PART ONE : SUMMARY RESPONSE ON STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENT

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1 External Examiner s Report Award and Foundation Degrees in Health & Physical Activity and Sports Programme Title(s) Fitness Management Date of report July 2011 Academic year 2010/11 University School or Centre (include identity of any partner organisation(s)) Instructions Health and Social Sciences (including delivery in association with Manchester College) Please complete the following template, typing your text into the box beneath each heading, as indicated. If any matters raised apply solely or particularly to any collaborative provision encompassed by this report please ensure that this is clear and that you identify the partner institution(s) involved if it is not otherwise evident. PART ONE : SUMMARY RESPONSE ON STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENT 'In the view of the examiners, the standards set for the awards are appropriate for qualifications at this level, in this subject.' Is the above statement correct (/No) If you have stated no, or if you wish to give additional information, please do so below. n/a 'In the view of the examiners the standards of student performance are comparable with similar programmes or subjects in other UK institutions with which they are familiar.' Is the above statement correct (/No) If you have stated no, or if you wish to give additional information, please do so below. n/a Recee 'In the view of the examiners, the processes for assessment, examination and the determination of awards are sound and fairly conducted.' Is the above statement correct (/No) Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 1 of 7

2 If you have stated no, or if you wish to give additional information, please do so below. n/a Where appropriate, a description or bullet point list of any particular strengths or distinctive or innovative features in relation to standards and assessment processes, that would be worth drawing to the attention of external audiences. The programmes provide opportunities to develop key areas of vocational knowledge and relevant employability skills which should prepare students well for a variety of roles in the Sport and Physical Activity Industry. The module booklets provide very clear information about what the students are expected to do; the grade descriptors for each assessment are particularly helpful The assessments are relevant to the skills and/or knowledge being assessed (e.g. an exam to test factual knowledge, a portfolio to document and reflect on work experience), and the variety of assessment methods suits a variety of different learning styles, allowing all students to demonstrate their ability FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE PROGRAMME LEADER: The issues and good practice raised in this report should be incorporated within the relevant Programme Quality Enhancement Plan (PQEP) and a copy of the plan sent to the External Examiner (with a covering letter) and (unless the PQEP is on QualTrack) to by the end of November. Received: Circulated: Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 2 of 7

3 PART TWO: QUALITY OF PROVISION This section of the Report will be used to give the Programme Team (including staff at any partner organisation) further feedback on the quality being achieved in the programme, the effectiveness of the assessment processes, the quality of the student learning experience and the quality of student achievement. Where responsibilities include collaborative provision please identify the partner organisation(s) involved. It would be useful if you could identify areas of good practice as well as issues for action. A. Academic Quality Please give your views on the quality being achieved in the curriculum and the quality of provision being delivered, particularly curriculum content and teaching and learning strategies. Please indicate any specific action that you believe could be taken to enhance quality. If you feel that quality is at risk in any respect, please comment on any specific action that could be taken to address this. PLEASE PROVIDE AN OVERALL RATING OF ACADEMIC QUALITY Key: 1=Excellent 2=Highly satisfactory 3=Acceptable 4=Unsatisfactory 5=Very unsatisfactory 2 Please identify concisely below those major strengths and/or weaknesses (if any) in Academic Quality which in your view are sufficiently significant to warrant explicit attention, action and tracking by the appropriate part(s) of the University. 1. Vocational relevance of programmes, particularly Sport & Fitness Management 1. The curriculum content for Sport & Fitness Management appears constructive and vocationally relevant, providing students with a good understanding of the theoretical underpinning as well as practical and vocational skills. There is an increasing requirement for business skills in this area of the industry, and several aspects of this are included within the programme. It would be good to see more reflection on development of business skills within the PDP. Communication skills have been identified by employers as being frequently lacking in new graduates, and while this programme does include opportunities for development of these skills, further encouragement of this, perhaps within the PDP, would be worthwhile. The Health & Physical Activity programme may now be a little dated, as the industry is closely linked to changes in government policy. There are some very relevant modules within the programme, and its appeal may be increased by inclusion of more on health promotion, and lifestyle disorders such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As aging is now a big issue, a module on working with older adults may also be relevant to the industry. Discussion with employers may help to identify aspects which improve employability of the graduates. Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 3 of 7

4 B. Assessment Processes Please comment on the appropriateness of the assessments in assessing the learning outcomes of the units (including work-based learning where relevant), the reliability of internal marking procedures and the effectiveness of the moderation processes. PLEASE PROVIDE AN OVERALL RATING OF ASSESSMENT PROCESSES Key: 1=Excellent 2=Highly satisfactory 3=Acceptable 4=Unsatisfactory 5=Very unsatisfactory Please identify concisely below those major strengths and/or weaknesses (if any) in Assessment Processes which in your view are sufficiently significant to warrant explicit attention, action and tracking by the appropriate part(s) of the University. 1. there is evidence of a robust 2 nd marking system, which is used in all modules 2. generally, feedback given to students is very helpful and constructive, even for students who have achieved good marks (although, see comments below) 3. the assessments are challenging, appropriate, and encourage the development of vocational skills and knowledge. 1. Although the majority of students make good use of literature, and reference reasonably well, it is important to provide consistent feedback on the accuracy of referencing to ensure that students get a consistent message The assignments are engaging and vocationally relevant, while encouraging the development of academic skills, in both programmes. Although some students did achieve good marks, there were very few in the 70+ category. This may be a feature of the particular cohort, however it might be worth considering how students achieving towards the top end of each band might break into the band above: although feedback is generally very good, focussing it specifically on how to get from the 60 s into the 70 s (for example) would be helpful (e.g. in SFM2004). The first and second marking procedures and feedback are generally very good, and it is clear that the team have put a lot of work into this aspect. There are still a couple of exceptions (i.e. less constructive feedback, lack of clarity on resolution of marks where they differ between first and second marker), which stand out due to the good quality of the majority, and staff development training or mentoring would be helpful where this applies. 1 Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 4 of 7

5 C. Quality of Student Learning Experience On the evidence available to you, please give your views on the quality of the students' learning experience, including provision of student support and guidance and teaching and learning resources, indicating whether you have had the opportunity to meet students. PLEASE PROVIDE AN OVERALL RATING OF STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE Key: 1=Excellent 2=Highly satisfactory 3=Acceptable 4=Unsatisfactory 5=Very unsatisfactory 2 Please identify concisely below those major strengths and/or weaknesses (if any) in the Student Learning Experience which in your view are sufficiently significant to warrant explicit attention, action and tracking by the appropriate part(s) of the University. 1. Very clear and informative module handbooks 1. There were a significant number of late or non-submissions on some modules The module booklets are well-written and provide very useful guidelines for the students. The grade descriptors for the assessments are particularly helpful, showing what is needed for each grade, although the description for the 40-49% band in HPA2002 may need revising, as it tends to focus on what is not achieved, rather than what is, which may lead students to believe that they need to do very little to pass this module! In a couple of the L4 modules, there were quite a few non-submissions and late submissions, even in semester 2 (e.g. SMF1004), and it would be helpful to investigate reasons for this, as it may affect retention and progression. Aspects to consider may be: timing of submission dates, inclusion of a formative assessment, or increased tutor support (e.g. SMF1004 portfolio on work placement). Inclusion of student feedback sheets (i.e. indicating student comments on the modules) with the assessment sample would be useful, especially where there are low marks or non/late submissions. I have not had an opportunity to meet students this year; it would be helpful to try to set up a time to meet some of them on the day of the first semester assessment board. Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 5 of 7

6 D. Student Achievement Please comment on the overall quality of performance being achieved by students. PLEASE PROVIDE AN OVERALL RATING OF STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT Key: 1=Excellent 2=Highly satisfactory 3=Acceptable 4=Unsatisfactory 5=Very unsatisfactory 3 Please identify concisely below those major strengths and/or weaknesses (if any) in Student Achievement which in your view are sufficiently significant to warrant explicit attention, action and tracking by the appropriate part(s) of the University In SFM2004 (Research Methods), three of the students achieved first class marks, and it is good to see that the more able students have really taken the opportunity to work independently to develop an area of their own interest. There were, however quite a few students (6/8 in the SFM group), who achieved marks in the 40 s or lower, and it may be worth considering how to support these students into development of their independent learning skills, which tend to be highlighted on this type of module. One approach might be to ask students to predict their own grade, based on formative feedback halfway through the module, and then support them in development of an action plan to improve their work. The majority of students passed all modules, however the marks were overall quite moderate, with the best students achieving in the high 60 s. This may be a feature of the cohort, as commented on above. There was some very poor attendance, and some late and non-submission, particularly at L4, and it is important that these students are picked up at an early stage, and their support needs identified, to avoid failure or dropout. E. Do you have any additional comments about programme quality (other than any covered previously in this report), including good practice, which you particularly wish to note? The module documentation, as always, was carefully organised and presented, which was extremely helpful. The team have obviously acted on previous feedback, for example relating to consistency of 2 nd marking of assignments, as the approach is now very consistent and rigorous, with a clear indication of where marks have been moderated. Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 6 of 7

7 F. Are you satisfied that any previous comments made by you as External Examiner have been noted and responded to? Comments: The team continue to work very hard to ensure the quality of the teaching, learning and assessment of these two programmes, and it is clear that they have directly addressed the (relatively minor) comments made in the previous report. A very helpful 2 nd marking proforma is now used in all modules, including feedback from both first and second markers, and identifying where marks have been moderated. A standard feedback form is used for the majority of modules, and any discrepancies between the numerical indication of achievement on the feedback proforma, the language used in the feedback, and the grade given, are very rare. The enthusiasm, hard work and responsiveness of the team are impressive. FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE PROGRAMME LEADER: The issues and good practice raised in this report should be incorporated within the relevant Programme Quality Enhancement Plan (PQEP) and a copy of the plan sent to the External Examiner (with a covering letter) and (unless the PQEP is on QualTrack) to by the end of November. Please return by to Last updated: 04/11/11 Page 7 of 7

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