The Policy has been developed taking as a basis the RA legislation.
Thus, the aim of the Policy is to define:
- Flexible and student-centred assessment system that will enhance impartial and objective assessment of student knowledge, abilities and skills;
- The permissible threshold of student absences;
- Importance of inclusive assessment ensuring equality for all students;
- The procedure for appealing exam results, as well as the procedure for resitting academic debts ensuring the continuity of educational process.
SAFAA academic staff and students are entitled to act in accordance with this Policy statement.
Student Assessment: Approaches and Significance
SAFAA defines an assessment system that is intended to contribute through formal or informal assessment means the student’s effective learning. It involves the whole process of student advancement and ensures the student integration into the relevant educational programme, his/her classroom and individual work, student orientation guided by the professor and the final assessment.
Student assessment can be:
- Cognitive (Diagnostic): This type of assessment helps to identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses; it is applied in the selection of students with relevant skills and abilities, in integrating in the preparatory courses/modules, their admission and enrolment in relevant programmes.
- Formative: Apart from digital mark, special opinion expressed by the lecturer or a highly qualified specialist in written or oral forms ensure the enrichment of student’s knowledge, revealing their skills and forming attitude towards the specialty.
- Summative: It serves to record the student’s advancement and ensures the student’s progress or to form an opinion about the student’s professional achievements when awarding the qualification.
The SAFAA assessment system is intended, first of all, to raise the effectiveness of the education ensuring the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and abilities (learning outcomes) gained by the student.
Main Principles for Student Assessment
In order to make the education at the institution more effective, SAFAA regularly familiarizes the students with professional tasks as well as the peculiarities of final examinations and assessment system. With this regard and in favour to it, the assessment system of SAFAA has been developed coming out of the following principles:
- Relevance: It is the harmonious connection between the objectives of the course/module, teaching methods and materials as well as assessment methods and criteria;
- Feedback: One of the most important elements of student assessment is the timely, appropriate and meaningful feedback by the lecturer that will contribute to the student learning;
- Balance: When checking and assessing student achievements SAFAA assessment system ensures balance to avoid under- or over-assessment.
Assessing Student Progress
Student assessment system has two main goals:
- To orientate what preparatory work is required for the newly admitted student (newcomer). To achieve this goal SAFA holds student’s diagnostic assessment that is applied for newly admitted students.
- To contribute to the student’s learning. Usually two approaches are being applied when assessing all the courses/modules: formative assessment that is applied throughout each semester (term) and summative – at the end of each semester. Depending on the course/module the assessment can be done in the form of viewing (observing) the works completed, through written work and oral exams or the combination of both.
In case of formative assessment the lecturer provides an oral or written feedback on the completed student’s work. As far as this kind of assessment approach is constructive, the assessment in digits, therefore, is not mandatory.
In case of summative assessment, based on the work completed within the relevant course/module, the lecturer evaluates the student’s gained knowledge, skills and abilities. In case of summative assessment the assessment in digits is mandatory.
To ensure the effectiveness of the academic process, SAFAA ensures appropriate organisation and conduct of all courses / modules offered in compliance with pre-approved curricula. Leading specialists in the field teach at the institution, which can influence the student’s professional growth in terms of transmitting theoretical and practical knowledge. Moreover, courses / modules are often organized and conducted in laboratories, workshops, where students perform practical assignments, gaining professional applicable skills.
Attendance to all the courses is mandatory at SAFAA.
The access to courses/modules, laboratories, studios, the library and other services is for the staff and students having been registered at the academy or employed on contractual basis.
SAFAA doesn’t accept the absence of students from courses/modules. Nevertheless taking into consideration a series of well-grounded circumstance (illnesses, visits to doctors, accidents, etc.) students can miss the class. The student’s absence can be considered excused only in case the student informs the teacher who conducts the course/module, head of chair or the dean in a timely manner and submits the document justifying the reason of absence to the dean’s office.
Reasonable excuses cannot exceed the 25% of the contact hours allocated for the course/module. In case the reasonable excuses form 25% – 50% of the total contact hours allocated to the course/module, the student’s grade is lowered by 10%, maintaining a passing positive grade (6 points). In case the excused absence exceeds 50% of the contact hours allocated for the course/module, the case is discussed in the council of faculty members, further in the Rector’s office based on the student’s explanatory letter and the supporting documents submitted.
Unexcused absences may not exceed 10% of the contact hours allocated to the course/module. In case unexcused absences form 10%-40% of contact hours allocated to the course/module the student’s grade is lowered by 20% maintaining a passing positive grade (6 points). If unexcused absences exceed 40% of the contact hours allocated to the course/module, the student gets unsatisfactory mark.
Regardless of the absences the student is obliged to complete all the assignments set by the course/module.
Excused and unexcused absences are depicted in the table:
|Permissible threshold of contact hours allocated to the course or module||Exceeding the permissible threshold of contact hours allocated to the course or module|
|Excused absences||up to 25% doesn’t affect the grade||From 25% up to 50% The grade is reduced by 10% maintaining positive passing grade (6 points)||Exceeding 50% The case is discussed in the council of faculty members, further in the Rector’s office|
|Unexcused absences||up to 10% doesn’t affect the grade||From 10% up to 40% the grade is reduced by 20% maintaining the positive passing grade (6 points)||Exceeding 40% The student is assessed unsatisfactory|
In order to assess the students’ progress SAFAA outlines the importance of applying inclusive methods and offers inclusive assessment methods that will make the assessment process more diversified and flexible taking into consideration the specific features of each student.
The main goal of inclusive assessment is to provide equal academic conditions for all students including inclusive methods of teaching, learning and assessment that will enable the students’ active participation in the educational processes and effective evaluation (assessment) of acquired knowledge, skills and abilities. Thus, when developing assessment methods, SAFAA takes into consideration the educational peculiarities of students and particularly vulnerable target groups (see the SAFAA Policy on Inclusive Education).
The inclusive assessment at SAFAA assumes:
- the application of different methods of assessment within a module/course that will enable students to demonstrate the achieved outcome more effectively;
- application of alternative methods to organise exams for the students requiring special educational conditions. For example oral exams can be replaced with written ones for those students who have oral communication difficulties;
- application of IT both in teaching and in examination processes. For example those students who have difficulties to attend the Academy, the education for them to be organised online including performance and submission of assignments and receiving the relevant consultancy in case of necessity.
Criteria for Student Assessment
SAFAA has adopted such assessment criteria that will enable to compare the work completed by the student with pre-defined learning outcomes. Learning outcomes define the knowledge, capacities and skills for the student to acquire upon completing the course/module or professional academic programme.
The following criteria are taken into consideration for student assessment at SAFAA:
- Generic and professional knowledge and understanding;
- Professionally applicable as well as transferable and interoperable abilities.
Generic and professional knowledge and understanding is expressed by:
- the capacity of demonstrating the knowledge acquired while completing the work/task and during its presentation;
- the volume and depth of the work or research, the explicitness of approaches and methodology of its realisation;
- the awareness of the ideas existing in the research field, accepted values, prominent opinions and discussions;
- the ability to understand the contextual and critical ideas of study course/module and professional academic programme;
- demonstration of critical thinking in suggesting ideas and applying methods;
- the capacity (ability) of analysing certain fact or assignment;
- capacity of combining facts or ideas;
- capacity (ability) to bring together the most important elements of an argument;
- ability to apply knowledge and experience in detecting the problem during decision-making.
Professionally applicable as well as transferable and interoperable abilities are expressed through:
- the skills used to complete the work, choice of creative means as well as appropriate (purposeful) use of materials, techniques and technologies;
- combining mindset and work completed;
- application of gained knowledge;
- organization of self-study;
- proficiency and application of communication skills;
- application of Information Technologies;
- problem-solving skills;
- autonomy and initiative approach;
- teamwork ability;
- effective time management;
- proper reaction to the remarks of others.
Thus, based on the criteria, a series of components are used in student assessment in the frameworks of each course/module/academic programme. Courses/modules intended by the curriculum are assessed at the appropriate percentage set for each course/module. Then the following calculation is made:
- each component is assessed on a10-point scale;
- the grade of each component is multiplied by a predetermined percentage point;
- the points obtained for each component are aggregated and the final grade is obtained.
The data are entered in the registrar (records) therefore typed in the information system of record keeping of student progress.
Below is a sample according to which the overall grade is divided for each course / module.
|Criterion||Component||Grade in %|
|Generic and professional knowledge and understanding||General theoretical and professional knowledge and understanding about the course/module||30%|
|Professionally applicable as well as transferable and interoperable capacities||Professionally applicable transmittable transferable capacities integrated into given course/module||70%|
|Point||Generic and professional knowledge and understanding||Professionally applicable as well as transferable and interoperable capacities||Key words|
|The work submitted by the student demonstrates||The work submitted by the student demonstrates|
|10||Acquisition of excellent and exclusive knowledge, intellectual abilities, comprehension, in-depth interpretation of the given profession or course/module and reasonable perception||Excellent application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities related to the given specialty, course/module and wide professional scope and demonstration of creative and independent approaches||excellent
|9||Acquisition and comprehension of excellent and multilayered knowledge, in-depth interpretation and methodology of the given profession or course/module and reasonable perception||Excellent application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities related to the given specialty, course/module and wide professional scope and demonstration of already established capacities, application of new methods||excellent
|8||Acquisition and understanding/ comprehension of basic knowledge, relevant interpretation of the given profession or course/module and reasoned or justified perception of methodology||Constant application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities related to the given specialty, course/module and wide professional scope alongside with application of various operational methods||constant
|7||Knowledge acquisition and comprehension demonstration of critical thinking and relevant professional approach to the given profession or course/module, perception of relevant methodology||Application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities related to the given specialty, course/module and wide professional scope with application of relevant professional approach, demonstration of well-formed, relevant methods and control approaches||controlled
|6||Acquisition and application of sufficient knowledge, demonstration of well-aware approach to the given profession or course/module and demonstration of superficial approach to methodology||Sufficient application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities related to the given specialty, course/module and wide professional scope at the same time demonstration of overall approach to the course/module or specialty selected||sufficient
|5||Acquisition and comprehension of limited, elementary and insufficient knowledge||Limited application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities||limited
|Below 5||Incomplete acquisition of knowledge||Incomplete application of transferable, interoperable and professionally applicable capacities||incomplete|
The final assessment of the academic progress of SAFAA students is applied by the following scale.
|Grade||Correspondence to 4-point system||Grades in letters||Explanation|
The student has an opportunity to do certain works and to retake
|Below 5||Below 1,5||F||Unsatisfactory
Subject to repeat the course
|Tested||Pass||S||Is applied for assessing non-professional modules/courses and proves that the student ensures the required conditions for positive assessment|
Tests can be for the courses/modules of Bachelor’s degree programme that refer to general humanities and socio-economic field as well as those referring to general natural sciences and internship; as for Master’s degree programme tests can be held for the courses/modules of overall programme by the consent of the Faculty Council.
Record keeping of Student Progress
In order to validate the results of a student’s academic activities and performance for a specific period of time or throughout the study period, the SAFAA runs an academic transcript for each student from the day of their admission, where after each examination period the studied courses, modules, earned credits and received final grades are recorded according to their educational modules and semesters.
The academic transcript reflects the following data to introduce generic learning outcomes of student’s academic progress at the end of each examination period:
- amount of cumulative credits – the aggregation of the student’s earned credits to meet the graduation requirements of the academic programme;
- amount of assessed credits – a part of cumulative credits calculated in numerical values;
- rating points (Honor Point) – aggregation of grades achieved for each credit that is calculated as the aggregation of the products of credits assessed for individual courses/modules and their efficient grades;
- grade point average (GPA) – average of weighted credit scores that is calculated by dividing the rating points (honor points) by the amount of cumulative credits;
- GPA calculated per semester/year – midterm/annual GPA calculated for one academic semester/year;
- accumulated GPA – is the result of dividing the total rating points (honor points) earned during all semesters by the total amount of credits earned.
Transcript of records reflects the records of rating points (honor points, in the formula HP) and GPA earned per semester and academic year.
For example, if a student has earned 10, 8, 7 and 9 points from a 2, 4, 7 and 5 credit-bearing courses/module, respectively, then the student’s HP earned from that set of courses/modules is equal to: HP= 2 x 10 + 4 x 8 + 7 x 7 + 5 x 9 =146 out of 180 possible (2 x 10 + 4 x 10 + 7 x 10 + 5 x 10).
Grade Point Average for the same set of courses/modules will be GPA =146/18 (sum of credits) = 8.11 out of 10 possible.
GPA is the key indicator of student’s academic progress.
|GPA||Correspondence to GPA of 4-point system||Grades in letters||Explanation|
The student has an opportunity to do certain works and to retake
|Below 5||Below 1,5||F||Unsatisfactory
Subject to repeat the course
Approaches to Grades Recalculation
If there is a need to recognise the grades acquired through different assessment systems, the calculation is made by modified Bavarian formula:
x = 10- (ymax-y)*(10-6)/(ymax-ymin)
x – calculated grade
y – grade acquired through another (different) assessment system
ymax – maximum possible grade of another assessment system
ymin – minimum passing grade of another assessment system
Appealing Examination Results
The student is entitled to appeal within one day after publicizing the grade. The written appeal is submitted to the dean of the faculty and the meeting is convened the same day or within 3 days following it.
The application must indicate the student’s name, surname, specialty, year of study, phone number and the problem and its explanations (reasoning), the date of writing the application and the applicant’s signature.
The student is entitled to disagree with examination or test scores and appeal the results. In this process the student must justify the reason for the appeal.
Student’s application can be accepted if:
- a violation of the order of organizing exams / tests has taken place by the lecturer;
- pre-defined assessment criteria have been violated;
- there are circumstances that have hindered the objective assessment.
In order to examine the application an appeal commission is formed with the following members:
- dean or deputy dean of the Faculty;
- head of the chair providing the given course/module;
- lecturer of the given course/module;
- another lecturer from the given chair.
The commission with the presence of a representative from Student Council:
- discusses the work/s submitted and makes an appropriate decision (for applied courses/modules);
- organises a new examination (for theoretical courses/modules).
As a result of the appeal, it is decided to leave the mark unchanged, to raise or reduce the mark by open voting by the majority of votes of the commission.
A protocol is drawn up on the decision, which is attached to the course/module transcript of records. In case the mark is changed, a note is indicated in the transcript of records.
Resitting Academic Debts
Key concepts used in this point:
- Academic debt is when the student fails to gain credits set for the given course/module as a result of midterm examination period including two retaking stages
- Poor academic progress, failing to gain the required amount of credits based on the results of the examination period.
Students who receive unsatisfactory mark or didn’t attend the examination have two more opportunities to retake the exam of the given course/module during the period of set retaking stages; the third retaking is possible only by the Rector’s permission. The deadline for two stages of retaking is set as follows: by the end of the third week of the current academic semester.
Students who do not take the exam or test for some excused reason (if a relevant document is available) can claim the maximum possible grade if they are assessed during the retaking stages. Students who didn’t attend the exam or test for an unexcused reason during the first and second stages of retaking period are assessed with a grade of 10% and 20% lower, respectively. In case of being permitted to the third stage of retaking, the student earns the minimum positive grade (6 point) if he/she is assessed with a positive mark. In case a negative grade is obtained upon taking out the corresponding percentage from the grade, the student receives a minimum positive grade (6 points).
Students with current poor academic performance are allowed to resit academic debts of maximum 12 credits by the beginning the final academic year. The set of courses/modules that is subject to resit is approved by the SAFAA Faculty Board submitted by the relevant chair of the given profession, taking into consideration the principle of continuity of the courses/modules according to the curriculum.
The resitting of the academic debts of the students who did not attend the exams, including the two retaking stages, or who demonstrated poor academic performance, is carried out in the examination commissions set up for that purpose by the permission of SAFAA Rector. Examination commissions are formed at the meeting of the chair providing the given course / module; they involve the lecturer of the given course / module and the head of the chair providing the given course / module. The resitting of course / module debts through examination commissions is carried out at the end of each academic year, within the period set for the exam session. In this case, the student can receive only the minimum positive grade.
The student is permitted to resit the academic debts if the amount of accumulated credits doesn’t exceed 12, otherwise the student is dismissed from SAFAA and can apply for readmission according to the SAFAA order on Student Expulsion (Dismissal) and Reinstatement.