Examination and assessment

Formative coursework

Formative coursework does not count towards your final degree. Its purpose is to provide you with informal feedback from seminar teachers, which will help you to develop your analytical and writing skills ahead of summative coursework and examinations.  All courses include some kind of formative assessment.

Please consult the appropriate course director/administrator for guidance on the requirements for the format and submission of formative coursework as procedures vary across courses.

Summative coursework

Summative (assessed) coursework, does count towards your final degree and, along with your written examinations, is designed to evaluate your level of academic achievement.

Presentation 

Many students spend a lot of unnecessary time and money on the external presentation of their summative coursework. For an essay, a stapled document is sufficient. Dissertations, however, should be bound (e.g. spiral, tape, or slide binding) since they are generally larger documents.  

You will not be given extra marks for external presentation – it is the content of your work that is being examined.

Submission 

The Department of Social Policy has standard procedures for the submission of summative coursework for all of its courses (any course with the prefix SA). When submitting your work (essay, long essay, dissertation, project etc.) please ensure that you adhere to these procedures:

  • Ensure that your assessed work is anonymous.
    Your name must not appear anywhere on the coursework or the coversheet. Your five digit candidate number (available via LSE for You from mid-November) should be the only means of identifying your work. Administrative staff within the Department will not accept assessed work from you if it does not carry your candidate number.
  • Submit two copies of the coursework to the course administrator before 12:00 (midday) on the given deadline date.
    Each copy must have the Department Summative Coursework Cover Sheet  (WORD) attached.
  • Submit an electronic version of the coursework (Word or PDF format only) via Moodle before 12:00 (midday) on the given deadline date.
    Please refer to the instructions on the appropriate course Moodle page. The file name must be your five digit candidate number (e.g. 12345.doc)  and NOT your name, LSE student number, the course code or the essay title.
Postal Submissions

If you are planning to submit your coursework via post you are strongly advised to use a reliable courier service that offers recorded delivery. Please ensure that you allow adequate time for the package to arrive within the Department prior to the submission deadline.

You should post your submission to the following address:

<Administrator's Full Name>
London School of Economics and Political Science
Department of Social Policy (<Administrator's room number>)
Houghton Street
London
WC2A 2AE

Students submitting their coursework via post must complete and enclose a signed copy of the Summative Coursework Declaration Form| (WORD). This form should not be attached (e.g. stapled/bound) to the coursework as it will be retained by the course administrator to ensure anonymity in the marking process.

Submissions on your behalf

If someone else is submitting the hard copies of your coursework on your behalf, you should ensure that you include a completed Summative Coursework Declaration Form|.

The Declaration

The School considers academic integrity to be an issue of the utmost importance. Under the Conditions of Registration| for your programme of study you consented to all of your summative coursework (essays, projects, dissertations, etc) being analysed by plagiarism detection software.

The Department of Social Policy submits all summative coursework to Turnitin UK (iParadigms) for textual similarity review and the detection of plagiarism. Copies of all papers submitted to this software will be retained as source documents in the iParadigms reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism.

Students should NOT submit their summative coursework to Turnitin themselves as this may result in a report indicating a 100% match when the Department submits the same piece of coursework for textual similarity review.

When you submit the two hard copies of your coursework to the course administrator you will be asked to sign the following declaration:

I certify that I have read and understood the rules and regulations of the LSE regarding assessment procedures and offences and formally declare that all work contained within this document is my own apart from properly referenced quotations.

I understand that plagiarism is the use or presentation of any work by others, whether published or not, and can include the work of other candidates. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons, including other candidates, must be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks and a full reference to their source must be provided in proper form.

I understand that my work cannot be assessed unless both hard copy and electronic versions have been submitted by the given deadline. I understand that the electronic version of my work will be submitted to and retained by Turnitin for the purposes of plagiarism detection.

You or the administrator will date this signature as a formal record of when you made your submission.

Publication of assessed coursework

You will be invited to give signed consent for the Department to use your summative coursework as an example of good practice for future groups of students. Should the Department select your coursework for this purpose, please be aware that it may be published on the Department website, Moodle or Public Folders. You are under no obligation to provide consent for publication; it is optional.

All essays and dissertations submitted by students for assessment at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels are their own intellectual property. Therefore, students and graduates are free to use the content for publication elsewhere. It would be good practice to acknowledge the fact that the content has been submitted for assessment at LSE, for example, by including a note at the end of a journal article to say 'This article is based on a Masters dissertation submitted to the London School of Economics and Political Science as part of the MSc (fill name) in (fill year)'.

Further queries?

If you have any questions or queries about the general requirements for submitting your summative coursework, please contact the course administrator.

For information about a specific assignment (e.g. content, structure, format and length) students should refer to the relevant course guide, course Moodle pages or contact the course director/administrator.

Extensions 

If a student believes that he/she has good cause not to meet the deadline (e.g. illness/injury, bereavement or other serious personal circumstances), he/she should first discuss the matter with the course teacher and seek a formal extension, to be ratified by the Chair of the appropriate Sub-Board of Examiners.

If a student misses the deadline for submission he/she should first discuss the matter with the course teacher. If the student feels he/she had good cause for missing the submission deadline (e.g. illness/injury, bereavement or other serious personal circumstances), he/she may seek a formal extension, to be ratified by the Chair of the appropriate Sub-Board of Examiners.

Extensions will be granted only where there is good cause backed by official supporting evidence (e.g. medical certificate), and where the circumstances are unforeseen and out of the student's control. All evidence must be in English. Any extension granted must be confirmed in writing to the student.

Exceptional Circumstances

If you wish to make the Sub-Board of Examiners aware of your circumstances and how you feel these have affected your assessed performance, please complete the Exceptional Circumstances form (available from the Student Service Centre).  The form  must be accompanied by official, original evidence of your circumstances (such as doctor's letter, hospital note, death certificate, police reports).

This form  and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Student Services Centre on the ground floor of the Old Building within seven days after your last exam, or after your dissertation/coursework submission deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that any documentation or letters that you have given to the Department about your circumstances over the year are sent to the Student Services Centre if you wish them to be considered by the Board of Examiners.

Frequently asked questions| (Student Services website)

Penalties for the late submission of summative coursework 

If a student fails to submit by the set deadline (or extended deadline as appropriate), the following penalty will apply:

Five marks out of 100 will be deducted for coursework submitted within 24 hours of the deadline and a further five marks will be deducted for each subsequent 24-hour period (working days only) until the coursework is submitted.  After five working days, coursework will only be accepted with the permission of the Chair of the Sub-Board of Examiners.

Exceeding the word limit 

If it is clear that a piece of coursework exceeds the set word limit, the markers will make a judgement based only on the content up to the word limit.

Exceeding the page limit

If a piece of coursework exceeds the set page limit, the markers will make a judgement based only on the content up to the page limit.

Feedback 

Students will receive feedback on any summative coursework they are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted long essays/dissertations). They will normally receive this feedback before the examination period.

The following information should be taken into account with regards to the feedback on your summative coursework.

  • In order to ensure anonymity in the marking process, under no circumstances should you contact either your lecturer or class teacher regarding the feedback you receive. 
  • The Department  issues feedback with an indication of a provisional mark to students for summative work.
  • Summative work is marked by two internal markers and may also be reviewed by an External Examiner.

Examinations

Examinations for all courses take place during the summer term (May/June). There are a few exams held outside this period and you will be informed if this applies to any of your courses.

The examination timetable will be available at the end of the Lent Term. You must be available to sit your examinations and answer any queries about your script up to the end of the Summer Term (early July). You can obtain your unique candidate number and personal examination timetable via LSE for You from the end of the Lent Term.

To help you prepare effectively for your examinations you should make yourself fully aware of the format and syllabus to be covered in the examinations. Specimen examination papers (or appropriate examination-type questions) are provided for (i) any new course or (ii) an existing course where there have been significant changes to the syllabus in the current academic year. Permitted materials are also specified early in the year.

Past papers can be access via the Library web pages| (access restricted to LSE network only).

Marking procedures

All assessed work (coursework and examination scripts) must be anonymous and distinguished only by candidate number. Names and candidate numbers are not matched until after the final Examination Board. Each script is marked independently by two internal markers. A final mark is obtained when these two markers meet to confer and agree marks. In cases where the markers are unable to agree a mark, the paper in question is sent to an External Examiner. The External Examiner also receives a sample of scripts and other assessed material from the top, the middle and the bottom of the range in order to confirm that internal marking has been consistent and of an appropriate standard. They shall normally be sent examination scripts and other work that have been assessed internally as meriting a first / distinction or a failure.

Marking schemes

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