Access to Higher Education Courses & QCF Vocational Courses

Marking and Assessment Policy

Access to Higher Education:

Access to Higher Education grading & marking regulations are laid down by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and apply to all Access to Higher Education qualifications.

To see the QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to Higher Education: Grading Scheme Handbook

Access to Higher Education and QCF/ NVQ courses:

Fair Assessment Policy

STAR and its partners aim to provide fair assessment for all Learners on qualification based programmes. Assessment practice will be open and consistent within the codes of practice and regulations laid down by the relevant awarding bodies.

All assessments must be conducted rigorously and accurately and, where appropriate, in accordance with the awarding bodies published criteria, standards and timelines.

For all Access to HE courses there will be two moderation windows a year to coincide with the UCAS timetable for entry to undergraduate programmes for October and January intakes.


Assessment Evidence

Assessment evidence will be judged according to the principles of VARCS:

  • Validity - evidence must be suitable to the syllabus/standards it is addressing and less than two years old. Previously attained certificates in support of your competency must also fall into this timeframe and be explained by you as to how they link to the current qualification being undertaken.
  • Authenticity - evidence must reflect your knowledge, skills and understanding and your Teaching and Learning Tutor will ask that you to sign and date every piece of evidence so that you confirm the evidence is your own work. The work of another person must not be submitted as your own. Other sources may be used as long as you appropriately reference these.
  • Relevant – evidence should be appropriate and relevant to the syllabus/standards it is addressing.
  • Currency – evidence should show that you are competent now.
  • Sufficiency – evidence must show consistent performance to the required level over a period of time. You are required to each time you use the Virtual Learning Environment to update your Learning Log (that your Tutor can see as evidence of learning time by you).

The chosen format and method of assessment must be appropriate to the qualification/unit of competence, and any conditions specified by the awarding body. Assessment materials must be presented in clear and unambiguous language and must differentiate only on the basis of your knowledge, skills and understanding. Such materials must be free from any overt or covert discrimination against any individual either in wording or content.

You will be assessed in the same manner against the same standards and will not be discriminated against or treated more harshly or more leniently than any other learners.

As part of the induction process all new learners may be asked by the Tutor to undertake an initial assessment of literacy and numeracy skills. This will be used to assess Functional Skill levels and to inform decisions about any additional courses which may be offered to you in the early stages of your course which will improve your skills in these areas.


Internal Assessment

STAR will only appoint assessment staff whose knowledge, skills and understanding are appropriate for the programmes they assess. Assessment staff will maintain their competence by regular staff development activities organised internally or externally.

Assessment must be available to all those who have the potential to achieve the standards required for a particular qualification. However, some learners may need access to alternative means of providing evidence.

Such assessment methods must balance the need of the learner against the requirements of the awarding bodies, and care must be taken to ensure that any proposed assessment methods are of equal quality and rigour to those for mainstream learners in order to demonstrate that the learner has achieved the national standards.

Learners/Students may be identified has having particular assessment requirements in relation to, for example, learning difficulties, a visual, hearing or physical impairment, a mental illness, or English as a second language. This means that they will need appropriate guidance and/or support (at their own expense) in their development to help them meet the required standards such as:

  • Help with communication
  • Adapted physical environment
  • Information technology
  • Confidence building

STAR will either appoint assessment staff able to deliver assessments in these circumstances, or advise the learner on how to obtain additional help before they embark on their qualification with STAR. For example a learner who has English as a second language may find an external ESOL course is a more appropriate first step before starting a course with STAR College.

Following all assessments, written or oral feedback must be given to you as soon as possible. Feedback should be as helpful as possible to you, confirming what has gone well and giving clear guidance on what you need to do in order to improve on your performance.

Assessment will be internally verified in accordance with STAR's procedures. Formative assessment will take place twice if time allows and must be conducted by reference to the awarding body national standards covering the required skills, knowledge and understanding.

STAR's Internal Verification strategies will be used at all internal verification interventions to ensure quality, consistency and fairness, and these strategies will be reviewed annually. Summative assessment will only take place when the assessment process is complete in accordance with awarding body requirements and as deemed complete by the assessment staff.


External Assessment

External assessment will be administered strictly in accordance with instructions issued by the relevant awarding bodies. Learners/Students may be selected for interview by External Verifiers to ensure that consistent fair practice is being used by STAR's assessment staff.


Learners Code of conduct, Policies & Handbook

Positive behaviour:

  • STAR College has a policy of positive learner behaviour management. A culture of mutual respect will exist through strategies that recognise and reward good behaviours.
  • Curriculum managers will establish their own mechanisms for the reward of positive behaviour, mechanisms may include participation enrichment activity, encouraging peer behaviour management so that poor behaviour is picked up by peers rather than by tutors and other staff.
  • Good learner behaviour requirements are embedded within the enrolment process; these will be reviewed and refreshed as necessary throughout the year.
  • Behaviour from students that falls short of expectations will be dealt with quickly through the student disciplinary procedure.

What are our expectations of student behaviour? Students will:

  • Attend regularly and be on time for their appointments.
  • Act safely and sensibly and take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others when involved in College activities.
  • Act respectfully towards staff, other students, visitors and College property, this means not using offensive language whilst participating in College activities.
  • Take an active part in their lessons and not disrupt the learning of others in any way.
  • Follow reasonable instruction from any member of staff.
  • Take an active part in College life.
  • Complete their work to the best of their ability and hand in or upload it in on time.
  • Meet the requirements of their learning agreement.
  • Abide by all College policies and procedures as relevant to them including the policy on the acceptable use of IT.
  • A zero tolerance policy is operated in relation to the following forms of poor behaviour. Immediate action will be taken against any student found to have engaged in any of these actions and in the most serious cases this could lead to the exclusion of the student permanently from College:
  • Bullying and harassment whether this is in person or over the internet, social media, text messages or telephone
  • Any form of discrimination, this includes making racist, sexist or homophobic comments or offensive comments about students or staff with a disability.
  • Being under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or offensive weapons when participating in College activities.
  • Putting young people or vulnerable adults at risk, whether this is physically, sexually or emotionally.

To see further list of Company policies (click here)

To see the Learner handbook (click here)


Teaching and Learning Tutor’s code of conduct

Teaching and Learning Tutor will have some from of 121 (phone/e-mail/Skype etc) contact you every 4-5 weeks, as a minimum.

Teaching and learning Tutors at STAR strive to work with individual learners/students and hope that most concerns are dealt with quickly and efficiently. It is our ethos that all learners are given a chance to improve and will be supported to achieve this.

All Learners will sign a Learning Agreement (as will your employer where appropriate) and assessor.

Assessors will give you regular feedback and will keep your manager informed of your progress at the regular reviews that will take place throughout the duration of your qualification.


Rights and Responsibilities

In STAR there has to be some guidelines to ensure that everybody can enjoy and benefit from their studies. Hopefully everyone will recognise the need for these and will not have any difficulty following them.

In return STAR recognises that there may be occasions when you have a concern about some aspect of your course. You should raise these with your Tutor or assessor first. If your assessor cannot resolve the issue we would encourage you to contact the Head of Ixion Curriculum and Learner Journey.


General Information

What happens if you leave halfway through your programme?

We hope that this does not occur and we will do our best to ensure that you complete your programme and achieve your award. However we do realise that sometimes things happen that leave you with no alternative. All we ask is that you are honest with us and let us know your reasons you are thinking of leaving before completing your course.

Any 19+ Advanced Learning loan will remain in force as per any agreement between you and the Student Loans Company. No refunds can be given where upfront payment was via a debit or credit card.

What we expect from you as one of our Learners/Students

We ask that you attend all tutorials arranged by your Teaching and Learning Tutor and always have your portfolio of work available and uploaded onto our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in a timely manner and as agreed with your tutor. Plus complete your Learning log on the VLE re your hours spent learning.

If you are unable to attend a tutorial you need to telephone your Teaching and Learning Tutor before the scheduled tutorial to let them know that you are going to be late or that you are not going to be able to attend.

Information Support and Guidance

Throughout your training you will be given a lot of information, support and guidance to ensure you get the most from your course. However if you are experiencing problems you need to inform your Teaching and Learning Tutor.

Good Communication

Good communication between all parties is essential. How this is achieved:

  • Regular 121 reviews between you and your Teaching and Learning Tutor where you can air your views and discuss issues and talk over problems.
  • You may be visited by your Teaching and Learning Tutor at your workplace to ensure you are receiving the best possible information, support and guidance.
  • By asking for one-to-one support as and when required if working in online group or webinar proves difficult for you.

Getting the most from your training

Tips to remember:

  • Be punctual.
  • Attend regularly.
  • Use initiative and common sense.
  • Tell your Tutor early if you have issues or concerns.
  • Ring your Teaching and Learning Tutor before the tutorials if you are going to be absent or late.
  • Ask if you are unsure of anything regarding your qualification or how the course works.
  • If you are going to be on holiday or away from work for any length of time, let your assessor know in advance.

Welcome to Ixion College. Ixion College is a brand owned by Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Ltd. Your learning agreement, should you wish to take a course with Ixion College, will be with Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Ltd under Ixion's UKPRN 10033758.

Awarding organisations we work with:

Want to know more about the Qualification Assurance and Awarding bodies?

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