Students will receive a grade for each assessment component of a module.  A single module grade is the final aggregate result of all assessment components completed for that module.  The aggregate result is calculated by Gradebook using the numeric equivalents of the component grades, and the relative contribution of each component element to the final grade.
(General Regulation 4.6)

What are the component and module grading scales and what do the grades mean?

Module Grade Scale

The module grade scale shows the letter grades that are available as final module grades.  Where there are multiple assessment components, these grades represent the final aggregate result of all of the components. 

 

MODULE GRADE SCALE

 

GRADE

GRADE-POINT

DESCRIPTION

A+

4.2

Excellent

A

4

A-

3.8

B+

3.6

Very Good

B

3.4

B-

3.2

C+

3

Good

C

2.8

C-

2.6

D+

2.4

Acceptable

D

2.2

D-

2

E

1.6

Fail (marginal*)

F

1.0

Fail (unacceptable)

G

0.4

Fail (wholly unacceptable)

NG

0

No grade (no work was submitted by the student or student was absent from the assessment, or work submitted did not merit a grade).

* An E grade may be compensated where temporarily permitted under section 5.7.1 of the regulations.

(General Regulation 4.4.1)

 

Component Grade Scale

 

The component grade scale shows the letter grades that are available for each component of a module.  This scale is different from the module grade scale in that E, F and G grades are broken down into plus and minus grades (i.e. E+, E, E-, etc.). 

 

COMPONENT GRADE SCALE

COMPONENT GRADE

DESCRIPTION

A+

 

Excellent

A

A-

B+

 

Very good

B

B-

C+

 

Good

C

C-

D+

 

Acceptable

D

D-

E+

Fail

 

E

E-

F+

Fail

F

F-

G+

 

Fail

 

G

G-

NG

No grade

                                                                                                (General Regulation 4.5)

 

 

 

Pass / Fail / Distinction Grade Scale

 

Where module outcomes cannot be assessed at the level of detail required to return a grade of A, B, C, etc., the results may be returned as pass/fail, or distinction/pass/fail.  Both DS and P are neutral, meaning they are not included in the GPA calculation.  However, F and NG have the same grade points as in the module grade scale and are included in GPA calculation.

 

 

MODULE GRADE

GRADE-POINT

DESCRIPTION

DS

neutral

Passed with distinction

P

neutral

Pass  

F

1.0

Fail  

NG

0

No Grade

 

(General Regulation 4.4.2)

 

Grades in Exceptional Circumstances: Audit, Withdrawal, Incomplete, Extenuating Circumstances?

There are other grades that may be returned and/or awarded by the Programme Examination Board, at its discretion, to signify particular circumstances or outcomes.  These are outlined below:

 

AU – Audit                                                                       

  • Returned where a student audits the module by prior agreement with the module co-ordinator, registers as audit and is not graded;
  • No credit is awarded and the module will not appear on either the transcript or Diploma Supplement;
  • An AU is grade point neutral, which means it does not count towards the GPA;
  • A subsequent attempt at the module is treated as a first attempt. 

(General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

W – Withdrawn                                                                                 

  • Returned where a student withdraws within the first 6 weeks of the semester;
  • No credit is awarded;
  • A W is grade point neutral, which means it does not count towards the GPA;
  • A subsequent attempt at the module is treated as a first attempt.

(General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

WX – Withdrawn or absent due to extenuating circumstances    

  • Returned, at the discretion of the Programme Examination Board, where a student withdraws from a module after the first 6 weeks of the semester, and provides medical or other certification according to a UCD proforma indicating that they had an incapacitating illness or circumstance that prevented them from completing the module and/or associated assessments;
  • Application for WX grades should be made as close as possible to the assessment(s) affected and in advance of the meeting of the Programme Examination Board; retrospective claims may be considered where there are valid reasons for non-submission; 
  • No credit is awarded;
  • A WX is grade point neutral, which means it does not count towards the GPA;
  • A subsequent attempt at the module is treated as a first attempt.

(General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

WL – Withdrawn late or absent without accepted extenuating circumstances   

  • Returned where a student withdraws from a module after the first 6 weeks of the semester and before the end of the 13th week of the semester and fails to provide evidence that satisfies the programme Examination Board that the grade WX should be awarded;
  • No credit is awarded;
  • The grade point counts towards the GPA;
  • The grade point is 0, the same as an NG;
  • A subsequent attempt at that module is treated as a repeat attempt, which means that the module will be capped.

(General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

I – Incomplete (temporary)                                                             

  • Returned where a student has passed the assessments associated with a module overall, but has not satisfactorily completed some assessments or activities which must be completed and passed separately;
  • Only used in a very limited set of circumstances at the discretion of the Programme Examination Board;
  • Credit will not be awarded unless these assessments or activities, or equivalent assessments or activities prescribed by the School, are satisfactorily completed within a set period prescribed by the Programme Examination Board but not exceeding one calendar year;
  • May only be awarded where:
    • The module descriptor clearly indicates that the assessments or activities must be completed and passed separately and that credit will not be awarded unless and until they are satisfactorily completed;
    • The activities required to satisfactorily complete the module, and the time available to do this are clearly communicated in writing to the student by the Programme Board;
  • Where the outstanding activities, or their equivalent, are satisfactorily completed within the prescribed time, the credit, final grade and the full grade point associated with that grade are awarded, and the incomplete removed from the transcript and Diploma Supplement;
  • Failure to satisfactorily complete the required assessments or activities within the time prescribed by the Programme Examination Board (not exceeding one calendar year) will be awarded an IP grade.

(General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

IX – Incomplete (extenuating circumstances)                         

  • Returned either (a) on the recommendation of a School and approved by the Programme Examination Board, or (b) on the recommendation of the Programme Examination Board, where:
    • A student has been unable to satisfactorily complete a component (or components) of assessment; and
    • The student provides medical or other certification according to a UCD proforma supporting the position that they had an incapacitating illness or circumstance which prevented them from so doing.
  • The student must complete the component (or components) of assessment or complete some equivalent assessment(s) set by the School, within a period prescribed by the School but no later than the end of the subsequent semester;
  • Where the assessments set by the School are completed within the prescribed time the final aggregate grade and the full grade point associated with that grade are awarded, along with the associated credit (provided the final grade is a passing grade) and the incomplete is removed from the transcript and Diploma Supplement;
  • Where the student does not complete some or all of the required assessments within the prescribed time, a final aggregate grade is calculated at the end of the semester by carrying forward where necessary the grades for the incomplete components of assessment from the original attempt.

(General Regulation 4.4.3).

 

IP – Incomplete (permanent)                                              

  • Awarded where a student has failed to remedy an I grade within the period prescribed by the Programme Board;
  • No credit awarded;
  • An IP is grade point neutral, which means it does not count towards the GPA;
  • A subsequent attempt at the module is treated as a repeat attempt, which means that the module will be capped

(General Regulation 4.4.3)

 

Do students have to pass all components of assessment within a module?

In most cases, no.  Where multiple components of assessment within a module contribute to the final grade, the module will not normally require that any of the components have to be passed separately.  However, in exceptional circumstances, for specified educational or professional accreditation reasons, a School, with the recommendation of the relevant Programme Board or Graduate School Board and with the approval of the University Programmes Board, may require an individual component of assessment within a module to be completed and passed separately in order to award credit for the module. Such a component is referred to as a ‘must-pass component’.
(General Regulation 4.7)

 

What is compensation and when does it occur?

Compensation is where a student’s performance across all the modules attempted in a stage is reviewed by the Programme Examination Board to see if it can compensate for any modules the student may have failed with an E grade.  However, compensation has now been phased out, and no modules taken in any stage in UCD are passable by compensation.

  • An E grade received for any module registered to and taken in 2014/15 or earlier, that was eligible to compensate, will still be eligible to compensate in 2016/17.

(The detailed provisions relating to compensation are contained in General Regulation 5.7)

Additional information for staff on compensation can be accessed at http://www.ucd.ie/registry/assessment/staff_info/compensation%20for%20staff.html  

 

 

 

What are the different roles and responsibilities with respect to assessment and the finalisation of grades?

The Head of School is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the accuracy and validity of the assessment instruments used and the grades returned for all modules co-ordinated by that School (General Regulation 4.8);
  • Ensuring that the provisional grades awarded by Module Co-ordinators for individual modules are subsequently validated by the School (General Regulation 4.10);
  • Establishing a Modular Examination Committee, which will review and agree the grades for the modules co-ordinated by that School (the composition of this committee is subject to review by Academic Council) ( General Regulation 4.11.1);
  • Convening a number of separate Modular Examination Committees where a School co-ordinates modules in different subjects or coordinates a large number of modules ( General Regulation 4.11.1).

 

 

 The Module Co-ordinator is responsible for:

  • Setting assessments and examinations, and stating remediation opportunities;
  • Ensuring that an appropriate process is in place for grading all assessment components of the module; 
  • Assuring the quality of the grading process;
  • Ensuring that grades for a module are entered on the Student Information System on or before a deadline specified by the Academic Council.  
    (
    General Regulation 4.9)

 

 A Programme Examination Board is responsible for: 

 

  • Reviewing and approving the final grades of all modules.
    (
    General Regulation 4.12.1)

How is a Programme Examination Board established and how does it function?

The composition of the Programme Examination Board is the responsibility of Academic Council and may be determined by such regulation or policy as Academic Council deems appropriate. Membership of the Boards will be recommended by the Programme Board to the Academic Council Committee on Examinations for approval, subject to the regulations and policies established by Academic Council.  Programme Examination Boards must have the range of expertise required to properly examine all subjects considered by the Committee. 
(General Regulation 4.12.2)

The Programme Examination Board’s decisions are subject to review by the Academic Council Committee on Examinations in accordance with the statutes and regulations of the University
(
General Regulation 4.12.3)

When will final grades be published?

When all relevant Modular Examination Committees have met and reported, the grades are then approved by the Programme Examination Board, and published as final grades. 
(
General Regulation 4.12.1)