Tag Archives: Assessment Brief

Assessment Due Dates

With due dates either already past or looming, it’s time to look at the importance of meeting submission deadlines. 

tumblr_mqr9fkBrdz1s4baulo1_500

Without fail the three most common reasons for students losing valuable marks in assessments are:

  • handing in assessments late
  • not reading or following the assessment brief
  • poor referencing 

By ignoring just one of these simple, standard requirements you are guaranteeing yourself a loss of at the very least 20% of your total mark. There are very few, if any, students who can afford to take such a knock when it comes to their grades.

PicMonkey Collage

ASSESSMENT DUE DATES

One of the quickest ways you can kiss between 20% and 100% of your mark good-bye is by handing in an assessment late.

What Does the Student Rulebook Say?

Section 5.8.v – Late Submissions:

Students must hand in or submit projects / assignments during their allocated class time; in the required format specified by the lecturer.

Penalties for late submissions are applied as follows – if a student submits his / her assignment:

  • immediately after the allocated deadline = minus 20%
  • one day late = minus 50%
  • two days late or more = 0%

These penalties are applied across all subjects and are not negotiable. If a student is absent on the date that the assignment is due, a valid medical certificate covering illness during the day of hand-in or the day/s directly after is required in order for the student not be penalised. If a valid and legitimate medical certificate is not presented and affixed to the project / assignment the penalties apply. 

No documentation from a medical institution without an official diagnosis signed by the doctor will be accepted. In other words, a letter simply stating that a student visited the clinic is not a valid medical certificate. In any other situation, valid official documentation is required.

No telephonic conversation will be entered into, nor will an e-mail be accepted. 

What’s Your Excuse?

Believe me when I tell you, your lecturer has heard it all before but for argument’s sake let’s take a look at the most common excuses for handing in an assessment late:

I needed more time

If this is your “go to” excuse then you may need to reassess your time management skills. You can find tips and strategies to help you better manage your time here.

If time management isn’t the issue then perhaps a lack of class attendance may be the reason for you running short of time on assessments; the BMH Student Rulebook (2017, p. 26) clearly states that:

Students will be informed in class of assessment briefs and dates at least two weeks in advance…It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they are fully informed of all assessments prior to the actual assessment date.

If you are not attending classes regularly, you are at risk of receiving assessment briefs late, or even worse, not at all.

I need extra time because *insert credible reason here*

If for some or other legitimate reason you are unable to submit your assessment on the specified due date you may apply for an extension. However be very sure to read the rules for this special application carefully:

Section 5.8.iv – Applying for an Extension:

Students requesting an extension on an assignment due date are required to do so in writing at least ten (10) working days before the due date, by completing an Extension Request Form available from the Student Information Desk / Centre; after which it will be submitted to the relevant Academic Manager and lecturer. If the request is granted, the Extension Request Form will be signed off by the relevant lecturer and Academic Manager and will be placed in the student’s record file. The student will be notified telephonically (sms) and / or in writing, whether an extension has been granted or not. 

My USB broke / isn’t working

Always save your assessment to a spare / back up USB or drive. Technology fails all the time and this won’t be accepted as an excuse for submitting an assessment late.

The printer broke / ran out of ink / paper OR The queue  for the printer in the library was long.

Don’t leave the printing of your assessment to the last minute meaning you have no time to arrange a back up plan or find an alternative printer. Technology fails all the time and this won’t be accepted as an excuse for submitting an assessment late.

My taxi / bus / lift was running late.

On the day of an assessment due date ensure that you arrive well in advance of the hand-in time. Transportation issues will not be accepted as an excuse for submitting an assessment late. 

download (1)


Reference:

Boston Media House. (2017). Student Rulebook, 2017. Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Assessment Due Dates

With due dates either already past or looming, it’s time to look at the importance of meeting submission deadlines. 

tumblr_mqr9fkBrdz1s4baulo1_500

Without fail the three most common reasons for students losing valuable marks in assessments are:

  • handing in assessments late
  • not reading or following the assessment brief
  • poor referencing 

By ignoring just one of these simple, standard requirements you are guaranteeing yourself a loss of at the very least 20% of your total mark. There are very few, if any, students who can afford to take such a knock when it comes to their grades.

PicMonkey Collage

ASSESSMENT DUE DATES

One of the quickest ways you can kiss between 20% and 100% of your mark good-bye is by handing in an assessment late.

What Does the Student Rulebook Say?

Section 5.8.v – Late Submissions:

Students must hand in or submit projects / assignments during their allocated class time; in the required format specified by the lecturer.

Penalties for late submissions are applied as follows – if a student submits his / her assignment:

  • immediately after the allocated deadline = minus 20%
  • one day late = minus 50%
  • two days late or more = 0%

These penalties are applied across all subjects and are not negotiable. If a student is absent on the date that the assignment is due, a valid medical certificate covering illness during the day of hand-in or the day/s directly after is required in order for the student not be penalised. If a valid and legitimate medical certificate is not presented and affixed to the project / assignment the penalties apply. 

No documentation from a medical institution without an official diagnosis signed by the doctor will be accepted. In other words, a letter simply stating that a student visited the clinic is not a valid medical certificate. In any other situation, valid official documentation is required.

No telephonic conversation will be entered into, nor will an e-mail be accepted. 

What’s Your Excuse?

Believe me when I tell you, your lecturer has heard it all before but for argument’s sake let’s take a look at the most common excuses for handing in an assessment late:

I needed more time

If this is your “go to” excuse then you may need to reassess your time management skills. You can find tips and strategies to help you better manage your time here.

If time management isn’t the issue then perhaps a lack of class attendance may be the reason for you running short of time on assessments; the BMH Student Rulebook (2017, p. 26) clearly states that:

Students will be informed in class of assessment briefs and dates at least two weeks in advance…It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they are fully informed of all assessments prior to the actual assessment date.

If you are not attending classes regularly, you are at risk of receiving assessment briefs late, or even worse, not at all.

I need extra time because *insert credible reason here*

If for some or other legitimate reason you are unable to submit your assessment on the specified due date you may apply for an extension. However be very sure to read the rules for this special application carefully:

Section 5.8.iv – Applying for an Extension:

Students requesting an extension on an assignment due date are required to do so in writing at least ten (10) working days before the due date, by completing an Extension Request Form available from the Student Information Desk / Centre; after which it will be submitted to the relevant Academic Manager and lecturer. If the request is granted, the Extension Request Form will be signed off by the relevant lecturer and Academic Manager and will be placed in the student’s record file. The student will be notified telephonically (sms) and / or in writing, whether an extension has been granted or not. 

My USB broke / isn’t working

Always save your assessment to a spare / back up USB or drive. Technology fails all the time and this won’t be accepted as an excuse for submitting an assessment late.

The printer broke / ran out of ink / paper OR The queue  for the printer in the library was long.

Don’t leave the printing of your assessment to the last minute meaning you have no time to arrange a back up plan or find an alternative printer. Technology fails all the time and this won’t be accepted as an excuse for submitting an assessment late.

My taxi / bus / lift was running late.

On the day of an assessment due date ensure that you arrive well in advance of the hand-in time. Transportation issues will not be accepted as an excuse for submitting an assessment late. 

download (1)


Reference:

Boston Media House. (2017). Student Rulebook, 2017. Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Understanding an Assessment Brief

We are officially four weeks into Semester A – 2017, which means that assessment briefs have either already been issued or are about to be issued. 

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Reading & Unpacking an Assessment Brief

Regardless of the subject, lecturer or assessment style, you cannot go wrong by adopting the following two habits when approaching an assessment brief:

  1. Read the assessment brief carefully as soon as you receive it. The sooner you become familiar with the assessment brief, the more time you will have to analyse and understand what is expected of you. The simplest, most straightforward assessment briefs can turn out to be the most complicated, time consuming of responses to produce.
  2. Ask your lecturer about anything you are not sure of or do not understand. Do not be afraid to ask if you need help with understanding an assessment brief. A lecturer would much rather spend time helping you come to grips with an assessment brief than assessing an assessment that has totally missed the mark (See also: Student-Lecturer Meetings).

Introductory Information:

Boston Media House makes use of a standardised Assessment Brief Template, as such when receiving an assessment brief, regardless of which subject it is for, the brief will follow a standard format and will provide you with the following introductory information:

[Click on the picture to enlarge it]

Intro_AB

  From this introductory section alone, you now already know:

  • What subject you’re working on.
  • The type of assessment event i.e. formative or summative, which tells you how much the assessment will count towards your final overall grade.
  • Who to go to for assistance if you are struggling with understanding or unpacking the brief.
  • The due date, time and venue for submitting your assessment – remember late assessments attract harsh penalties (Refer to: Section 5.8.v – Late Submissions of the BMH Student Rulebook)
  • The importance of attending lectures as they provide you with a foundational understanding of the topic that is being assessed. By missing lectures you are not only missing important input and understanding of the subject and assessment topic, but you are adding to the number of hours you will need to put in, in order for you to catch up on missed information needed for the successful completion of the assessment.
  • The approximate number of hours it will take you to complete the assessment. This information is important for time management purposes, particularly when you have several due dates all around the same time.  It also gives you an idea of how far in advance you should start working on the assessment and, more importantly, that 3 hours of panicked effort the day before the submission date will certainly not be enough (See also: Time Management).

Assessment Brief Format:

Most essay or short question type assessment briefs follow a basic format:

  • An Overview
  • Task Words
  • Content Words
  • Limiting Words
  • Technical Information

An Overview

The lecturer may (or may not) set the stage by providing you with a quote or general introductory statement on the topic of the assessment, or a cue which reminds you of something pertinent that was discussed in lectures.

Task Words

Task words tell you what you have to do: the action you need to perform when crafting your response. You can identify task words by looking for the action words / verbs in the assessment question / statement. Words such as: identify, analyse, discuss, or illustrate, these action verbs provide you with instructions on how to approach the topic of the assessment. Also look for words such as: who, when, what, why, and where, these words further specify the task of the assessment.

Content Words

These words tell you what the topic area is and thus what it is you should write about. Content words set and define the assessment scope; they assist in focusing your research and reading on a particular area.

Limiting Words

Limit and focus the topic; they define the focus of the topic even further, highlighting aspects of the topic you need to concentrate on.

Example 1:

“Describe in detail, referring to Ansell, how to prepare for an interview. Outline your answer in steps. Start from when the journalist receives the brief from the news editor and end at the point where the interview is about to take place. Include aspects to consider such as strategies, contexts, what to take, how to record, potential problems and body language.”

[Click on the picture to enlarge it]

Assessment Brief.2

 Example 2:

“Use the following information to write a hard news story (200-300 words). Only use the facts provided. Do not add any other information and do not comment or mention yourself in the article. Your piece must be purely factual and objective – not your opinion. Make sure your story provides answers to the five “W”s and “H” questions of news writing and use the inverted pyramid style.

 Facts:

  • Xenophobic attacks
  • Broke out in Johannesburg and Natal
  • 6 killed, including a teenager
  • Presidents and ambassadors from other African countries have condemned South Africa’s slow reaction to the violence

[Click on the picture to enlarge it]

Assessment Brief.3

Technical Information:

This includes instructions such as –

  • formatting rules – font, font size, spacing
  • structural guidelines – length, referencing system
  • mark allocation and / or marking rubric
  • penalties – late submission, plagiarism
  • submission date 

Assessment Brief.4

 The “Non-negotiables”:

The “non-negotiables” of an assessment brief refers to the technical information i.e. formatting rules, mark allocation, penalties etc. This may not seem relevant to your planning and drafting of an assessment response, but it is where marks are most often lost because students have not read or followed these non-negotiable rules.

The information provided in this section of the brief also provides you with hints as to how to go about responding to the assessment question. For example, if the lecturer gives you a maximum word / page count for the assessment, they are telling you how many pages or words it should take to adequately cover the topic. If an assessment is meant to be a maximum of 3 pages, you know you need to be concise by making your point early and supporting it with clear and definite evidence. Whereas, if an assessment response is meant to be a maximum of 10 pages, you have the “space” to be more complex and detailed in your response. If, however, you are only able to squeeze out 4 pages for a 10 page assessment, you need to either review the assessment question to ensure that you are picking up on all the parts and requirements of the question, or you need to go speak to your lecturer and ask for guidance.

Final Words of Wisdom:

DO:

  • Do use “spell-checker” – but make sure that it is set for either UK or South African English.
  • Do get a friend to read through your assessment response for you – a new set of eyes can pick up spelling, grammar and other mistakes, as well as give you feedback on whether or not your response makes sense.
  • Do ensure that you have referenced correctly throughout your assessment – BMH makes use of the Harvard Referencing Method. Don’t know what that means? Start attending your Academic Literacy classes ASAP!
  • Do give yourself enough time to research and complete your assessment – having problems with time management? Refer to the BMH Student Wellness Blog for help with: time management, concentration, studying skills etc.

DON’T:

  • Do not spend more time on the cover page than the actual assessment – pictures, coloured pages and expensive binders are no replacement for a well thought out and written assessment. This obviously excludes an assessment brief which requires some form of creative presentation.
  • Do not use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing as a way to padding your assessment – these “tricks” an be easily spotted and merely highlight the fact that you are purposefully trying to bulk up your assessment.
  • Do not use text speak, abbreviations or slang in your written assessments e.g. b4, U, wld, cray-cray – unless the inclusion of such serves an actual purpose and forms part of your response to the assessment question.
  • Do not answer an assessment question using bullet points – unless otherwise stated, always write in full sentences; one idea or main point per paragraph; punctuation, spelling and grammar are important.
  • Do not plagiarise – refer to Section 5.8.viii of the BMH Student Rulebook for information regarding plagiarism.

 

For more tips on approaching an assessment brief click here.


References:

The following works were consulted and / or adapted from in order to create this guideline. Please click on the links below in order to be directed to the original works.

Martin, C., Uys, G. & Gradidge, C. (2015).  JRN1: Summative Assessment 1 [Assessment Event Brief / Scope]. Boston Media House, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Learning Centre, The University of New South Wales. (2012). Answering Assignment Questions. Retrieved from: http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/pdf/assignquestions.pdf. [Accessed: 19 August 2015].

The Writing Centre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2012). Understanding Assignments. Retrieved from: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/understanding-assignments/. [Accessed: 19 August 2015].

 

 

 

 

 

Getting It Right, the First Time!

It’s that time of the semester where you may find yourself sitting at your desk, doing an assessment for the second time because you didn’t pass it the first time. Nothing is more frustrating especially when you have other assessments to work on, and you feel like you have taken a step back instead of a step forward. There is nothing worse than looking back at your first assessment and seeing silly mistakes that resulted in unnecessary marks being deducted.

Do-it-right-the-first-time

Here are Claire Jackson-Barnardo’s (BMH, Sandton PR lecturer) Top Tips on how to get your assessment right, the first time!

  • First impressions count – Ensure your cover page has the subject and lecturer’s name spelt correctly. Imagine you have submitted work to a client and you have misspelt their or the company’s name…
  • Understand the assessment brief – Read through the assessment brief thoroughly before you start the assessment. Make sure you understand exactly what is being asked for. (See also: Understanding Assessment Briefs)
  • Topic and textbooks are key – Make sure you understand and have read the textbook chapters that covers the section your assessment is based on. Use a highlighter and mark the key points in your textbook that you may want to include in your assessment. Keep referring back to the assessment topic to ensure that you have covered everything.
  • Number your answers correctly – Ensure that all your answers are numbered correctly as per the assessment brief. Also, make sure that you answer the questions in the order they have been given in the assessment brief, and double-check that you are answering the question that has been asked. Don’t waste time by including unnecessary or irrelevant information in an attempt to “pad” your answer.
  • “Copy and Paste” is not okay – You aren’t studying for a BBA / Diploma in “cut and paste”, you are at BMH to learn about media. Assessments are there to show that you understand the content and concepts. In the world of work we are interested in what YOU know, not what your textbook or Google says. Cutting and pasting large sections from other sources doesn’t demonstrate any skill or understanding.
  • We don’t steal the work of others – If you are going to draw from or refer to a source / idea that is not your own, make sure you reference it properly. Both in-text citations and a reference list are required at the end of assessments. Educators are trained to detect plagiarism and, believe it or not, we are actually interested in what you have to say. (See also: Referencing and Plagiarism).
  • Word – Is a computer programme designed to help you write properly, so use it. It will tell you if your sentences are too long or if you have spelt something wrong – just remember to change the spell-check option to UK English.
  • Loud and proud – Read your assessment out loud to yourself, a friend, or family member before printing the final version. When you read something out aloud you find all sorts of mistakes in terms of spelling, grammar and flow.
  • Lastminute.com – If you leave an assessment to the last minute, you are not going to pass. Give yourself enough time to complete your assessments properly. (See also: Assessment Due Dates).
  • Ask for help – As an educator, I like nothing better than marking a good assessment. Nothing is more frustrating than marking an assessment where you can see the student did not understand the assessment brief. BMH educators are available to help, each educator has dedicated “consultation times”. Bring your notes, rough drafts, questions and meet with your educator. Those 5 or even 20 minutes of consulting with your educator may be exactly what you need to ensure that you pass…and pass well! (See also: Student-Lecturer Meetings).

Good luck and remember:

You aren’t at BMH to become an accountant! We are in an amazing industry and your assessments are aimed at helping you become a professional member of the South African media industry!