‌Assessment procedures and conventions

Assignments and assessments are set out in each of the modules that lead to the award of DClinPsy. All the assignments and assessments on the programme are continuously assessed throughout the three years of training. Trainees will be asked to prepare and submit for assessment a combination of academic, clinical and research work. Assignments are required pieces of work, and although they are not formally assessed, they are essential in developing trainees’ expertise and skills in particular areas.  Assessments are formally examined, and all contribute to the final award of the DClinPsy.

The Programme has adopted the American Psychological Association (APA) conventions as the standard for submission of assessments and assignments.  Submissions must be completed using the APA style. Trainees are encouraged to consult the APA guidelines and copies are kept in the library or can be obtained online at www.apastyle.org. There are many web sites providing summaries of the APA style such as Purdue OWL. Click here for APA style tips.

Presentational or group work must be presented in accordance with the guidelines set out for that assignment/assessment. Trainees are expected to write in excellent scientific English, be able to vary their written style for different audiences, and present work that meets standards of presentation that are appropriate for a professional clinical psychologist.

In line with the BPS Code of Conduct, Ethical Principles and Guidelines and the Division of Clinical Psychology Professional Practice Guidelines, all work (written and presented) must maintain the confidentiality of clients involved. This can be achieved in several ways, but at minimum would normally include use of a pseudonym and sufficient changes to the detail of the clinical work to maintain confidentiality - this will be strictly adhered to.

Submission of Work

Work must be submitted by 13:00 on the relevant deadline date.

Submissions for the clinical module should be electronic – one copy to be submitted to the Programme Administrator (DClinPsy@exeter.ac.uk) and one to the relevant Clinical Tutor. Submissions for the academic and research modules should be emailed to the Programme Administrator (DClinPsy@exeter.ac.uk) and submitted through Turnitin (see below). 

A standard (signed) cover sheet should be included as one of the attachments for academic and research submissions. Assessments describing work conducted on placement must be signed off by the supervisor prior to submission. Trainees are given the opportunity on the cover sheet to ask the marker to provide feedback on a particular aspect of the work. The marker will read the work and provide feedback specific to the trainee’s question(s) as part of the formative feedback.

All academic and research written work, including resubmissions, must be submitted within the stated word length and trainees are encouraged to use full word allocation. Markers will stop marking at the word limit and so any work found to be over the word limit may not reach a pass standard.

Maintaining confidentiality is a vital aspect of maintaining professional standards. Any breaches in confidentiality in any assessments will result in the assessment automatically being graded as a Major Amendment (i).

All work should be submitted in Microsoft Word and be labelled as follows:

Title of the Assessment, Trainee Number (e.g. Professional Issues Essay, trainee 5700356).

The documents should not be locked or in ‘read only’ mode. This allows the markers to check the word count. All work should be typed with double line spacing, paginated and follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual (6th Edition). Washington, DC: Author).

Please note, as a formative exercise, the first piece of academic work in year one will be marked on the script electronically by markers with regard to APA and style issues to guide trainees.

The course operates a blind marking system where possible and trainees are encouraged to submit their work in a way that means they are not identifiable, so as to ensure that we can operate this system. However, there may be times where it is appropriate for trainees to divulge personal information if it is relevant to the piece of work.

For individual or group presentations, work must be presented at the time and date that it has been timetabled. The same conventions will apply for presented as for written work, with respect to marking and feedback. If a trainee is absent from a group presentation, normally the group will proceed without the trainee and indicate what the trainee would have contributed (they will not be marked down for this missing contribution). The trainee will then make a presentation to appropriate markers. If trainees miss this vital group work, a comparable piece of work will be set.

Turnitin

All academic work must be submitted both through Turnitin (the system for detecting possible plagiarism) and in addition as an electronic document as described in the above. Trainees are required to familiarise themselves with the system and to run their own work through Turnitin before submission.

Turnintin originality score

The originality score provided by Turnitin is not a plagiarism score. It is an indication of matching text, but that can occur for various reasons. The Programme Administrator will send to the moderator any submissions with scores that are judged to require further scrutiny. The moderator will check the report and contact the trainee if an explanation is required. Should plagiarism be suspected, the submission, together with the Turnitin report and the evidence from the moderator, will be sent to the Programme Director for further action with a view to considering if the academic misconduct procedure should be initiated.

Marking and Moderation

The Programme operates a blind marking scheme that is consistent with the Teaching Quality Assurance Manual.   

The markers are responsible for reading the work, marking it in accordance with appropriate marking guidelines and providing feedback on the work that is as free from bias, as comprehensive and as objective as possible. The moderator aims to ensure that the feedback is constructive and consistent across trainees. The markers and moderator would normally be a member of the programme team. In general the moderator is one individual, but on occasions this role may be shared with another person to manage the marking workload.

For academic and research submissions, the moderator reads all feedback and reviews the mark allocated. For details of the clinical moderation procedure, see the Clinical Grading page in the clinical chapter.

  1. The Programme Administrator uses the trainees’ university number for all submissions.
  2. The submission is sent to the marker with the timescale for the marking to be completed.
  3. Marked work with feedback forms are returned to the moderator.
  4. The moderator checks all feedback forms for compliance with marking guidelines, language and formatting.
  5. All submissions that receive a Major Amendment or a Minor Amendment ii are read by the moderator to confirm that the mark is appropriate and any issues are discussed with the marker.
  6. Any feedback that appears to be an outlier - for example over-detailed grammatical corrections listed, will be discussed with the marker. 
  7. A final set of moderated feedback and the associated submissions is then sent to the Programme Administrator who returns them to the trainees.
  8. A selection of moderated feedback and associated submissions is sent to the External Examiner. 
  9. All Major Amendments will be sent to the External Examiner.
  10. Major Amendment iii will be discussed with the External Examiner before feedback is sent to the trainee.
  11. The Moderator then sends an overall feedback email to the trainees after checking with the markers that they agree.
  12. The Moderator also sends overall feedback to the markers with any suggested enhancements to the marking (for example add more detail to the scripts that were of a high standard).
  13. Resubmissions of Minor Amendments that receive a pass are returned without moderation. Resubmissions of Major Amendments or Outstanding Amendments are moderated.

Specific guidelines for assessment of research work and its evaluation are detailed in the research chapter of the handbook with additional information available in the research appendices.

Specific guidelines for assessment of clinical work are detailed in the clinical chapter of the handbook. Trainees’ appraisers will read clinical materials and process the content with trainees in appraisal meetings. The clinical director will act as a moderator on each report and confirm the marking category.

Markers use the “pass”, “minor amendment”, “major amendment”, and “fail” categories as well as the assessment guidelines for the particular assignment or assessment. The specific assessment guidelines for the academic, clinical and research assignments and assessments can be found in the respective chapters of the handbook.

Submissions and resubmissions are moderated.

See below for procedures in the event of a ‘fail’ mark being awarded.

The Marking Scheme

The Marking Scheme

Details of the Professional Doctorate regulations are part of the TQA manual. The DClinPsy Marking Flowchart shows the marking scheme for the Programme.

Work is marked in the following way:

For each assessment criterion, one of the following evaluations will be awarded, as appropriate:

E- Indicates that there is extensive evidence that doctoral standard has been achieved for this criterion

S - Indicates that there is sufficient evidence that doctoral standard has been achieved for this criterion

I - Indicates that there is insufficient evidence that doctoral standard has been achieved for this criterion

To achieve a ‘Pass’ grade, doctoral standard must be achieved for all assessed criteria (i.e. achievement of an E or S for all assessed criteria) 

Marking categories

Pass

The work indicates that the trainee has achieved threshold competence in the major categories set out for the particular assignment or assessment. The work meets all or most of the marking criteria at the level of satisfactory or above.

Minor Amendments

The work as it stands does not reach pass standard until readily manageable corrections are made or in the case of a clinical submission, particular learning needs have been identified for the next placement period. For academic and research submissions corrections normally involve the re-writing of some parts of the work and/or presentational changes. This may involve changes to any part of the work, but would not normally refer to changes requiring significant re-writing or further analyses and must be completed within 4 weeks

Major Amendments

Work requiring major amendments shows significant problems in one or more areas, requiring substantive revisions, or in the case of clinical submissions, an action plan, to bring the work to a pass standard. This would normally relate to one or more of the specific criteria against which the work is assessed. Typically, this would require substantive changes that may necessitate significant work and time.

Revisions will need to be completed within 8 weeks and will normally take the form of:

  1. omissions and improvements which materially alter the conclusions
  2. improvements which require a major reorganisation of the work.
  3. Piece of work is not remediable, new piece of work to be submitted 

Fail

Failed work is work that is irredeemable and/or work that has serious flaws that undermine its quality and worth in important ways. This would normally relate to one or more of the specific criteria against which the work is assessed. In the case of the clinical module a fail would be awarded if, following due investigation, the trainee has been found to have engaged in serious professional misconduct (See BPS Professional Practice Guidelines). In addition, academic or research work that was subject to Major Amendment, has been re-submitted, re-marked and is again found to be below a pass (including minor amendment) standard will fail. Fails on academic submissions can only occur if the work is not submitted without mitigation, or following resubmission.

If the Work is at Pass Standard

If the work passes, the formative feedback is returned to the trainee and a pass mark recorded on the student progression form.

If the Work is at Minor Amendment standard

If a Minor Amendment is awarded, then the formative feedback will include specific instructions about the correction(s) required. It is then the trainee’s responsibility to make the corrections and re-submit the work to the Programme Administrator.

Trainees will be given 4 weeks to submit their Minor Amendments. The resubmission should include a cover sheet and the response letter to marker detailing a clear list of changes that have been made and indicate where they are in the script (e.g., page and line numbers). If the work is not re-submitted by the 4 week deadline a Fail would normally be recorded.

The work is re-marked by the marker only to check that the corrections have been made. If they have been made to the satisfaction of the marker, a Pass mark is recorded in the Student Progression Form. If the work does not meet the pass standard a Fail mark would normally be recorded.

If the Work is marked as requiring Major Amendments

If the work requires Major Amendments, the marker will set out what substantive issues need to be addressed to bring the work to “pass” standard. The marker and moderator will indicate in their feedback whether the amendments are in category i, ii or iii (see above). A Major Amendment mark and its category will be recorded on the Student Progression Form. The trainee is then required to make the changes and re-submit the work to the Programme Administrator.

Trainees will be given 8 weeks within which to submit their amendments. The resubmission should include a cover sheet and response letter to marker detailing a clear list of changes that have been made and indicate where they are in the script (e.g., page and line numbers). If the work is not re-submitted by the 8 week deadline a Fail would normally be recorded.

The work is re-marked by the marker only to check that the corrections have been made. If the amendments have been made to the satisfaction of the marker, a Pass mark is recorded on the Student Progression Form.

If the work does not meet the Pass standard, then the work can either be awarded a Minor Amendment or a Fail (if a Fail is awarded then this will be recorded on the Student Progression Form).

If a Minor Amendment is awarded, then the formative feedback will include specific instructions about the correction(s) required. It is then the trainee’s responsibility to make the corrections and re-submit the work to the Programme Administrator.

 Trainees will be given 4 weeks to submit their Minor Amendments. The resubmission should include a cover sheet and response letter to marker detailing a clear list of changes that have been made and indicate where they are in the script (e.g., page and line numbers). If the work is not re-submitted by the 4 week deadline a Fail would normally be recorded.

The work is re-marked by the marker only to check that the corrections have been made. If they have been made to the satisfaction of the marker, a Pass mark is recorded on the Student Progression Form. If the work does not meet the pass standard a Fail mark would normally be recorded.

Having to complete work marked as a Major Amendment does not alter commitments to other assignments and assessments due.

For the Thesis, please refer to the research chapter for guidance on resubmission deadlines.

If the Work is Failed

If the work is failed by the marker and the moderator endorses this marking category, it is routinely sent to the external examiner. The external examiner’s decision is final. The decision of the external examiner and feedback from the marker, incorporating the external’s comments, then goes to the trainee. If the outcome is a fail this is recorded on the student progression form. 

Recommendation for Programme Failure

Trainees are required to pass all categories of work subject to summative assessment, so a fail on any academic or research assessment will normally result in a recommendation to the Examination Board of Programme Failure.

If a trainee has received ANY TWO of the following, a recommendation for Programme failure to the Examination board would normally be made.

  • A Clinical Referral
  • An Academic or research assessment receiving a Major Amendment category iii mark.
  • A Thesis receiving a Resubmission (Category D on the marking criteria)

Feedback

Feedback on all work is provided to the trainee for the relevant assignment or assessment. We aim to notify trainees of their mark and provide feedback within three weeks of the deadline for submitting the work (please note work submitted within two weeks of the end of term or in holidays may not be returned until the first week of the following term). However, if the work needs arbitration by the external examiner, the trainee will be informed and feedback will be provided as soon as is reasonably possible. The marking categories awarded at that stage are provisional only, subject to ratification at the Exam Board. The feedback would normally provide: 1) an overall evaluation of the work, including strengths of the work; 2) if the work is either a Pass, Minor Amendment, Major Amendment, specific and sufficiently detailed guidance about required changes; 3) qualitative feedback about aspects of the work that were strong and those that could be developed further and; 4) (if requested) a response to the trainee’s specific request for feedback.

For Clinical Submissions

See Clinical chapter pages and appendices

Deadlines, Extensions and Extenuating Circumstances for Continuously Assessed Work

The timelines for assessment are available on the handbook. Deadlines must be adhered to and it is the trainee’s responsibility to ensure that work is submitted and received on time i.e. by 13:00 pm on the day of the deadline.

Work Submitted Late

Late submission of work is regarded as a serious professional practice issue. Work that is submitted up to two weeks late without mitigation will be reported to the Board of Examiners. Work that is submitted more than two weeks late without agreed mitigation/extenuating circumstances or not submitted, will normally result in a fail being recorded for that piece of work.

CEDAR Mitigation Committee

The remit of the mitigation committee, which covers the Programme, is as follows:

1. Consider in the light of relevant supporting evidence claims for granting extension of the submission date for assessed work

2. Evaluate claims of Mitigating Circumstances received by the Programme

3. Consider applications for deferral. 

The Committee meets once per term.

Mitigation forms and accompanying evidence should be sent to the Programme Administrator via DClinPsy@exeter.ac.uk

 Extensions policy for Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programmes

  1. Trainees registered on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme are expected to act in a professional manner, which includes ensuring that prompt action is taken to communicate with the programme team where issues arise which might prevent failure to meet assessment deadlines.
  2. Extensions to assessment deadlines will only usually be granted when an application for an extension is made ahead of the assessment deadline. This should be made on the mitigation form http://cedar.exeter.ac.uk/handbook/programme/assessment/ and sent to the Programme Administrator DClinPsy@exeter.ac.uk
  3. Failure to submit an assignment by the due date will result in a fail mark for that assignment unless an extension to the assignment deadline has previously been granted;
  4. Retrospective or late applications for an extension will only be considered in exceptional circumstances;
  5. Extensions to study will only be granted where there is clear evidence of serious and unexpected circumstances, which have disrupted the trainee’s studies. For further information in this regard please refer to the ‘Student Illness: Guidance notes and statement of procedures’ and appendix A of the ‘Code of Good Practice: Mitigation Committees’;
  6. It is recognised that trainees on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme are often involved, by virtue of the nature of the programme of study which they are undertaking, in employment where serious and unexpected demands might be made on them at points which may cause serious disruption to their ability to plan work to deadline;
  7. Trainees are, however, expected to act in a professional manner, which means that it is expected that they plan their studies and their workload such that it will be exceptional for ‘work demands’ to feature as sufficient cause to grant an extension, and where this is the case it must be evidenced;
  8. In some circumstances, trainees should consider whether it may be more appropriate to interrupt their studies if affected by circumstances which persistently impact on their ability to study;

 Consideration of extension requests are made in accordance with the 'Code of Good Practice: Mitigation Committees'  by the CEDAR Mitigation Committee.

CEDAR Mitigation Form

University Mitigation regulations

Review of Assessment Procedures

Our assessment procedures for continuously assessed work are subject to ongoing review and so may change over the duration of training. The academic director quality assures assessment of academic work, the clinical director quality assures assessment of clinical work, and the research director quality assures assessment of the research work. In addition, the external examiners provide external moderation of the assessment process.

Marking and Appeals Procedure

If a programme member feels that there has been irregularity in the marking of an assignment and wishes to appeal against a provisional mark prior to the Examination Board, they should bring the grounds for their appeal in writing promptly to the attention of the Programme Director, who may then seek the opinion of an additional marker. The external examiner would then review both marks and the correspondence.  This will usually resolve the matter, but if a programme member still feels that he or she has grounds for a formal appeal, the university’s procedures should be followed.

Programme Member Complaints Procedure

Complaints can be made through the University Complaint Procedure.

Maintaining confidentiality is a vital aspect of maintaining professional standards. Any breeches in confidentiality in any assessments will result in the assessment automatically  being graded as a Major Amendment (i).