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Quality Despite Resource Constraints: Fact or Fiction? J E McLachlan and Vivienne Wood Abstract The Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 expanded on the Government's long-standing policies in relation to wider access by positively encouraging higher education institution
s to increase provision of degree courses and two year full-time diplomas with a vocational emphasis, to increase opportunities for flexibility and to develop courses that would meet the needs of the economy, employers and students with varying needs and backgrounds. The Act also underlined the Government's aim to increase participation in higher education in Scotland to 40% of school leavers by the Year 2000. Napier University too has long been committed to the tenets of wider access (McLachlan & Wood, March 1992) but, despite this commitment to expansion, Napier, like many educational institutions
worldwide, has been constrained by limited accommodation, diminishing resources; increasing demands from Government that a higher percentage of funds must be generated by the Institution itself; pressures to develop its research base as well as to maintain the quality of the provision, the teaching and the learning experience
for students. How can all of these expectations be met by Institutions within existing constraints without the quality of provision being prejudiced and without putting even more pressure on staff or existing resources? This paper looks at four separate initiatives which, in different ways, show how these problems can be addressed while allowing the Institution to remain true to its objectives. Introduction of a Common First Year Curriculum Rationale One step towards wider access and increased student flexibility can be the introduction of a common first year curriculum across a number of related degree programs, ie in business. This approach allows students to sample a variety of subjects in business education, in the widest sense, enabling them to decide whether or not their original interest in a specific course has been borne out and whether or not they have an aptitude for that particular discipline. Students who believe that their first choice of course has been a wrong choice may then transfer to a different degree on completion of the first year, without loss of time and with no need for access or bridging courses in any specific subjects. As well as increased flexibility for students, additional benefits include the opportunity to provide a broader base for each of the degrees involved; the opportunity to revise and develop teaching methods
and to extend the use of student centred learning; the opportunity for common lectures; the introduction of common assessment regulations - with the attendant benefits for examination administration - and some resource saving. Pre-requisites for Adopting a Common Curriculum When introducing a common curriculum it is essential that any first year structure must underpin the later years of the individual degrees yet be broad enough to allow the students to make an informed decision regarding their course choice at the end of their first year of study. It is vital that any such development must have no detrimental effect on the success rate of students in their graduation year and that assessment strategies are carefully considered. An additional factor to be considered may be the requirements of Professional Bodies for exemption purposes.
Common First Year Adopted in 1987 at Napier University Structure
The Common First Year structure shown in Figure 1 was introduced in Napier University Business School in 1987.
Figure 1: Common First Year - Structure Agreed in 1987
Subject Accounting Behavioural Studies Business Organisation Economics I Information Systems
& Quantitative Methods I Seminar Total
Timetabled work hours per week 3.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 5.0 1.0 17.0
Number of weeks 30 30 30 30 30 30
Total hours per session 105 75 75 75 150 30 510
The new structure rationalised the subject provision across the first year of the degrees and ensured that all students enrolled on the first year of these degrees were exposed to the same number of staff contact hours per week. Weekly seminars were introduced to help students acquire skills in study and learning techniques and to give them advice on course and career choices
. Assessment Following rationalisation of the differing course assessment regulations, the Common First Year Assessment Regulations, detailed in Appendix I, were adopted and a policy of awarding exemptions from end of year examinations to students who had performed particularly well in coursework was introduced. This permitted any student who displayed exceptional merit in coursework performance
(an average mark of 65% with no single mark less than 60%) to be exempted from the end of session examination in that subject. A maximum of two exemptions were permitted, to ensure that students gained experience of sitting sessional examinations before progressing to second year, and students could decline the offer of exemptions opting to undertake the end of session examination. For those students who accepted exemption the average of their coursework marks was taken for Examination board
Students have viewed the opportunity to gain exemption from a maximum of two Final Exam
inations as one of the most positive aspects of the common first year with many qualifying for such exemptions each year. Conclusions Once the Common First Year had been fully operational for some years it was possible to compare the performance of the students before and after its introduction (Table 1). A more detailed analysis of performance in different aspects of assessment has also been carried out (McLachlan and Wood: Nov. 1993). Students enrolled on the Common First Year have performed as well as, or better than, those who were enrolled on the first years of the traditional stand-alone degrees prior to 1987; the quality of the provision has not been jeopardised; student flexibility has increased and resource savings have been made in terms of common lectures and assessments.
In the two statistically significant results performance has improved following the introduction of the Common First Year. These conclusions support the expectations of the Course Teams that students would not be disadvantaged by the introduction of a Common First Year.
Table 1: Analysis of Examination Performance in the Three Degrees 1982-1992
82/83 36 27 75% 59 46 78%
Pre Common First Year
83/84 84/85 85/86
43 34 45
41 95% 83 30 88% 63 41 91% 66
59 71% 45 71% 59 89%
86/87 57 53 93% 79 73 92%
Five year figure 82/87 215 192 89% 350 282 81%
87/88 60 52 87% 81 74 91%
Post Common First Year
88/89 89/90 90/91
56 68 46
54 96% 83 54 79% 114 41 89% 67
70 84% 97 85% 62 93%
91/92 62 58 94% 59 55 93%
Five year figure 87/92 292 259 89% 404 358 89%
Significance of Proportion comparing Pre-Post Common First Year
Significant at 5% level
Commerce 44 36 82% 62 43 69% 57 47 82% 70 56 80% 76 70 92% 309 252 82% 78 66 85% 83 70 84% 91 70 77% 93 84 90% 87 74 85% 432 364 84%
Overall 139 109 78% 188 143 76% 154 122 79% 181 156 86% 212 196 92% 874 726 83% 219 192 88% 222 194 87% 273 221 81% 206 187 91% 208 187 90% 1,128 981 87%
Articulating Course Provision in Accounting Student Intake and Expectations Students applying to higher Education institutions today have a wide range of abilities and include school leavers - some with little or no formal qualifications; some who have specialised in a given academic area such as Accounting and some high flyers with appropriate secondary school qualifications. Then there are those who have already embarked on a course of study elsewhere but discover that their first choice of course does not suit their ability or their aptitude and who wish to transfer to a different discipline area. Another group involves students who have already graduated in other disciplines but who wish to change direction and there are those already in employment who wish to further their career opportunities. Last but by no means least, are the mature students who may be returning to formal education after a gap of many years and who include single parents and married women
whose children are old enough to allow them to contemplate a return to education.
We believe that, no matter what their background may be, every student is capable of some level of achievement and that, therefore, it is vital that any program of study should provide appropriate exit points from which a student can leave with a recognised award having achieved their maximum potential. Given this belief, it is possible, in a specific discipline area such as Accounting, to design an articulating portfolio of courses which allows students to achieve their goal of obtaining an appropriate academic qualification, combined with maximum exemptions from any appropriate Professional bodies, thus increasing their likelihood of obtaining appropriate employment (McLachlan and Wood: January 1994). Portfolio of Articulating Provision Degree Provision
Such a Portfolio of Articulating Provision was developed at Napier University Business School in Accounting and could be replicated in any discipline area and in any Institution. The Common First Year introduced in 1987 forms the basis of the articulating courses and those students who successfully complete the BA Accounting degree can proceed to the full-time Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA) course, or can take employment and continue their studies via the part-time courses leading to ACCA or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualifications.
In March 1993 the BA Accounting Degree was extended to Honours and discussion is ongoing at present with the Board of Accreditation of Educational Courses, which acts for The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS), ACCA, CIMA, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), regarding the level of exemptions to be awarded to the revised, extended course. Certificate and Diploma Qualifications in Accounting Also in 1987, the Institution developed "Pilot" Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) courses in Accounting, under a delegated authority scheme with the Scottish vocational education
Council (SCOTVEC). These courses were developed in such a way as to ensure that they articulated - not only with the BA Accounting Degree but also with the ACCA and CIMA professional courses - and also attracted a range of exemptions from the Professional Accounting Bodies for those students successfully completing their HNC or HND qualification. For instance those qualifying with an HND, with appropriate Merits, can progress directly to the later stages of the ACCA or CIMA professional courses and those qualifying without Merits can be given complete exemption from the Association of Accounting Technicians (MI). As a result of the success of these courses, they were replaced with University Certificate and Diploma in Accounting
courses in Session 1993-94. The same articulation arrangements apply to these University qualifications with students performing at an acceptable level being able to transfer to the second year or, in exceptional cases, to the third year of the BA Accounting Degree, or to the later stages of the ACCA or CIMA professional courses. Professional Course Provision The professional accounting courses offered are continually being reviewed and updated with the agreement of the relevant Professional Bodies. In June 1993 ACCA granted approval for Napier to offer the full and part-time ACCA courses on an internally assessed basis thus giving the staff the authority to design the course structure, syllabus and assessment methods. CIMA is currently involved in a major review of its exemptions policy as a result of the introduction of the new CIMA syllabus in Session 1994-95. However, to date, there has been no indication that exemptions already agreed in respect of Napier's degree, certificate and diploma provision will be educed. External Articulation Articulation arrangements can be extended to encompass courses offered by other educational establishments, both on a formal and an informal basis, whereby their good students, having performed to a prescribed level, are accepted into the later years of higher level courses in the receiving Institution. At Napier, good students studying on HNC Accounting courses offered in local Further Education Colleges, after their first year of study, can transfer to the second year of our Diploma in Accounting and, in some cases, onto the second year of the Accounting degree, and students on a specific HND Accounting course can transfer to the Degree and to the Professional Accounting courses. These arrangements are of benefit to all of the institutions involved Napier can count on a stream of students, of proven ability, at different levels, and the Further Education Colleges can give their staff experience of higher level work and thus, in turn, attract higher quality staff. Communication The key to the successful development of any articulating provision is undoubtedly communication. The needs of all concerned must be identified through discussion and met through persuasion and compromise. In the case of the development of the articulating accounting provision at Napier discussions involved academic staff from within and outside the Institution; employers; representatives from the professional bodies; representatives from the Council for National
Academic Awards (CNM); SCOTVEC; the Scottish Office Education Department (SOED); administrative staff in the institution and, perhaps most importantly, the students past, present and future. Only by talking to and listening to those involved is it possible to identify what is required, by whom and for what purpose. The portfolio of articulating courses, at Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Honours Degree and Professional qualification level, which was created and developed over the period 1985 to the present day, offers a mixture of full-time and part-time study routes, providing the opportunity for students of mixed experience and academic grounding to transfer in and out of courses, dependent on their ability and performance, and to progress by the fastest possible route to achieving their maximum potential with recognised exemptions from the Professional bodies. Many students have benefited from this `fast track' approach to Accounting Education
- not least have been those who have entered with non-traditional entry qualifications or with fewer qualifications then would normally be acceptable for entry onto the first year of the BA Accounting degree. As a result of the multi-exit points built into the portfolio of courses, only a very few students leave the Institution with no qualification at all and the number of students applying to our courses is greater than the number of places available to them - and this in an increasingly competitive market. In addition, because of the confidence that employers have in the quality of education and training provided, students enjoy an excellent employment record within six months of successfully completing their final qualification. The Professional Bodies know that those students who progress to take their professional qualifications have been educated to the exacting standards defined by them. The initial portfolio is being expanded to provide even greater opportunities for students through the introduction in Session 1994-95 of the Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance for ACCA and through the development of an MSc in Accounting for introduction in September 1996 and of a distance learning
mode of study for the Degree, Certificate and Diploma courses which will enable students to study outside the University using our course materials and being tutored by our staff. Modularisation Background to Modularisation In the 1980s, many of the English Polytechnics had opted for modular course programs - similar to those operated by the old British universities - and reports of their experiences were becoming increasingly available (Watson D, 1989) (Southampton IHE, 1990). Proponents of modularisation pointed to increased flexibility, wider access, resource savings and popularity with students as being just some of the benefits to be derived from modularisation while those who were less enthusiastic questioned the effects that modularisation would have on academic standards, the learning experience and the value of the qualification obtained in terms of coherence of study. In consultation with some of the Institutions operating modular programs, the CNAA published two discussion papers in 1989 and 1990 which focused on the practicalities of going modular and the potential benefits of such schemes. It was suggested that modularisation would: a) permit wider access, accelerated study, greater flexibility and student choice; b) permit best use of available accommodation; c) allow student numbers to increase in line with government guidelines; d) result in a reduction in resource requirements via the development of common curricula and assessment and a reduction in course administration.
These benefits would be welcomed by any Institution in today's resource climate. This rationale for the introduction of a formal modularisation scheme was accepted at Napier University (McLachlan and Wood: May 1994) and after almost two years of negotiation, discussion and compromise the approved modular scheme, Appendix II, was introduced in September 1992. The scheme is based on a two-semester academic year, with a one-week inter-semester break, and on a modular structure based on modules which carry credit ratings ranging from 8-24, with students required to accumulate 120 credits for a Napier Certificate in Higher Education, 240 credits for a Napier Diploma in Higher Education, 360 credits for a Degree and 480 credits for an Honours Degree. In addition, 2/15th of the credits obtained in each year of study are obtained via free choice elective modules. To successfully complete any one module a student is required to obtain a minimum module mark of 40% calculated across the weighted assessments for that module.
Student Performance Table 2: Comparison of Student Pass Rates in the Three Assessments before and after Modularisation across the BA Accounting Degree
Total No of Students
Total Passed 1st Diet
Four assessment figure
Four assessment figure
Significance of proportions comparing Pre and Post Modularisation assessments
Significant at 5% level
% Pass Rate 86% 62% 65% 74% 72% 73% 53% 84% 78% 71%
Concerns were expressed that the new modular system would have a detrimental effect on student performance. Indeed students very quickly grasp the implications of an assessment strategy that allows a module pass mark of 40% regardless of the level of the actual marks achieved in any individual piece of work or examination. Depending on the weighting applied to each of the items of assessment for a module they can identify whether or not they have done well enough in early assignments to allow them to put less effort into an assignment towards the end of the module or to opt out of one assignment all together. In some cases they miscalculate! The performance of students in the first year of the BA Accounting Degree in the four first diet assessments before and after modularisation has been analysed and compared and tested for statistical significance
. The results, shown in Table 2, show that there is no statistical difference between performance, in terms of percentage passes in the first diet, before and after modularisation - although there are annual variations. Conclusions The introduction of any modular scheme will result in teething problems which have to be dealt with as and when they arise. The extent of these problems will depend to a large degree on the speed with which the scheme is introduced and on the level of communication with the staff involved. In addition, inevitably, there will be the culture shock of moving to a system requiring a different attitude to assessment and a disciplined approach to keeping to the timetables for teaching and assessment required by a computerised modular course management system.
The replacement of traditional course structures with one based on modules provides the opportunity to reassess subject content and assessment methods and to increase the use of common curricula and assessments. The introduction of any modular system is a learning experience for the staff and students alike and only their goodwill and their desire that the system should be successful will make it work despite any difficulties experienced. However, as far as the scheme introduced at Napier University is concerned, students have enjoyed the opportunity to select free choice electives in fields totally different from those of their chosen program of study and prefer the assessment strategy which removes hurdles to entry to examinations and allows good marks in some assignments to compensate for poor marks in others. As already stated their performance has not been adversely affected by the advent of modularisation and the scheme has increased flexibility in terms of student choice and due to the fact that the credit system adopted for the modules matches that of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme, it has facilitated student transfer both within and outside the institution. The award of exit qualifications on successful completion of first or first and second years of the degrees has been another step towards ensuring that very few students leave Napier University without some recognised qualification. Franchising Rationale for Franchise An HMI report on franchising, (Department of Education
and Science, Autumn 1990 and Spring 1991) outlined a number of benefits to be obtained from franchise agreements which included: i) a means of achieving institutional aims to widen access ii) the alleviation of accommodation problems iii) the safeguarding of student numbers in later years of courses another strategy for maximising student numbers despite resource constraints. Choice of Partners The choice of a Franchise partner is a crucial factor in the success of any franchise arrangements. In essence the approach, philosophy, policies and objectives of both institutions must be the same and the staff of the Franchise institution must be committed to the franchised program. When entering into a Franchise agreement with Dumfries and Galloway
College (DAGC), effective from Session 1993-94, Napier considered that the following factors made DAGC an eminently suitable Franchise partner: n it was a developing and vibrant college; n it was highly experienced in the operation of modular courses to Higher National Diploma level; n it was committed to the policies of wider access and to providing greater opportunities for local students and with high quality residential facilities for overseas students; n neither institution would be competing for the same students; n staff were involved in consultancy and quality projects and DAGC was committed to a planned and systematic program of staff development
So far as DAGC was concerned contacts already existed with Napier in a number of areas where articulation arrangements had been agreed and Napier's introduction of a modular system for its undergraduate degree programs dovetailed neatly with DAGC's experience of modular courses. Funding and Selection of Students The funding of students undertaking higher education courses in a Further Education College can pose problems and has to be resolved early in the development process. So far as the franchise of the Common First Year was concerned, agreement was reached that the students would be registered as Napier University students on the degrees based on the Common First Year, as selected by the students concerned, but would be funded by the Scottish Office Education Department (SOED) with the income going directly to DAGC. In turn DAGC would pay Napier an agreed annual sum of money to cover the costs associated with the development, promotion and operation of the course in Dumfries. So far as the selection of students is concerned the Napier Common First Year admission regulations apply and Napier staff assist in DAGC's interview and selection process. While the students require to be matriculated at DAGC their formal matriculation as Napier students takes place during Napier's induction week for first year students when DAGC students are brought to Napier to familiarise themselves with the Business School, its facilities and staff. Course Content/Delivery/Assessment The modularised Common First Year is made up of eleven core modules and two elective modules (Appendix III). As already explained, under the modular course system operated by Napier, 2/l5ths of a student's program of study is designated as "free choice". The implications for first year students are that they must select two elective modules from a published elective catalogue for study in the even semester. There was some debate as to whether DAGC should provide its own elective modules based on the specific expertise of staff of the College or should adopt a selection of elective modules from the elective catalogue to be delivered by their own staff at Dumfries. It was finally agreed that this latter choice would be preferable. So far as delivery of the franchised course is concerned, it is obviously essential that the students at the franchise institution should be exposed to the same teaching/learning experience as those at the parent institution. As a result, it was agreed that Napier teaching packages should be sold to the Dumfries students at the same price as that charged at Napier and that there should be close liaison between the staff of both institutions regarding the way in which the course materials are presented. In addition Napier staff give guest lectures to the franchised course students on a number of occasions throughout the session. To ensure equity in the assessment of students, staff from both institutions collaborate on the production and moderation of examination papers and on the production of coursework and assignments for the core modules. So far as the assessments for elective modules are concerned, these are prepared by the Napier elective module leaders who liaise with the respective module tutors at DAGC to ensure that the assessment procedures to be adopted are clearly understood. To ensure that the performance of the students is assessed on an equitable basis the marks achieved in coursework and examinations are considered by the appropriate Module and Course Boards of Examiners established at Napier. Management of the Franchised Course The need for on the spot monitoring and control of any franchised course is unquestionable and to this end a Franchised Course Committee operates at DAGC to oversee the day to day running of the franchised course. The Committee is responsible to the DAGC Senior Management Team for the management of the course and one of its members, representing the franchised course, is in membership of each of the Napier Degree Boards of Studies. In addition, the Common First Year Coordinator at Napier is in membership of the Franchised Course Committee.
This cross representation is seen to be an effective mechanism for ensuring that the Common First Year at Napier and at DAGC is conducted in the same way in both institutions. Conclusions A well developed and effectively monitored franchise agreement brings benefits to both institutions and to the students involved; it forges closer links between higher and further education institutions and is one way of increasing student numbers without increasing resource requirements. The staff involved in both institutions benefit from close collaboration and two way exchanges of experience, ideas and staff development opportunities. Student intake can be increased without putting any extra pressure on accommodation by ensuring an intake of students in the later years of a course when class sizes are smaller as a result of early course drop out. The students enrolled on the Napier franchised course benefit from small group teaching and increased supervision and are not only guaranteed entry on successful completion of their first year to the second year of their chosen course at Napier University, but are also guaranteed a recognised qualification on completion of their franchised course should they choose not to progress to Napier University. Summary Napier University in general, and the Business School in particular, has found a variety of ways of meeting the expectations of students, employers and Professional Bodies while at the same time meeting the demands of Government legislation while keeping faith with the University's mission statement. The common first year across four undergraduate degrees; the portfolio of articulating accounting courses; modularisation and the franchise of the common first year have all contributed to: n increased flexibility of provision; n the provision of multi-entry/exit points and qualifications; n the opportunity to `fast track' to achieving the highest possible qualification commensurate with ability; n a variety of modes of study and courses that cater for the variety of needs, interests and backgrounds of today's students. In addition opportunities to develop common curricula and assessment strategies and to reduce teaching commitments by teaching larger class sizes have released staff to undertake research, consultancy and staff development activities - all vital if successful outcomes are to be achieved in the Research Assessment Exercise and the Teaching Quality Assessment Visits. Rigorous quality control
procedures for the scrutiny and validation of new proposals and the monitoring of standards on an ongoing basis, approved in the recent Quality Audit of Napier's quality control procedures, have ensured that each innovation has maintained academic standards and the quality of the students' experience. For Napier University, quality despite resource constraints is a fact -it can be a fact for other institutions too.
AAT Association of Accounting Technicians ACCA Chartered Association of Certified Accountants CATS Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountants CIPFA Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting CNAA Council for National Academic Awards DAGC Dumfries & Galloway College of Technology
HMI Her Majesty's Inspectorate HNC Higher National Certificate ICAEW Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
ICAS Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland OND Ordinary National Diploma SCOTVET Scottish Vocational Education Council SNC Scottish National Certificate SOED Scottish Office Education Department
References Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) (1989) Going Modular - Information Services Discussion Paper, 2.
HMI - The Department of Education and Science: Higher Education in Further Education Colleges. Autumn 1990/Spring 1991
Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) The Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992.
McLachlan, J and Wood, V (1992) "Three Into One Did Go - Development of A Common First Year Curriculum", Resources in Education, February.
McLachlan, J and Wood V (1992), "Selecting and Monitoring the Performance of Students with Non Standard Entry Qualifications". 5th BIAIR Forum, Bristol, UK.
McLachlan, J and Wood V (1993) `What Price Innovation - Student Success or Failure". In Decision Sciences Institute 25th annual conference
. Washington USA Proceedings, vol 1.
McLachlan, J and Wood, V (1994) "A Flexible Approach to Learning - Articulating Courses". Mendip Paper Series, MP058.
McLachlan, J and Wood, V (1994) "Never Mind the Quality - Feel the Width". 7th BIAIR Forum, Bristol, UK.
McLachlan, J and Wood, V (1994) "Going Modular - For Better or Worse". 34th AIR Forum, New Orleans, USA.
Silver, H (1990) The Modular Option. London: Council for National Academic Awards.
Southampton Institute of Higher Education (1990) The Development of Modularity at SIHE: Discussion Paper.
Watson, D (1989) Managing The Modular Course - Perspectives from Oxford Polytechnic. Buckingham: SRHE/Open University Press.
Appendix I Napier University Napier Business School Assessment Regulations Adopted for the Common First Year in 1987 a) General Performance in each of four subjects in the common first year of each degree will be measured using coursework and examination marks. In the case of ISQM, performance will be assessed 100% by coursework set throughout the year. b) Coursework The student is required to complete satisfactorily the program of work set, achieving an average mark of at least 40% in each subject of the course. Satisfactory completion of the coursework is a pre-requisite for entry to the end of session examinations. Exceptionally, at the discretion of the Board of Studies, a student, after further work and, having satisfactorily completed the coursework, may be permitted to enter the second diet examination for that subject. During the year, after counselling, the student may be allowed to re-submit a piece of coursework which is unsatisfactory or alternatively to satisfactorily complete an alternative piece of coursework. The maximum mark which may be awarded for such work will be 40%. c) Examination Candidates will normally be expected to achieve a mark of at least 40% in each subject, this mark being calculated as 0.7 x the end of session examination mark plus 0.3 x the coursework mark. However, students gaining a mark of less than 35% in the end of session examination will normally be required to resit the examination. Students resitting the examination will normally be expected to obtain a minimum mark of 40% in the examination.
Appendix II Napier University Napier Business School Modular Scheme
The modular scheme approved for introduction in September 1992 was as follows:
Academic year Course structure Course Credits Module Credits Module Size Module Length Module Level Module Type Pre-requisites and Co-requisites
n Two semesters of 15 weeks' duration n One inter-semester week n One induction week for first year students The current Years I-IV of degree programs would be redesignated Levels 1-4. Within each level the curriculum would be offered in modules, each carrying a credit rating, and no one academic year would contain more than 10 subjects. Module credits would be related to the number of hours a student could be expected to spend to successfully complete the given module - 1 credit for each 10 hours spent. These hours -called Notional Efficient Student Hours (NESH) included time spent in formal lectures and tutorials and time spent by the student in directed learning, reading, preparation, revision and assessment. It was expected that the student weekly contact time per module would be no more than 20 hours in the first year and 16 hours thereafter. The minimum module size was to equal 1/15th of a full-time student's annual workload. The annual workload was estimated to be 1200 hours with a minimum module size being 80 hours and a maximum module size of 240 hours. To achieve a Degree a student would be required to obtain 360 credits (3 years x 120 credits) and for an Honours Degree 480 credits (4 years x 120 credits). In addition a University Diploma in Higher Education would be awarded on accumulation of 240 credits and a University Certificate in Higher Education on accumulation of 120 credits. It was recommended that, normally, modules would be of one semester's duration but could be of two semesters' duration if desired. Modules would be offered at Levels 1-4 - the level (academic level) being confirmed when the modules were presented to the Academic Standards Committee for validation. It was agreed that any one module could operate at two levels - the intrinsic level, ie: the earliest level at which the module was offered to students -and the extrinsic level (one level higher) where it was offered on courses at one level higher than the intrinsic level. In any one level no more than 15% of credits could be derived from modules offered at their extrinsic level. Modules would be course specific (core or option modules) and free choice electives. Students would be permitted free choice in relation to 2/l5ths of the credits leading to the final award. However, this free choice of elective modules would be restricted by timetabling requirements, availability of places and the requirement that students must not choose an elective module that contained a significant proportion of the work already being covered in the parent course. Module Leaders were required to give careful consideration to prerequisites and co-requisites when designing modules. It was noted that the only acceptable pre-requisites for Level 1 modules would be those that mirrored
an entrance qualification for the course on which the module was being offered. Modules would be assessed by a mixture of continuous assessment and/or formal examinations. Assessments would be weighted at the discretion of the Module Leader and a student would be required to achieve a minimum overall module mark of 40% to successfully complete the module. The minimum progression regulations recommended were that normally n by the completion of Year I, a student should have achieved at least 88 course specific credits and 8 elective credits; n by the completion of Year II, a student should have achieved at least 192 course specific credits; 24 elective credits and have satisfied all requirements for Year I; n by the completion of Year III, a student should have achieved at least 296 course specific credits, 40 elective credits, with at least 8 credits at Level 2, and have satisfied all the requirements for Year II.
Other general regulations related to entry with advanced standing with credit or by exemption, credit for work placement, responsibilities of Boards of Studies, Departmental Boards of Examiners; Course Boards of Examiners and Module Leaders.
Appendix III Napier University Napier Business School Course Structure - First Year
Module title Semester I financial accounting
I Behavioural Studies Business and its Environment Introduction to Markets, Prices and Firms Business Information Systems Semester II Management Accounting I Behavioural Studies Business Organisation I Introduction to the Macro-economy Quant. Methods for Business I Business Information Systems Elective (2) Total Level I Credits: 120
Module Number Al10001 BS10006 BS10001 EF10003 BM10005 AL1004 BS10006 BS10002 EF10005 MA10010 MB10005
Semester 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Module Level 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Core/ Option C C C C C C C C C C C E
Credit 16 8 8 8 12 8 8 12 8 8 8 16
The First Year leads to the Business School's undergraduate degree provision in Accounting, Business Studies, Commerce and Financial Services.