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Assessment for psychology courses for study-abroad students

by Steve Draper, foreign student liaison for the Psychology school.

This page is intended for students, staff, and course administrators together. Here I attempt a clear statement about what Psychology will do for assessment for visiting "study-abroad" students.

The overall policy is that students will do the same assessments as home students wherever possible.

If that is not possible, because the assessment is an exam in a semester that the visitor is not registered and present for, then a term paper will be substituted (IN ADDITION to any coursework that is part of the modules they are taking), one for each course taken. This possible substitution of a term paper does not affect students visiting in semester 2; nor semester 1 courses that can be examined in December. Currently the substitution of a term paper for an exam only applies to some of the level 4 courses:

Students who are thereby required to sit exams must therefore be here in the exam periods which are published by the university, and are roughly (in 2011-12) 7-16 of Dec, and 16 April-18 May. This means they may not leave Glasgow early for Christmas or a summer break, take summer jobs that prevent them being here, etc. (This is now the policy recommended by this University's office for (international) student recruitment. It is also apparently required by some home universities e.g. the University of California. The thinking is that students should not be allowed concessions that are not permitted to home students here, nor would be permitted at their home institutions.)

Note that some courses (especially in Level 4) have coursework in addition to the final exam or term paper: see the course documentation. Failing to hand this in will normally lead to failing the whole course. Which courses have such coursework is given on page 3 of the level-4 course documentation, along with the deadlines for coursework which are unrelated to deadlines for term papers or dates for exams.

Students who would like some advice about doing written work for this school/department, may consult Lorna Morrow about all written work for the school (including essays, lab reports, etc.), at all levels.

Exam assessment

Students will sit the same assessment as home students as long as they are registered for the semester in which the relevant exam is held. This assessment is described in the course handbook for home students, and foreign students should study this and follow it exactly. In a few cases (e.g. a Critical Review module) the assessment may be by coursework. In most cases in Psychology, it is by a single final exam for each course.

For level 3 courses for students only here for semester 1 we will use, not the exams organised by the university, but "class exams" organised within the school:

Most level 4 options taught in weeks 1-5 of semester 1 will be examined in the regular University exams in December: Psy. of Abnormality, Leadership, Psy. of Will, Basics of Joint Attention. (The other level 4 options in semester 1 will have term papers, as listed above, and described below.)

For other exams, it is each student's responsibility to find out about what exams they have to take, and when and where they will be held. Due to pressure on space in possible exam halls, final announcements about this, which are done by the Registry not the school, are often quite late in the year (e.g. early March for the April-May exams); although generally exams are in April to May. Students taking exams in more than one subject area may find they have a clash: it is their responsibility to detect this, and then immediately to consult with their Advisor about this. Such crucial information may be posted in various places, but the most official listing is on the Registry website. Pointers to this site, and to information about where exam halls are located, are collected here.

Exam Practice

Exams: Summary To-Do for students

  • Find out which exams you will take by consulting this page for level 3 courses and/or the handbook.
  • Consult the Registry web site, noticeboards etc. near the time to find out the time and place of each exam.
  • Check for clashes between exams in different subjects and take the initiative in sorting them out.

    Exams: Summary To-Do for staff

    No special actions required. Foreign students will be examined in the same way as home students.

    Assessment by term papers

    Students who are here for only the first part of the academic year will mostly be assessed (in addition to any coursework required for that module) by special term papers instead of exams, one for each course taken. These will be about 2,500 words long, will normally be decided by the staff member giving the course, available from the course administrator who posts them on the portal by half way through the course, and will be due by the end of the semester i.e. before the school closes for Christmas; in this case by Thursday 15 Dec. 2011. The questions should normally be from past exam papers, as QA requires that they have been vetted by the External Examiner.

    It is the responsibility of each student to obtain these questions from the course administrator. Currently, these are posted as they become available on the psychology portal: from the home page look in the side menu for "Visiting students" and click "information". ( Half way through the course is a reasonable time to receive them.

    They should be word processed to the same standard as other student work in this school (see the course handbook). In brief: 2,500 words each, A4 paper, point size 10 or bigger, a standard font e.g. Times, a cover sheet explaining comprehensively what this piece of work is, the essay question being answered, and the course it is for. Additionally, two copies of each paper are required.

    Both copies should be handed in, not to the lecturer, but to the course administrator dealing with that course e.g. Karen Pirie for level 3 courses and Lynda Young for level 4 courses.

    Staff will receive the papers for marking at the end of semester, and should return them marked on the normal school marking scales by the start of the following semester. All translation of grades from our scales to other scales will be dealt with elsewhere.

    Term papers: Summary To-Do for students

  • The essay topics should be posted on the portal (see above). Nominally available by half way through the semester. If not, enquire of the course administrator (personally or by email) on each course for the topic for the term paper.
  • Hand both copies of your answer into the course administrator by the end of the semester. Clearly label each paper with the course, your name and student number, and that this is a "term paper by a visiting student".

    Term papers: Summary To-Do for lecturing staff

  • For every level 3 or 4 course running in semester 1, decide on a topic and send it (either email of dropbox) to the relevant course secretary saying what course it is for. Consult with any other lecturers on that course. Set one question per course. Mid-semester is a reasonable time for this: earlier is better.
  • The questions should if possible be from past exam papers, as QA requires that they have been vetted by the External Examiner. Just check that the one you choose is still covered by the course this year. There is no need to give students a choice: this is not an unseen exam.
  • If you don't have past papers to hand, you can get them online from the library: see here.
  • If asked for topics by a foreign student, tell them to collect them from the course secretary (and refer to them to this web page).
  • When you receive the scripts from the course secretary at the end of semester, mark them by the start of the next semester and return them to her.

    Term papers: Summary To-Do for admin. staff

  • When topics (questions) for term papers are sent into you, keep a record not just of what the question is, but WHO set it (as you will need to send the answers to that lecturer for marking).
  • Post them on the portal.
  • Foreign students should get the questions from there.
  • If no topic has been set, email the staff member(s) and remind them; and get me to pursue them further.
  • When answers are handed in by the students, these term papers should be treated rather like critical reviews: records kept of what was handed in (and when); the standard marking scale sent out with it; one copy of the essay kept in the office and the other sent for marking; one reminder sent IMMEDIATELY at the start of the January semester about overdue marks; a reminder a week later to me on the state of play, for me to follow up on.


    Students will normally be registered using the same course codes as home students. Obviously for students staying a whole year and being assessed in the same way as home students, this will work normally. For shorter stay students, Registry is now set up to detect automatically that a student is leaving early, and to send to the school a results return (pink and white) form listing those students at the appropriate time (and not to ask again in June for results for those students). This depends on their Advisor (Colette McGowan) having entered in the correct codes marking them as leaving early. We should check that by a careful enough scrutiny of the records through MyCampus. Any Registry return forms should be sent to me.

    The essays should be kept, and made available (together with the marks given) for the examiners' meetings later in the session.

    Exam/course results

    Use MyCampus. This allows students to see their results immediately they have been accepted by Reigstry, from anywhere in the world. MyCampus will also allow students to change the address to which paper notification of results is posted.

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