Academic Office

Modes of Assessment


The Academic Policy and Standards Committee has approved the following list of assessment modes, for use both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Proposed additional modes should be submitted to the relevant curriculum committee in order to be incorporated into the list.



Mode Code

Assessment Mode

Definition of Mode

Further Clarification/Guidance



Aural Examination

A listening comprehension test




An annotated bibliography related to a relevant topic from the course



Briefing Paper

A paper written with the primary purpose of communicating to a decision-maker or other interested party the basic features of a problem or issue, together with the relative merits of alternative perspectives on or approaches to addressing the problem or issue.




A blog is an online journal created by an individual or group, which allows users to post content, and allows readers to comment on posts.

A collaborative or individual blog that contains evidence of the candidate's understanding of key themes, concepts and ideas.

In accordance with the course documentation, the blog may consist of a series of responses to questions and assignments set during a course or it may comprise of thematically organised posts detailing the candidate's understanding, critique or application of material addressed on the course. The blog may also include self-reflective elements.  The entire blog should be submitted in PDF format by each candidate to be assessed.



Clinical Activity Report

An oral or written report which describes a distinct piece of professional practice, such as a therapeutic intervention with a client or clients.

Ordinarily the report will include a description of the referral, the students assessment, their subsequent formulation, including any theoretical ideas and previous research findings as appropriate, a subsequent plan of action, a description of their actual intervention and its outcome and an analysis and review.



Computer Based Examination

A computer based test of knowledge and ability by question/s not known to the candidate prior to the examination.



Assessment of Clinical Competence

Students will need to consistently demonstrate sufficient competency as a counselling psychologist and to practice in accordance with the professional and ethical guidelines and code of conduct of the British Psychological Society.



Clinical Commentary

A commentary is a description and analysis of a tape recording (sound or video) of clinical work.




An original piece or pieces of music for an agreed ensemble. No limit is placed on the length or number of submissions. In the case of multiple submissions there should be a contrast in form between at least two of them.




A written account of the preparation of the Recital covering repertoire, performance practice, etc.



Concept Note

A short (c. 1000 words) synthesising note on a key concept such as Power, Authority, Class or Nationalism.



Course Report

A report prepared by the course tutor based on a student's performance and attendance.


This mode of assessment is not open to courses which contribute to the classification of the degree.



Creative Project

A submission of direct creative work in any expressive medium accompanied by a short critical introduction.



Case Analysis

An analysis of and commentary on a provided case study.



Case Study

A case study is a concentrated inquiry into a single case.



Document Pack

Unseen examination based on primary documentation provided to students with questions and completed in set period.




A major written work reporting the results of a substantial research project (typically conducted over more than one term), providing a coherent argument about the topic addressed and aiming to incorporate an element of originality in the argument and/or the evidence used to sustain it.

The maximum length of submission is published in the appropriate course documentation.




An analysis of two personally witnessed or experienced cross-cultural incidents intended to show what each course participant has learnt from observing and making sense of critical incidents which involve cultural differences and how they have used their own inter-cultural knowledge, skills and awareness in decoding and analysing the incidents.




A written composition with a specified word length which, typically, on the basis of existing literature, proceeds to sustain a coherent argument.


The specified word length should not exceed 4000 words.




A short written, practical or oral task (e.g. involving the manipulation of data, document analysis, identification of specimens etc.).



Seen Examination

A test, under examination conditions, of prepared reading and communication skills where the students are aware of the subjects of questions beforehand.



Field and Laboratory Notebook

A notebook containing personal observations and measurements collected individually or collaboratively from field or laboratory work. These may include, for example, annotated sketches with suitable scale and orientation augmented by supplementary notes (for fieldwork), or descriptions, methods and evaluation of potential errors (for laboratory work).'



Field Seminar



Group Presentation

A presentation made collectively by a group to an audience (including examiners) about the results of collective work by the group, with knowledge, technical content and presentational skills being assessed.



Group Project Report

A written report prepared collectively by a group, each contributing to and being responsible for a specific part of the project.



Individual Review

A review meeting between student and supervisor; external inputs may include progress on coursework, student participation in sessions, and peer review.



Personal Journal

A personal journal with regular and frequent entries reflecting on various aspects of the programme and on the student's development.



Laboratory Report

A written report of an empirical investigation undertaken in a class situation.


The report format includes a title, abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion and bibliography. Where appropriate appendices of raw data, materials and statistical calculations should be included. The report should cover the rationale behind the laboratory procedure and discuss the significance of results obtained.




A verbal presentation on the subject of the student's dissertation.



Learning Diary

A reflective account of the learning during a course/term/year/level which has the following characteristics: (i) an identification of issues key to the student's own learning and evidence of returning to consideration of these with the addition of further comments (ii) linking of topics and questions in formal teaching (i.e. during contact hours) with reading/research undertaken by the individual student (iii) summative comments by the student on issues, topics and questions raised in (i) and (ii) above.


The format of the learning diary may be either as a bound or loose-leaf book or using other media. The format(s) appropriate for a given assessment would be determined and published at the beginning of the relevant course/term/year/level and would include information about expected length/word number.



Learning Plan

A written proposal for action research and field based learning, specifying proposed process, methodology, objectives, activities and learning outcomes.



Literature Review

A review of academic literature on a specific topic or question. It should draw out the relevance, and applicability, of academic theory to the argument being developed related to the topics under consideration.



Lab Notebook

A written report of a series of empirical investigations undertaken as part of a research project. The indexed report includes a record of the experimental procedures undertaken, the results obtained and outline conclusions drawn from them.



Professional Log

A factual and detailed statement of the number of sessions of clinical work and supervision undertaken and/or of consultations and/or case management work during the programme. This may also include a report on the organisation in which the clinical placement or consultation took place.



Long Term Paper

A substantial written piece of work normally concerned with an aspect of work covered in a single term.



Multiple Choice Questions




A written composition not exceeding 12,000 words and prepared jointly by a team of up to five students. A memorial consists of written legal submissions to the International Court of Justice relating to a given set of facts (known as a compromis) and must comply strictly with all applicable requirements as to format.



Music Take-Away Paper

An examination, over seven days, of a student's understanding of the issues raised in either History and Analysis or Twentieth Century Music Studies and of his or her compositional abilities.



Organisational Development Plan

An element that carries forward the main section of the assessed work-based project. It must be suitable, achievable actions that the organisation can carry out in order that the needs identified in the project may be put into place. These actions may be linked to time frames.



Open Note Examination

A test of knowledge and ability by questions not known to the candidate prior to the examination. Students may take notes into the examination, but textbooks may not be used.



Open Book Examination

A test of knowledge and ability by questions not known to the candidate prior to the examination. Students may take books or notes into the examination. A restriction may be placed on material allowed into the examination room which will be specified in the course and examination documentation.


An unseen open book examination may comprise multiple choice questions, short answer questions, gobbets, a single essay or several essays. Course documentation will specify the format if other than several essays.



Oral Examination

A test of knowledge and/or ability conducted between an examiner and a candidate by means of spoken face-to-face questioning led by the examiner in which the candidate has no knowledge of the questions beforehand.




A coherent plan of intended work, the required format of which will be stipulated by the course organiser.


An outline will show the following: (i) introduction indicating main thrust of argument and justification of this (ii) division of argument into sections (iii) list of main sources to be used with a note of their salient points (iv) how this information will be integrated into a conclusion. It is not a requirement that the outline be in a standard prose format. Style may be telegraphic, using contractions and abbreviations and may include ellipses to indicate points where the argument has not yet been worked through in detail. Expected length is 500 words of plan/2000 words of finished essay - this may be modified by the course organiser.



Practice Critique

A critical analysis, which does not exceed 4000 words, of a piece of practice-based work, accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.



Postgraduate Course Report

A report prepared by the course tutor based on a postgraduate students' performance and attendance which is used in addition to a standard mode of assessment for that course (and which may count towards formal assessment).



Peer Review Exercises

An exercise in evaluating work prepared by their peers. The exercise assesses students on their evaluation skills.



Practical Examination

A practical test, under examination conditions, carried out in the laboratory/field.

A practical examination may require the candidate, where appropriate, to design, undertake and report on experimental procedures; to analyze the results of these; to identify specimens; to demonstrate the ability to use equipment. The observation of correct laboratory/field protocols (including safe practice) may be part of the examination, or the candidate may be provided with the necessary information to enable him/her to observe the protocols. Candidates will be informed whether the practical examination is to be conducted as an open-book examination



Portfolio of Creative Writing

A submission of creative work of one or more clearly designated genres with a short critical introduction.



Programming Project

A computer program accompanied by a report.


The accompanying report should not exceed 3000 words.



Production Log

The submission of a production log, usually to accompany a video, which does not exceed 2000 words. The log must be written by each individual student, even if the video is produced as a group project.



Project Management Documentation

A report detailing management techniques applied to a project and draft dissertation plan for that project.




A submission of specified material prepared by the student during a course or programme.



Process Report

An in depth discussion of the therapeutic process in a single clinical session supported by either a verbatim extract, usually of twenty minutes of the session, or a recording of the session (which might be audio or visual) or both.



Performance Project

Presentation of a piece of practice-based performance work



Professional Practice Profile

A summary report prepared by a student's school based mentor drawing upon prolonged classroom observations and comparing the student's professional practice and performance against professional standards.



Poster Presentation

A two or three-dimensional visual presentation of information on a specific topic, aimed at a particular audience without the need for the author's presence.

Normally it will include short paragraphs of text, plus bullet points or lists, and appropriate graphs, diagrams and/or pictures. Guidelines on topics, intended audience and specific format will be provided in course documents.



Practical Ability

An assessment, by observation, of the ability to design and undertake laboratory work. Technical skills and observation of correct laboratory protocols (including safe practice) are included in the assessment.



Problem Sets

A collection of short technical problems requiring quantitative solutions. Normally they would need to be formulated mathematically and would then require mathematical manipulation and/or numerical calculation for their solution.



Practical Composition

An examination of compositional skills, or those of technical and/or stylistic pastiche, by means of a written compositional exercise.




A prepared oral presentation by a candidate before examiner(s), and possibly peers, where knowledge, technical content, ability to answer questions and presentational skills are assessed. Group presentations have a similar definition. (Subsumes oral presentations, verbal presentations).



Project Feasibility Study

A report detailing a feasibility study and initial planning for a project.



Project Report

A detailed analysis of a topic, involving some original research undertaken by the candidate which makes use of data and/or primary sources.

The maximum length of submission is published in the appropriate course documentation.



Practice Paper

An analysis of social work practice undertaken by the student. It will assess intervention skills, including use of theory and evaluation of effectiveness. An audiotape will usually be required to accompany a practice paper which contains a detailed record intervention.



Progress Report

A written composition submitted on a quarterly basis during fieldwork, reporting on progress towards the objectives specified in the Learning Plan.




A short abstract or summary of a primary source or text, or of an essay or dissertation written by the candidate.


The word limit is 1000 words.



Practical Report

An exercise which details results derived from experimentation, fieldwork or research undertaken by the student.



Practical Test

An examination of aural and/or keyboard skills by means such as dictation, score reading and aural analysis.




A 30-minute presentation of a piece of music for the first study instrument in the presence of the external examiner.



Research Journal

A journal of fieldnotes including analysis and reflection on the research.




A written report subject that draws on knowledge and material from across a whole programme.



Reflective Essay

A written statement or composition submitted at the end of the course or fieldwork period (e.g. reflecting on progress toward the learning plan or achievement of learning outcomes and/or referring to an accompanying portfolio of outputs).



Review Paper

A written critical review of a published paper.



Research Presentation

A major prepared oral presentation by a candidate before two examiners, reporting the work of a substantive research project, providing a coherent argument about the topic addressed and aiming to incorporate an element of originality in the argument and/or the evidence used to support it.

In the case of the variant first approved by the HUMS curriculum committee:

'Research, knowledge, powers of analysis, development of argument, together with structure of presentation, time-keeping, delivery and technical presentation skills (eg use of visual material, use of PowerPoint or equivalent) are assessed. Differs from Presentation in the same way that Dissertation differs from essay'.



Review of Scientific, Technical (or other) Book/Artwork/Performance

A detailed review of a single book, artwork or performance as might be included in the book review section of a journal, arts magazine or quality newspaper.



Research Plan/Proposal

A brief outline of a research project to include hypotheses and methodology.



Study Analysis Assignment

An analysis of quantitative data involving a range of taught statistical analyses and an analysis of quantitative data presented in an appropriate format.



Study Design Assignment

A design of a piece of research on a specific topic which will address, inter alia, details of sampling, controls and practical questions of procedure, design, statistical power and ethics plus an indication of the approach to analysing the primary outcome measures.



Software Assignment

A project authored in a specified code. The project must be accompanied by a written report that explains the aims of the project and how they were achieved.



Short Software Project and Written Assignment

A software project accompanied by a report. This should be a substantial and completely functional stand-alone project. The report should explain the aims of the project and how these were achieved.



Long Software Project and Written Assignment

The project may be experimental or a prototype which illustrates how a fully functional version would operate. Alternatively it might be in the form of a contribution to a larger project realised by a team.


The report should explain the aims of the project and how these were achieved. In the case of a contribution to a larger project, the report should make clear exactly what was the author's contribution, and how it related to work done by others.



Software Manual Page

A detailed description of the mode of use of a software package as might be available via a Unix manual page.



Synthesis Paper

A written composition based upon individual research and fieldwork, integrating practical experience with theoretical knowledge.



Software Exercise

An investigation into a software related problem, together with an appropriate report on the results of the investigation.



Statistical Assessment

The use of data on development indicators to apply simple quantitative analysis techniques and to interpret the results.



Short Term Paper

A written piece of work normally concerned with an aspect of academic work covered in a single term.



Supervisor's Report

A written report prepared by the student's clinical supervisor in consultation with the student on the student's ability to work safely and competently within predetermined criteria.



Take Away Paper

An examination completed within a specified period of time (not normally exceeding three days for undergraduates) from the time of the unseen question(s), in which candidates may use notes and/or texts.



Toolbox Design Exercise

A report which (a) describes a selected set of tools for contributing to the management of a specified business project, and (b) critically evaluates these with respect to their appropriateness for the project and their implementability.



Therapy Report

A factual report obtained by the student from his/her therapist at the end of the programme to confirm the number, frequency and dates of the student's personal therapy.



Typesetting Assessment

Mathematical typesetting skills using LaTeX.



Teaching Practice

A practical demonstration of teaching plus any required associated documents (e.g. lesson plan, prepared teaching material) as specified in course documentation.




The submission of an audio-recorded piece of electronic music, produced by a group or an individual, of a pre-determined length.



Tape and Log

The submission of an audio-recorded piece of electronic music, produced by a group or an individual, of a pre-determined length, and of a production log, by each individual student, not exceeding 2000 words.




A written test, administered within the timetabled teaching period



Tutor's Report

A written report prepared by the student's workshop tutor in consultation with the student on the student's ability in counselling workshops and case presentations to demonstrate safe and competent work within predetermined criteria.



Unseen Examination

A test of knowledge and ability by questions(s) not known to the candidate prior to the examination.


An unseen examination may comprise multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, gobbets, a single essay or several essays. Course documentation will specify the format if other than several essays. Where a new unseen examination is introduced a specimen paper will be provided. (Arts only: The duration of unseen examinations will be either one-and-a-half hours or three hours. A three hour examination may consist of two one-and-a-half hour papers combined into a single paper).



Undergraduate Thesis

A detailed analysis of a topic, including a significant component of original research undertaken by the candidate which makes use of data and/or primary sources.

The maximum length of submission is published in the appropriate course documentation.



Video and Report

The submission of a video, produced by a group or an individual, of a predetermined length, and of a report (which might, but need not, be in the form of a production log) by each individual student.




The submission of a video, produced by a group or an individual, of a pre-determined length.



Web Page

A hypermedia presentation, which may use any combination of text, graphic, or other media as appropriate, and may use hypertext links to move between the parts of the presentation. The Web page should be viewable using standard software as specified in course documentation.



Written submission

A piece of text of specified length accompanying a project.