July 2023: Regulatory Framework Updates

Typewriter with the word "Update"

Please note that the changes listed below have taken effect in the month prior to publication, unless specified otherwise.

Assessment Regulations Framework 

The Assessment Regulations Framework has been newly designed to provide clarity to staff and students on the format, design and marking of assessment as conducted on modules and courses leading to University credit or an award. It sets out principles for effective assessments in the context of the underpinning external regulatory requirements published by the OfS.  

It includes the following Annexes: 

Annex 1 – Types of Assessments. This annex is in preparation and will be published in due course. 

Annex 2 – Qualification Level Descriptors, which sets out the descriptors adopted by the University, based on the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) with regard to the threshold level of achievement required for courses and modules at levels 4-8, and the Southern England Consortium for Credit Accumulation and Transfer in Credit Level Descriptors for Further and Higher Education for level 3. This annex also serves as Annex 2 of the Credit Framework. 

Annex 3 – University Grade Descriptors for Level 6, that are built on the threshold standards set out in Annex 2 and these articulate the generic outcomes and attributes expected for achievement above the threshold with respect to the classified award of a certificate, diploma or degree. Similar Descriptors for levels 3, 4, 5 and 7 are in preparation and will be released in due course.  

Annex 4 – Technical Proficiency in English Language, which provides direction to teaching staff and assessors on how to undertake the assessment of technical proficiency in English language effectively and in which assessments, as required by the OfS (Condition B4). 

Annex 5 – Assessment and Feedback Strategy 2022-25, which aims to embed a new, successful strategy for assessment and feedback that holistically supports staff in measuring student learning, boosting satisfaction, promoting equity and inclusion, improving graduate outcomes, and preparing students for future success. 

Annex 6 – Marking. This annex is not new, but it has been incorporated in the Assessment Regulations Framework. It also serves as Annex 6 of the Credit Framework. 

Annex 7 – Designing Assessment and Feedback for Learning which provides checklists designed to prompt academics’ self-evaluation of existing assessment and feedback practice and to encourage more effective assessment and feedback design. 

Annex 8 – Deterring Academic Misconduct which sets out principles of good practice and provides information on assessment design to help reduce the likelihood of students failing to adhere to the standards of academic integrity expected by the University of Kent. 



Changes to Course and Module Approval 

The updated documents can be found on the Codes of Practice for Taught Courses webpage. 

  1. Changes to New Course Approval  
  1. Changes to BCC for New Course Approvals  

Changes to BCC include changes to the scope, membership, terms of reference and available outcomes to ensure that approved new courses are sustainable and viable, and consequently meet the OfS B Conditions.    

  1. Introduction of New Course Probation Reviews  

BCC will review every new course that doesn’t meet its recruitment targets after two consecutive intakes to ensure that any concerns regarding such courses are addressed early. Such probation reviews will be incorporated in the course sustainability and viability reviews (see below).  

  1. Introduction of BCC Reviews for Course Sustainability and Viability  

Codifying the courses sustainability and viability reviews (also known as ‘small courses’) that had already been running in academic year 2022/23.  


  1. Introduction of the CASC Approval Panel  

This is to ensure holistic approach when considering new and revised (as per new criteria) courses. The proposal to introduce the CASC Approval Panel aims to ensure that assessments at the module level fulfil the course assessment strategy and offers the best protection in terms of B Conditions.  

  1. Changes to what is considered a new course  

Adding a foundation year to an existing course, a ‘Year in’, adding a minor subject (such a language) to an existing course, and adding pathways with 50% of more of credit for new modules (in stages contributing to the degree classification) will be considered as new courses and will require the BCC consideration.  

  1. Changes to Approval of Revised Courses  
  1. Change to classification of revisions for courses  

Revisions to courses will now include material, major and editorial changes.  

  1. Changes to what is considered a major revision to the course  

Adding a period abroad (with an approved partner institution) or placement year to an existing course will be considered as a major change and require the CASC consideration.   

  1. Changes to CASC  

Slight changes to CASC membership and introduction of the CASC Approval Panel (see 1.4 above).   

  1. Changes to the process of reinstating a previously suspended course  

Requests to reinstate a previously suspended course will be considered by the BCC.  

  1. Changes to Course Specification Templates (UG and PGT)  
  • The template will now incorporate the updated Kent brand and has been revised to meet the accessibility required and displayed in a student-friendly format.  
  • Addition of subject requirements (collated and published by CSAO) as an addendum in order to track changes to the offer of the optional modules, as appropriate.  
  • Addition of the internationalisation section at the course level.  


  1. Changes to the module specification template  
  • Addition of requirement for commentary on overall course assessment strategy to ensure the holistic approach and an appropriateness of assessment methods at a course level.  
  • Removal of internationalisation section at a module level.  


  1. Staff Data Dashboard on Staff Connect  

A dashboard on Staff Connect has been developed to provide the required data to satisfy the OfS Condition B2. Access to this dashboard will be made available by September 2023. 


Changes to document structure 

  • Annex A: Requirements for Taught Courses (New) – combines the requirements for courses outlined in the currently published Annex C and the OfS requirements set out in B Conditions. 
  • Annex A Appendix A: Requirements for modules (New) – sets out information and responsibilities on publishing the course and module specifications. 
  • Annex A Appendix B: Publication of Course and Module Specs (New) – sets out information and responsibilities on publishing the course and module specifications. 
  • Annex A Appendix C: QACO Audit (New) – sets outs the process for internal audit on course and module approval, carried out by QACO.  
  • Annex B: Approval of Taught Courses, Suspensions and Withdrawals (Revised) – replaces Annex C 
  • Annex B Appendix B: BCC Application (Revised) – replaces Appendix E of Annex C 
  • Annex B Appendix C: BCC Application to Reinstate a Previously Suspended Course (New) 
  • Annex B Appendix D: UG spec template (Revised) – replaces Appendix H of Annex C 
  • Annex B Appendix E: PGT spec template (Revised) – replaces Appendix I of Annex C 
  • Annex B Appendix F: Apprenticeship courses template (New) – TBA, will be published in due course 
  • Annex C: Approval of Modules, Suspensions and Withdrawals (Revised) – replaces Annex B 
  • Annex C Appendix A: Module specification template (Revised) 


Revised approach to course monitoring and review 

Changes are reflected in revised Annexes E and F of the Code of Practice for Taught Courses of Study. A revision of the corresponding processes for research courses is planned for this summer. 

The main changes are: 

  • Change from a once-a-year annual monitoring report for courses to continuous monitoring (from retrospective to forward-looking) 

This means that reviews take place as and when data and other information about a course becomes available, rather than up to 1.5 years later as was the case previously. It will allow for flexibility in planning the workload of the involved staff and reacting to input as and when necessary. 

  • Change from a narrative to a data-informed review with reporting by exception 

This means that courses that do meet the threshold expectations for specific areas, do not need to report on those areas.  

Where thresholds are not met, an analysis of the reasons and action plans were necessary will be developed. 

  • Collaborative review of courses 

This means that while the responsibility for the reviews lies with the respective Director of Studies, the review should take place in a collaborative manner with input from academics and students involved in the course. 

  • Possibilities for lighter touch period review 

Where courses are positively engaging in continuous monitoring and/or PSRB reviews, they can undergo periodic reviews with a lighter-touch approach. This means that not all reviews will need to include in person meetings but may be carried out desktop based.