Student using a computer in the library

Assessments guide

If you have any questions relating to assessments which are not covered below, please speak to a Student Support Adviser or read the assessments FAQs.

What is an assignment?

Assignments are student work which are marked and contribute towards the achievement of the module. Assignments usually mean work which is coursework, although an examination may also be expected as part of the module assessment.

Assignments can be undertaken through a range of methods: essay, laboratory report, poster, oral presentation, research report, dissertation, blog, final project, artwork and portfolio.

What is an assessment?

Assessment means the methods the University uses to evaluate student learning. The assessment method may be ‘controlled’ (an exam, presentation), or a method where you do something in your own time (eg coursework).

What kind of assessments can I expect from my modules?

Most assessments are either referred to as coursework or exams, however, the University permits a wide variety of assessment types, and the nature of your assessments will depend on the module you are studying.

Other types of assessment can include: exhibitions, performances, in-class tests, field work and many others.

How do I find out what the assessments (exams, coursework etc) are in every module I am taking?

Details of all assessments should be made available at the start of teaching on each module that you are taking. This information should make it clear what type of assessment you will be required to take and, in the case of coursework, how it should be submitted.

These details can be found in online sources or in module handbooks.

What is coursework?

Coursework is a piece of work that you would normally complete outside of the class room, for example an essay, a poster or a piece of group work. You should check your module information for exact details of the coursework you are required to submit.

Coursework is undertaken throughout the delivery of the module and can be formative or summative.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is an assignment where the student undertakes independent research on a topic with specific support by a tutor.

Usually the dissertation is undertaken in the final year of undergraduate and Masters programmes, and results in a thesis being written.

What is an essay?

An essay is a written piece of work which may analyse, critique, review and/or discuss a specific topic. The arguments within the essay will be informed by texts, peer-reviewed sources and appropriate e-resources.

What is an examination?

An examination or exam is a piece of work produced under controlled conditions. It is usually scheduled for a specific time and date, and usually has a time limit. Exams can include essays, performances or other forms of work. You should check your module information for exact details of the exam.

Exams are usually summative assessments which may include multiple choice questions, short answers, computer-based questions and essays.

The exam process

Please read our exam section to find out more about exams at UWE Bristol, including what you'll need to bring, reasonable adjustments and how to get your results.

What is a final project?

Final projects are usually independent research projects undertaken in the final year of undergraduate or postgraduate study. A supervisor will provide guidance and technical experts may help in practical work skills.

The project usually results in a report or thesis/dissertation being generated.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is an assignment which is usually a collection of related work undertaken over a length of time which may include reflective written work, professional body requirements eg competency achievement/sign off or reviews of related topics.

Portfolios can form part of personal development activities through an award and can be paper or online based.

What is a primary source exercise?

A primary source is a first-hand testimony or evidence, thus exercises using primary sources would analyse and evaluate the sources for usefulness.

What is a professional practice report?

Professional practice is undertaken mainly within vocational awards and may take place in a practice setting eg within a hospital or school.

Mentors within practice will support the achievement of specific skills and tasks, and so the undertaking of these can be written up in a report as an assignment.

What is a reflective diary?

Reflection enhances deeper learning and a reflective diary collates a student’s personal learning journey through feelings, thoughts and lessons learnt, sometimes resulting in change of practice.

What is a survey?

Surveys can be undertaken as an assignment or as part of a report or project. Surveys can involve environmental fieldwork or be part of a societal or psychology research work. Surveys require the gathering of a range of data, either quantitative or qualitative.

Resit coursework

Module leaders are responsible for providing you with details of resit coursework.

If you have not received details of your coursework within 14 days of the publication of your results, you must contact your Student Administration Team (SAT) immediately.

Helpful resources

Our guidance film for students and operational guide for assessment and feedback will help you to find out more about the cycle of assessment and the University’s processes.

You may also find the following useful:

Back to top