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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

6.5: Assessment Arrangements for Incoming Visiting/Exchange Students

Principles of Assessment for Visiting/Exchange Students

  1. Visiting/Exchange students who are registered as students in Durham, and who are taking Durham modules, are studying for, and are therefore assessed against, the same learning outcomes as Durham students registered on taught programmes.
  2. The University’s default position is therefore that, wherever practicable, such students should undertake the same assessment as non-visiting students.
  3. However, not all visiting students will study at Durham for a full academic year. Students take modules on a standalone basis, neither as a result of prior study at Durham, nor as preparation for further study at Durham. The University accepts, therefore, that some variation in assessment for Visiting/Exchange students may be appropriate, as long as this variation is clearly agreed and recorded.

Students who are registered for a full academic year

  1. Visiting/Exchange students who are registered as students in Durham for three terms should normally be assessed in the same way as all other Durham University students. This means that they should sit examinations and complete written work as set in the module outline.
  2. Some variations are permitted to account for the fact that these modules are taken on a standalone basis, not necessarily as a result of study at the previous level at Durham, nor as preparation for further study at higher levels at Durham. Therefore, in accordance with the general regulations, if departments are prepared to allow exchange or visiting students the opportunity to use a dictionary during their examination this should be specified in the rubric of the paper, including information on the type of dictionary permitted (normally a dictionary to translate into English).
  3. If appropriate, departments may also permit visiting students to answer fewer questions than students registered for a Durham award (for instance, where assessments play a formative role for subsequent modules). This should also be included in the rubric of the paper, but it is important that the students are still able to demonstrate that they have fully met the learning outcomes that are being assessed.

Students who are registered for part of an academic year

  1. Alternative assessment arrangements may be provided for incoming students who need to return to their home institution before the end of the academic year, or who miss the start of an academic year. The available options are:

a) The student completes all assessments normally associated with the module.

b) The student is assessed by completing only the summative assessment required for the relevant term or terms.

c) The student completes an alternative form of assessment (or the mark for a piece of formative assessment is included in the stead of summative work).

d) The student completes some standard assessment(s), and some alternate assessment(s).

  1. These options may be used to either assess all of the learning outcomes associated with the module (in which case, students who pass the assessments will be deemed to have met the learning outcomes for the module, and to have achieved the credits associated with the module), or a subset of those outcomes (in which case students who pass the assessments will be deemed to have met a proportion of the learning outcomes for the module, and to have achieved a notional proportion of the credit for that module).
  2. Alternative forms of assessment (for example, essays or a ‘take-home’ examination paper to be submitted within 24 hours, for example used as alternatives to assessment by formal examination) may be used, but must assess the same intended learning outcomes (some or all) as the normal assessment, and be of the same standard. They should be approved through normal or equivalent departmental procedures; however, the material assessed should reflect that which has been covered whilst the student has been in Durham.
  3. Where a student is to undertake an alternative form of assessment or their formative work is to be used as summative assessment this must be formally recorded in Banner, SXACONC. The concession type should be TYPE - EXCH CODE - 800. It should record the assessment from which the student is permitted to be exempt and then specify the alternative assessment. It should include information about the method of calculation and any revised weightings. A copy of the letter should be sent to the Student, Student Registry and the International office.

Sample wording for letter:

Student be permitted to be exempt from the summative essay (ASFY42) for the module SUBJ 1011 as they are only registered for Term 1. Their assessment for the module will be:

ASFN41 Essay 1 (50% Weighting)

This will assess half of the learning outcomes, and the student will therefore have completed the equivalent of 10 notional credits.

  1. The assessment arrangements must be agreed at the start of the student’s study in Durham and it must be clear in advance which pieces of assessment are to be included in the student’s final assessment. The concession should be recorded in Banner as soon as possible and no later than 4 weeks after the student’s start date. You should not make arrangements that allow for the discounting of some marks achieved (e.g. best of 2).

Recording Marks in Banner

  1. It is important that the marks recorded in Banner are an accurate representation of the student’s academic history. Marks should only be entered into the Banner Electronic Gradebook for summative assessment that is included in the approved module outline, since the confirmation of marks entered in Gradebook awards credit. These marks should be confirmed by the relevant Board of Examiners. The Board of Examiners should also confirm marks for any alternative/formative assessment for exchange students, which are then recorded in the concession screens.
  2. The student’s official transcript will report the overall module mark using the standard assessment structure and confirm the credit gained. Where a student has completed alternative or formative assessment, these confirmed marks should be added to the concession record. The International Office will use this information to prepare a transcript appendix to provide an explanation of the special assessment arrangements made for the student. This will ensure that we meet our obligations under the Erasmus Charter to provide Erasmus students and their home institutions with full, accurate and timely information at the end of their studies.


  1. Since there are no programme regulations for exchange/visiting programmes there is no formal mechanism to grant a resit opportunity. The expectation is that visiting students will not be required to resit exams.
  2. If a student is required to resit any failed assessment, this must be identified by the department, who should contact the Exams team in Student Registry before the beginning of July to ensure that the exam is included in the timetable. Visiting Students are expected to return to Durham for resit exams.