Programme Level Data

Marks

1) Average marks by Unit

There is no particular institutional expectation about the values of the average marks for a unit. Marking at MMU is referenced to standards set by the programme teams within the expectations of the UK quality code, particularly the relevant QAA subject benchmark statements. The questions which follow here are intended to prompt discussion across the team about their own expectations and whether assessment design supports students in achieving these expectations.

Questions programme teams might consider in relation to this data:

  • Are there any units which have a much higher, or lower, average mark than others taken by the same cohort? Is this something you expect? Is this something you are concerned about?
  • If you have a large proportion of students failing particular assignments at the first attempt, but generally passing their other assignments, is there any reason for this?  Are you conscious that some units are seen to be particularly difficult?  Should units perceived as 'difficult' attract additional resources to improve student performance? Is there any additional support which the team could put in place for these units before the first attempt? In the re-assessment period?
  • Do these kinds of variation between units have an unintended consequence on students' overall grades, or on progression opportunities? 
  • Does the programme team have an idea of the kind of range of marks expected in each unit? Have you used the University Standard Descriptors to discuss expectations of student achievement? ;
  • Do high marks reflect good practice in preparing students for assessment which could be shared across the programme? Do low marks reflect good practice in being rigorous in a way which could be shared across the programme? 
  • Is there a consistent approach to setting assignments across the programme? To marking, moderation and feedback?

2) Ranges of marks for a particular programme

There is no particular institutional expectation about the values of the ranges of marks for a programme. Marking at MMU is referenced to standards set by the programme teams within the expectations of the UK quality code, particularly the relevant QAA subject benchmark statements. The questions which follow here are intended to prompt discussion across the team about their own expectations and whether assessment design supports students in achieving these expectations.

The adoption of University Standard Descriptors is intended to support the use of all of the grade bands and to improve consistency in explaining marking decisions to students. 

Questions programme teams might consider in relation to this data:

  • Do you expect certain units to have a much higher, or lower, average range of marks than others taken by the same cohort? 
  • Does this kind of variation have an unintended consequence on students' overall grades, or on progression opportunities? 
  • Is it acceptable for the range of marks to be very small (eg clustered mostly between 55 and 70) on any unit? Does this reflect your expectations of the cohort?
  • Does a wide range of marks reflect good practice in marking across the grade bands which could be shared across the programme? 
  • What does the programme team expect in terms of a range of marks at final award? Is this what is actually seen? Is this expectation reflected at lower levels/earlier in the programme? 

3) Average by level (enrolled and repeating)

These figures offer a quick visual check of the differences in average marks across levels. They should enable quick identification of any unexpected patterns which can then be followed up using the questions for average unit marks and ranges of marks shown above.

See Principle 3 of the The Manchester Met Education Strategy and Learning and Teaching Principles for more areas for programme teams to consider.