FAQ: Exam Codes & Procedures

Following a meeting with members of the Registrar’s Office, the KSU Education Office would like to highlight the correct procedures for the publication of examination scripts and the use of examination codes. These codes are numbers assigned to each particular script to maintain anonymity during correction. They are unique to each script which is used by the student for each exam and serve to maintain transparency.

Nevertheless, the KSU Education Office occasionally receives reports of inappropriate  procedure and will act upon any such report, so please do not hesitate to contact us on education@ksu.org.mt and inform us of this.

Prior to the exam:

Questions, marking schemes as well as other criteria for assessment are set by the lecturers in charge of the study-unit.  Where more than one lecturer is involved, a Study-Unit Coordinator will oversee this process.

13. (3) The lecturer or Study-Unit Co-ordinator shall be responsible for the setting of the questions, the mark scheme, and/or any other Assessment criteria as appropriate, provided that when a Unit is taught by more than one lecturer, the Study-Unit Co-ordinator shall be responsible for coordinating the production of the Examination paper, including the gathering of questions from the individual examiners/auxiliary examiners, the writing of the rubric and all other matters related to the proper production of the Examination paper.

The Board of Examiners, which is made up of at least three members of the academic staff , is appointed beforehand by Senate and is responsible for checking that the paper is suitable and also play a role in the allocation of final marks. The members on this board will include the Head of Department as chairman, an external examiner if appointed, and at least two other examiners including the lecturer or Study-Unit coordinator.

12. (1) There shall be a Board of Examiners for the assessment of each Study-Unit. The Board of Examiners shall be solely responsible to Senate for determining the marks to be awarded to each student.

(2) The Board of Examiners shall be appointed by Senate on the recommendation of the Board and shall be composed of the Head of the Department academically responsible for the Study-Unit concerned as chairman, the external examiner when one is appointed, and not less than two other examiners including the lecturer or the Study-Unit Co-ordinator, provided that for Boards of Examiners for dissertations and in cases where the Head of Department is also responsible for the teaching of the Study-Unit, the Head may delegate the chairmanship.

13. (1) The Board of Examiners, collectively, shall be responsible for:
(a) the preparation of the Assessment to ensure that it meets the requirements and objectives of the Study-Unit and that it covers the subject content specified in the Study-Unit description or syllabus; and
(b) the correction of scripts and the moderation and award of the final marks.
(c)  reviewing the marks of students who do not obtain an overall pass mark for a Study-Unit before the final result is agreed to and published.

(2) The Chairman shall:
(a) ensure that the process of examination is conducted properly and in a timely manner;
(b) where necessary, engage in discussion with members of the Board of Examiners with a view to agree the Assessment questions and mark scheme; and
(c) convene a meeting of the Board of Examiners to review and agree results, provided that a Department may agree that the Boards of Examiners of all or of selected study-units are convened at one meeting during which the results of the study-units concerned are discussed. In such cases the responsibility of agreeing the results of each Study-Unit remains solely with the members of the Board of Examiners appointed for that Unit.

14. (1) The Examination process shall include a review procedure as follows:
(a)  when a paper is set by one or two examiners, another member of the Board of Examiners shall be designated as the reviewer; and
(b)  when three or more examiners are responsible for the setting of an Examination paper, and it is not practicable to appoint another member to act solely as reviewer, the review process shall be conducted by members of the Board of Examiners so that the questions and associated mark schemes prepared by one examiner are reviewed by another.

(2) The reviewer shall:
(a) ensure that the Examination paper is clear and unambiguous and that it addresses the learning outcomes of the Study-Unit in question;
(b) ensure that the Examination paper is properly proofread and that the paper and mark scheme are free of error and of the required standard;
(c) ensure that the marks allotted to each question are indicated on the examination paper; and
(d) work out the paper him/herself to look out for any inconsistencies and discrepancies where applicable.

15.  When External Examiners are appointed for a written Examination, weighted 60% or more, the Board of Examiners shall submit the draft Examination paper and mark scheme for their advice.  External Examiners may suggest questions of their own.

The exam paper is then signed and forwarded to the departmental secretary in order to start the process of preparation for the exam, including photocopying the exam paper, and so on.

On examination day:

The exam paper is given out and all the instructions are given on what materials are allowed, how to fill out the booklet front sheet and any particular procedures on filling in booklets intended for different lecturers to correct. The students are required to write their names down only once on the first page above the broken line as instructed.

Once the exam is over, the invigilator starts the reconciliation to confirm that all exam papers and booklets used were handed back.

Correction of examination papers:

A unique  number is assigned to each script, in ranges allocated according to the faculty. This number is tied to a script and not to a student and therefore will change for each exam the student sits for. This number is then written at the top of the paper and near the student’s name.

The part of the exam paper containing the student’s name is then cut off and the exam paper, containing only the office number, is handed to the examiners for correction.

When all the papers have been corrected, they are handed back to the departmental secretary along with the marks allocated to each number present on the scripts. The slips are then compared with the mark sheet in order to confirm student identities and the results are inputted.

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FAQ: Examination Publication Deadlines

KSU has been informed of several exam results which have not yet been published. While lecturers have until the end of July to submit results, which are then published up to one or two weeks later, many have justifiably pointed out the downsides of these deadlines.

KSU is committed to improve the efficiency of the exam result publication process and for this reason is asking for any feedback you may have regarding any results which have not been published. Students are encouraged to email the Study-Unit Module Code, Course and Year of the unpublished results to education@ksu.org.mt.

Below is also an excellent article on the issue, written by Jonathan Falzon who was the KSU Education Commissioner for the 2011/2012 term.

                                                            

Reasonably, students expect to have their examination results as soon as possible. It has become common practice at the KSU office that students approach us to complain about the fact that their results have not yet been issued. Unfortunately, most students do not know when to expect such results, and what deadlines are given to the academic staff for corrections, and this creates more uncertainties which do not help the worried student.

Some students claim that they spend hours refreshing their eSIMS page waiting for their results to be available. The University’s academic staff are guided by the Collective Agreement which regulates the lecturer’s employment conditions, including deadlines for the submission of results. The respective deadlines are as follows:

  • For the January examination session – by the end of March
  • For the May/June session – by the end of July
  • For the September session – by the end of September

Apart from such deadlines, students must wait for another week or two for the publication of these results on eSIMS as the administrative faculty staff need time to process such data before publication. Many representatives have recently voiced their concerns, holding that these deadlines might be too broad and therefore the KSU Education Commission has recently set up a committee to give feedback during the negotiations for the new collective agreement, which should start by 2013.

Education Commissioner 2011/2012 Jonathan Falzon has approached various students from different courses and asked them: Why should examination results be published earlier?

Julia Farrugia
B.A. (English and Communication Studies) – 1st year

“Exam results should be published earlier due to the fact that they act as motivation. Although all students should study hard throughout the year this is hardly ever the case. Therefore exam results act as a boost, those who have done well in their exams are encouraged to continue working hard and those who did not do as well as they wished realise their mistake and start studying properly. Feedback is a necessary element in all aspects of life and the earlier it is given the more effective it is.”

Bianca Casha
B.Com (Marketing and Management) – 2nd year

“I think exam results should be published earlier because it isn’t fair to keep us students in anguish for that long. Also, because it is difficult to concentrate in lectures and new assignments given, while you’re desperately waiting for results. As for the June ones, waiting longer means less time to study for resits.”

Malcolm Zammit
B.Mech.Eng(Hons.) – 3rd Year

“Students dedicate so much time studying for examinations; therefore informing us in adequate time is only fair. No student should be left in a compromising position with regards to deciding for their future because of late issuing of exam results. A more efficient system of publishing results would help students in not forcibly procrastinating from taking important decisions or start preparation in case of re-sit exams. This would be of benefit to academic staff as well in portraying higher efficiency and concern for students.”

James Debono
L.L.B – 3rd year

“After a nerve-racking exam period, students expect results to come out in a reasonable time and not undergo long anxious waits. Earlier publications are far more essential for those who fail major subjects which they have to re-sit for, especially those which determine whether one graduates or not.”

Mauro Miceli
M.A. (European Studies) – 1st year

“Results should be available as soon as possible as waiting for their publication increases stress on students. After the January session, students do not concentrate fully on lectures till results are published and in the June session students need time to study for resits. It is important that results are published in the quickest time possible. If students don’t stick to deadlines they are usually failed, certain penalties should be issued to lecturers who do not stick to timeframes as agreed with the University.”

Jonathan Falzon
KSU Education Commissioner 2011/2012

FAQ: Supplementary Assessments & Revision of Paper

The information regarding the maximum number of credits you can resit in the General Regulations for University Undergraduate Awards under the title ‘Supplementary Assessments’:

http://www.um.edu.mt/registrar/regulations/general/harmonisedregs-09

In short, you can resit up to 16 ECTS credits. Should you fail to pass the resits, you can refer up to 10 ECTS of them and redo them in the next year. Students can only sit for an exam for 4 times, after which they will have to discontinue the course.

Students are automatically registered for resits once they fail the first sit of their exams and are listed as ‘Conditional Progression’. Students must also make a distinction between Compensatable (C) and Non-Compensatable (CN) units. It is only with compensatable units that one may obtain a Compensated Pass  (CP) on fulfilling these two conditions:

– Obtaining a mark of 35% or more in the exam.

– Possessing an average of 50% or more in the program of studies.

With non-compensatable units one must obtain a pass mark of 45% or more. The University regulations describing these rules can be found under the title ‘Assessment Methods’ in regulation 50.

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Revision of paper may be applied for through the following process:

– Filling in the application form available both on the University website (http://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/39214/revfrm.pdf) as well as eSIMS.

– Payment of the required fee at the Unviersity MaltaPost branch.

– Submission of the application form together with the receipt provided at Room 113 in Administration Building.

The guidelines provided on the University website (http://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/39213/revguide.pdf) and eSIMS both provide useful insight into the process as well as regulations governing the revision of paper including, but not limited to, refunds, applicable changes in grades etc.

Late publication of examination results

Many students have been contacting the Education Office lately, complaining that no results have been published yet, and that this is very unfair, particularly when one considers the limited amount of time remaining for the September Examination Period to start, during which resit examinations are held.

Unfortunately, due to a collective agreement which is valid till 2013, University administration is legally allowed till around mid-April to publish the results of the January Examination Period and mid-August to publish the results of the June Examination Period.

When the collective agreement expires in 2013, KSU will be the first to speak out for shorter time frames for the publication of results. Until then, however, not much can be done, as University administration is not infringing any regulations or agreements.