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Tuesday 29 July
Curriculum > Anglia Ruskin University Curriculum

ACADEMIC OFFICE

Semesters, Trimesters and the Link to Assessment

Semesters and Trimesters: what they mean and how they work....

In 2011/12 academic year, Anglia Ruskin introduced a rationalised and streamlined approach to learning and teaching periods across all Anglia Ruskin taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses which applies to all delivery in the UK and at international Associate Colleges.

This webpage has been designed to provide further detail on the background to this approach and to help staff and students understand how semesters and trimesters work. On this page you can find out about:

The Senate has approved academic calendars up to the 2014/15 academic year which reflect the standard approach to learning and teaching periods detailed on this page. These can be viewed and downloaded from the Academic Calendar webpages.

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Background to Our Approach

During Spring 2010, the Project Board on the Rationalisation of Curriculum Structures, Management and Delivery identified a number of issues which cause confusion across the institution and its Associate Colleges: (i) the use of learning and teaching periods; (ii) their link to assessment periods and; (iii) the terminology currently used to describe Anglia Ruskin’s range of delivery patterns. It was noted that these issues, in turn, lead to an inefficient use of staff and physical resources, and required urgent attention.

A consultation paper outlining the Project Board’s initial proposals with regard to learning and teaching periods was circulated during April and May 2010 to all faculties and relevant support services as part of a consultation exercise.  Feedback was considered at the Project Board meeting of 26th May 2010 and at the meeting of the former Academic Standards, Quality & Regulations Committee (ASQRC) of 30th June 2010.

Full details of the proposals were circulated, by e-mail, to all key postholders (including Deans of Faculty, Deputy Deans of Faculty, Directors of Studies, Heads of Department, Faculty Business/Resource Managers, Directors and Assistant/Deputy Directors of Support Services and relevant Heads of Unit in Support Services) on 1st October 2010 and discussed by Faculty Boards in October 2010 with final endorsement by the Senate in November 2010 - leading to the approval and publication of revised academic calendars.

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Definitions for Semesters and Trimesters

The Academic Regulations recognise formally two types of delivery pattern: Semesters and Trimesters. These are defined as follows:

  • Semesters – two periods in the academic year (September to January and January to June)
  • Trimesters – three periods in the complete 12 month period (September to January; January to June and June to September)

Therefore, it follows that:

  • Semester 1 and Trimester 1 are identical, run concurrently and feed into the same assessment periods.
  • Semester 2 and Trimester 2 are identical, run concurrently and feed into the same assessment periods.
  • Trimester 3 runs during the summer vacation (June – September) and comprises 10 weeks of teaching (rather than 12).

All of Anglia Ruskin's undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses are delivered in this way - either a Semester basis or a Trimester basis. Therefore, for each academic year, two calendars are published: Semester and Trimester deliveries.

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The Link to the Assessment Process

It is essential that a clear and transparent link exists between learning and teaching periods and the assessment process.

The simple table below has been developed to demonstrate the link between each of the defined learning and teaching periods and assessment periods (you can click on the image below in order to view and download the table).

It explicitly shows when students will undertake their assessment tasks (in terms of final submission dates and examination periods) and the set of assessment meetings that will consider the outcomes of the assessment process for the delivery of the module (Departmental Assessment Panels (DAPs), Mitigation Panel, Student Reviews and Awards Board).

L&T Periods Linked to Assessment Periods

 

The same information is also presented in an alternative format. You can download the document below which lists the function of each the individual assessment periods for delivery at Anglia Ruskin and in the UK (a hybrid version for the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education is also available).

Function of Assessment Periods - UK

Double Period Modules

Some modules are delivered over more than one period, most usually starting in Semester 1 and continuing until the end of Semester 2. Such modules are identified on SITS as SEM1-2.

Any module taught and assessed over a double period maps to the pattern for the latter period. For example: for a module delivered and assessed over Semesters 1 and 2, the assessment is considered under the Semester 2 schedule, as outlined in the above table.

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Full-time, 1 Year, Taught 180 Credit Masters Courses

Taught Masters students completing a full-time 180 credit masters course in one year (ie: September 2012 to September 2013) do so on a Trimester basis (eg: 60 credits in Trimester 1, 60 credits in Trimester 2 and 60 credits in Trimester 3).

Trimester 3 will include the completion of the Major Project module.  In recognition of the significance of a postgraduate Major Project module both for the student and the marking and moderation process, there is a common deadline across Anglia Ruskin for submission of the postgraduate Major Project for all full-time Master's students who are taking and completing the Major Project during Trimester 3 - the last Friday of September (27th September 2013 for Trimester 3 in 2012/13). Other taught modules delivered in Trimester 3 will continue to use the standard final deadline for all work - the end of August.

Consequently, postgraduate Major Project modules taken and submitted in Trimester 3 are not considered by the Trimester 3 assessment cycle as it will not be possible for Major Projects submitted at the end of September to be marked and moderated in time for the standard Trimester 3 assessment meetings.  Instead, all postgraduate Major Project modules which are taken and submitted in Trimester 3 are formally considered by a new small round of DAPs (one Joint DAP per Faculty, including appropriate external examiner attendance, as required by the Academic Regulations) held at the end of November, to feed into the December meeting of the Awards Board, in the following academic year.

Therefore, awards for completing students who study on a full-time masters course from September 2012 to September 2013 will be conferred by the December 2013 Awards Board.

Semester/Trimester 2 Entry

Two patterns of delivery are possible for full-time taught master's courses with a Semester/Trimester 2 (February) start:

(a) Semester delivery – ie: taught modules are NOT delivered during the summer vacation:

  • 60 credits in Semester 2
  • 60 credits in Semester 1
  • 60 credits in Semester 2 (including Major Project)
In these circumstances, the submission date for the Major Project module will be set for the second or third Friday in May in order to allow adequate time for marking and moderation for processing through the Semester/Trimester 2 DAP and Awards Board.  Therefore, awards for completing students who study on a full-time masters course on a Semester basis from February 2012 to May 2013 will be conferred by the June 2013 Awards Board.

(b) Trimester delivery – ie: taught modules are delivered during the summer vacation:

  • 60 credits in Trimester 2
  • 60 credits in Trimester 3
  • 60 credits in Trimester 1 (including Major Project)

In these circumstances, the same principle outlined above for standard trimester delivery applies.  The deadline for submission of the Major Project will be the last Friday of February.

Consequently, postgraduate Major Project modules taken and submitted in Trimester 1 will not be considered by the Semester/Trimester 1 assessment cycle.  Instead, all postgraduate Major Project modules that are taken and submitted in Trimester 1 will be formally considered by the DAPs held in April.  Therefore, awards for completing students who study on a full-time master's course from February 2013 to February 2014 will be conferred by the April 2014 Awards Board

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Award Ceremonies

Anglia Ruskin's award ceremonies are held in early October.

Therefore, Masters students on courses delivered on a Trimester basis who are submitting a major project in Trimester 3 will not be eligible for inclusion in Award Ceremonies until the following year as the assessment process for Trimester 3 will not be completed in time to allow attendance. For example: students studying a full-time 180 credit MA course in 2012/13 will complete their final piece of work for submission in September 2013, will be considered by the December 2013 Awards Board and will therefore be invited to the October 2014 Award Ceremony.

Full-time masters students who commence their course in Semester/Trimester 2 (February) on a Semester basis (see Full-time, 1 Year, Taught 180 Credit Masters Courses above), will be eligible for inclusion in Award Ceremonies in the following academic year. For example: students studying a full-time 180 credit MA course who start in February 2013 on a Semester basis will complete their final piece of work for submission in May 2014, will be considered by the June 2014 Awards Board and will therefore be invited to the October 2014 Award Ceremony.

Full- time masters students who commence their study in Semester/Trimester 2 (February) on a Trimester basis (see Full-time, 1 year, Taught 180 Credit Masters Courses above), will be eligible for inclusion in Award Ceremonies in the following academic year. For example: students studying a full-time 180 credit MA course who start in February 2013 on a Trimester basis will complete their final piece of work for submission in February 2014, will be considered by the June 2014 Awards Board and will therefore be invited to the October 2014 Award Ceremony.

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Accommodating International Associate Colleges in the Assessment Process

In order to accommodate the delay in completing the assessment process which inevitably occurs with the transit to the UK, receipt and moderation of assessed work from international Associate Colleges, additional assessment cycles are conducted throughout the academic year.

This approach means that re-assessment for international delivery from Semester / Trimester 2 cannot take place in July (as the outcomes of the initial assessments will not have been confirmed).  Therefore, a separate examination period and submission point for Semester / Trimester 2 re-assessments for international Associate Colleges is required and takes place in late August.  This, in-turn, requires the writing of additional examination papers and other assessment tasks by Module Leaders for use at international Associate Colleges in order to maintain the security of the assessment process.

Therefore, in summary, assessment conducted at Anglia Ruskin's internaional Associate Colleges is administered as follows:

  • Semester / Trimester 1 assessment at international Associate Colleges is administered 3-4 weeks later (than the UK equivalent) in late February/early March;
  • Semester / Trimester 2 assessment at international Associate Colleges is administered 3-4 weeks later (than the UK equivalent) in late July.
  • Semester / Trimester 1 and Semester / Trimester 2 re-assessment at international Associate Colleges is administered in late September/early October
  • Trimester 3 assessment at international Associate Colleges is administered in late September/early October;
  • Trimester 3 re-assessment at international Associate Colleges is administered in the following academic year in late February/early March.

 

The above information is neatly summarised in the document below which lists the function of each the individual assessment periods for delivery at international Associate Colleges.

Function of Assessment Periods 3 - International

 

[NB: The published academic calendars are for delivery of courses at Anglia Ruskin's main campuses in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Fulbourn and Peterborough (Guild House) and our Associoate Colleges throughout the UK (except the LCA Business School). Teaching dates and examination periods for our overseas Associate Colleges broadly match those used in the UK, and comply with the assessment system described in this section, but small local variations have been agreed on occasion to accommodate, for example, different public holidays in different jurisdictions. Exact details are provided to students in their Student Handbooks.]

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Further Queries and/or Information

If you require more information on the detail provided in these pages, please contact Paul Baxter, Director of the Academic Office.