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Policies

Complaints policy and procedures


The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year is committed to providing a study environment that is safe, fair and free from harassment and discrimination for all students.
Before initiating any complaint procedures, try to resolve any problems directly with the person/s concerned. Wherever possible, complaints should be resolved by a process of discussion, cooperation and conciliation. If you cannot reach an agreement about your grievance, please follow these steps:

  1. Talk to a Student Support Officer about your complaint. You can also talk to Heads of Departments, Deans or Senior Managers.
  2. If you cannot resolve your complaint informally you can choose to make a formal complaint.
  3. A Complaints Manager* will be appointed to investigate the complaint. They will discuss the formal complaint with you and inform the person (if there is one) whom the formal complaint has been made against.
  4. The Complaints Manager will decide upon an outcome/action to be taken and discuss this with you.
  5. If you are still unhappy about the decision, you may choose to make an appeal. A Student Support Officer can help you with this process.
  6. Remember that you can contact the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This is an independent organisation that deals with complaints from international students. The NZQA enforces the standards in the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice. You can also contact English New Zealand.

* A Complaints Manager is a Senior Manager appointed by the CEO who is independent of the complaint situation.

The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year are signatories of the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice. To find out more about the Code please read the summary included in your Orientation Pack, ask a Student Support Officer for a copy or download a copy at http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/education-code-of-practice/

Your rights

  • To be treated fairly, without discrimination, harassment or prejudice and to study in a safe environment
  • To bring a support person to any interview
  • To not be victimised because you raise a complaint or are associated with a complaint
  • To have your complaints treated seriously and sensitively, having due regard to procedural fairness, confidentiality and privacy

The rights of others


Students should not start complaints that are cruel or untrue. All students are expected to participate in the complaint resolution process in good faith.
Disciplinary action may be taken where:

  • A complaint is found to have been cruel or untrue
  • A person victimises another person because of their involvement in the complaint
  • Unnecessary disclosure of information (a breach of confidentiality) has occurred

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Fee policy

Fee policy

Rationale

This policy sets out the procedures for all Foundation Studies Limited [hereafter referred to as FSL; otherwise known as University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year (UOLCFY)] fees. The specific guidelines and processes for each fee category will be detailed separately in the procedures.

Principles

  1. The types and amount of fees will be clearly documented.
  2. The process for the payment of fees will be clearly outlined.
  3. Procedures for credits, refunds or transfer of fees are detailed.
  4. There will be a process for reviewing and setting fees.
  5. Decisions regarding fees can be appealed.

Definitions

(Academic) Term
The duration of tuition between the first and last day of classes of a specific academic period, for a specific programme. The term dates are published on the FSL website.

Acceptance of an offer
A binding contract, between FSL and the student, that occurs upon the payment of full fees and fulfilment of all conditions (if any) on an offer.

Appeal
A formal process initiated by the student and assisted by Student Support, to assess that correct procedures have been followed.

Appeals Committee
The Appeals Committee is the CEO and one other senior manager.

Board
Board of Directors of Foundation Studies Ltd

BP
Bridging Programme

Cancellation Fee
o LC and BP - Two weeks of tuition fees

CEO
Chief Executive Officer


Course

The combination of papers being studied by a student at a particular point in time, that contributes to a programme.

Course Change
(Student terminology) The process of issuing a new offer when students apply for a change in the details of an offer that has not been accepted yet.

Credit
Money that is being held in a FSL student's account that is not committed for any other purpose.

Current Student
A student enrolled beyond the induction period.

EFO
English for Otago (forms its own term within the LC academic calendar)

Enrolment
A list of administrative procedures (including registration) that staff complete for students to make them officially a student at UOLCFY.

Exceptional Circumstances
Circumstances that are beyond the control of the student, and may include:
Serious illness or disability of the student
Death of the student or close family member (parent, sibling, spouse or child)
Civil disturbance or natural disaster that prevents the arrival of the student
Inability to obtain a student visa

Extension
(Student terminology) A new offer that is issued for LC students when they apply to continue studying after they have completed a course.

Fees
Any monies payable to FSL.

Fees Schedule
A list of fees approved by the Board.

FY
Foundation Year Department

FSC
Foundation Studies Certificate, also known as the Foundation Year Programme.


FSL
Foundation Studies Limited, incorporating UOLCFY

Homestay
Part of the accommodation service provided by FSL.

Individual Programme (IP)
A FSC programme for students that is different to the standard programme and is approved as such by the Admissions Committee

Induction Period
The period during which a new student may withdraw and expect to have a substantial portion of their fees refunded. The period begins from the course start date,and is the duration specified below, unless there are special circumstances as approved by the CEO:

  • LC and BP - 5 days
  • FY – 21 days

Invoice
The administrative process of recording a charge on the FSL financial system.

Late Enrolment
An enrolment that occurs after the stated course start date on the offer.

LC
Language Centre Department

New Student
A student who has not previously enrolled in the programme, and has not completed the induction period.

Offer (of Place)
An offer of a place in a FY or LC programme, course or papers, and notification of the applicable fees. This is not an invoice.

Paper
A discrete unit of curriculum that contributes to a student's course and to a programme.

Programme
The combination of things a person will study or do while at LC or FY.

Refund
The payment of money held in credit by FSL.

Registration
The process of a student completing the registration paperwork and beginning their programme.

Returning student
Any student previously enrolled in the same programme type (i.e. English Language Studies, Bridging Programme or Foundation Year).

The University
The University of Otago

Transfer
(Student terminology) The process of withdrawing/being withdrawn from one LC or FY enrolment and entering another LC, FY or University enrolment.

TEC
Tertiary Education Commission

UOLCFY
University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year (otherwise known as FSL)

Withdrawal
The processing of terminating a student's enrolment, by the student or FSL.


Paying fees

1) Payment of fees

  • All fees are charged in New Zealand dollars and will be rounded up to the nearest dollar.
  • All fees, with the exception of Homestay Accommodation Fees, are inclusive of GST.
  • All fees on an offer must be paid in full, OR evidence of a financial guarantee OR evidence of StudyLink funding must be provided before admission to the first class, unless there are special circumstances.

2) Special circumstances for late payment of fees

  • Students who are waiting for LC or BP results will be allowed 5 working days after results have been released to make payment.
  • Domestic students who are waiting for StudyLink approval will be allowed 4 weeks to provide evidence of approval.
  • When there is a dispute over the receipt of fees believed to have been paid.
  • Other circumstances as agreed by the CEO

3) Payment of Fees in Advance

  • Once the student has paid the fees on his/her offer, he/she will not be required to pay any subsequent fees increases that may apply to the period covered by the payment.
  • However, if they change programme or extend their study period, then any increased fees associated with the change or extension will apply.
  • This does not apply to Homestay fees.


4) Methods of Payment

  • Telegraphic transfers
  • Bank deposit
  • EFTPOS
  • Guarantees of payment through StudyLink or scholarship financial guarantees.
  • Credit card*
  • Bank drafts/cheques
  • Cash

*If payment is made by credit card, 2% of the total fees will be added to the amount paid.

5) Payment of fees by instalment
In exceptional circumstances, the Operations Manager may approve the payment of fees by instalment in accordance with an agreed schedule signed by both the Operations Manager and the student. Any application to pay in instalments must be agreed and signed within 5 days of the start of the students course.

6) Payment of fees by scholarship providers and Study-Link
The financial policies of scholarship providers and StudyLink will be considered by the CEO and if agreed, applied. If a scholarship provider or StudyLink does not make payment, the student is liable for the unpaid fees.

7) Guarantee of place
A place in a programme is only guaranteed when all conditions on the Offer have been met and the total fees on the Offer have been paid in full, OR evidence of a financial guarantee OR Study-Link funding has been provided. An Offer alone does not guarantee students a place in the programme.

8) Non-payment of fees
If any fees are outstanding after a student registers, including to a University of Otago Department, Residential College or FSL Homestay, one or more of the following actions will be taken:

  • Results and reports withheld;
  • Non-participation in course completion or graduation ceremonies;
  • Student services withdrawn;
  • Student barred from classes;
  • Student withdrawn from the course
  • If any fees are outstanding over 30 days from the course start date, our Debt Collection Policy will be enforced.

Arriving late, Changing or Withdrawing from a course

9) Late enrolments

  • Late Enrolments for the Foundation Studies Certificate and Bridging Programmes must be approved in advance by the Academic Manager.
  • If a student enrols late (after his/her offer start date), he/she will not receive a credit of fees for any days missed.

10) Course changes

  • Any student who is currently enrolled in any Language Centre programme and transfers his/her enrolment to another UOLCFY or University of Otago programme, can apply to have any remaining fees transferred to the new enrolment. A refund is not available.
  • For currently enrolled Language Centre students, fees available for transfer will be calculated from the start of the new enrolment, as students are expected to stay enrolled in the current Language Centre programme until their new programme commences.
  • For students who do not wish to continue with their current Language Centre enrolment while waiting for their new programme to commence, the standard withdrawal process will apply.
  • Only students who have successfully completed EFO and are waiting to enrol in University will have their fees available for transfer calculated from the end of their EFO enrolment.
  • All course changes for BP and FSC made after the induction period will incur the Administration Part Fee.
  • Students must pay the difference for any increase in tuition fees but are not eligible for any credit for any decrease in tuition fees as a result of their course change.

11) Withdrawal/ Cancellation by a student
Before the course:

  • Where students have confirmed their place by payment of fees but do not register, a full refund, minus the Refund Administration fee will apply.
  • If FSL cancels a programme then the affected students will receive a credit of any fees paid.

After the course has started but within Induction Period:

  • Any LC or BP student who withdraws within the induction period will be charged the Cancellation Fee and receive a credit for any remaining fees, including the Student Services fee and insurance if purchased through FSL.
  • Any FY student who withdraws within the induction period will receive a full refund of fees paid, less the Refund Administration fee

After the course has started and After Induction Period:

  • Any current LC student who withdraws forfeits the remaining fees for the half term in which he/she is currently enrolled and will receive a credit of any remaining tuition fee and Student Services fee
  • Any LC student who does not withdraw by the Wednesday of the recess week between half and full terms will be considered to be enrolled in the following term (of his/her programme). EFO will form its own term within the academic calendar.
  • Any BP student who withdraws forfeits the fees for the entire enrolment.
  • Any FY student who withdraws forfeits the fees for the current term, and will receive a credit of any remaining tuition fee and Student Services fee
  • Under special circumstances, the CEO may approve a transfer of the student's enrolment to another FSL programme.

12) Withdrawal by FSL

  • Withdrawal by FSL takes precedence over withdrawal by a student
  • Any student withdrawn by FSL for attendance, disciplinary, and/or a cancelled visa will forfeit all fees. The CEO has discretion to transfer any remaining fees to the immediate enrolment of another FSL programme.

13) Credits
The following will be considered when calculating the amount of credit available for a transfer or refund:

  • The provisions of the Education Act 1989
  • Costs incurred by the student during his/her time at FSL
  • Any other associated costs FSL has already met excluding agent commission fees (see Agent's Policy);

Specific situations that will not contribute to a Credit are as follows:

  • Closure for statutory holidays which fall within a teaching week;
  • Closure in emergency situations or situations out of the control of FSL; and
  • If exchange rates cause the amount of payment to be greater than the amount invoiced.

14) Refund applications

  • Refunds are only paid if the students account is in credit at the time of the application.
  • Any Refund will be paid in NZ dollars only, to the payer only (this includes a scholarship provider), unless the payer advises otherwise, in writing.
  • All Refund payments (made to a New Zealand bank account) under $100 will incur the Administration Part Fee; otherwise the Administration Full Fee applies.
  • All Refund payments (made to an overseas bank account) under $100 will incur the Administration International Transaction Part Fee; otherwise the Administration International Transaction Full Fee applies.

Exceptional circumstances
Exceptional circumstances are circumstances that are out of the control of the student. In these circumstances the Operations Manager has the discretion to make a variation to the policy regarding any credit, transfer or refund of fees.
Students are able to meet with a Student Support Officer for help in submitting an application if required.

There is no obligation to grant a refund in exceptional circumstances.

Appeals
If a student is unhappy with how FSL processes were followed, the following appeal process applies:

  • Attempt to resolve the issue informally by discussing the matter with the Student Support Officers.
  • If the student is not satisfied that the issue is resolved, he/she can write a letter of concern to the FSL Appeals Committee outlining the reasons for appeal.
  • If the application is again declined, a further appeal can be addressed to the FSL Board Chairperson.
  • For international students, if the application is again declined, a further appeal can be made to the NZQA.

Homestay fees

1) Bookings
The minimum period of booking is:

  • Eight weeks for LC students (or the duration of their course if enrolled for less than 8 weeks).
  • Four weeks for FY students and other University of Otago students.
  • The CEO has discretion to allow variations to booking lengths.
  • There is no minimum period for extensions.
  • If a student is on holiday for 21 nights or longer he/she may apply for a holding rate on his/her room (if the Host consents).
  • Any changes to bookings require a written application and 7 night's prior notice. The 7 night's notice period is to be paid to the Host.

2) Payment of homestay fees

  • All Homestay fees must be paid in advance and by the date specified on the Homestay Booking Form.
  • Students who pay estimated Homestay fees before the fees for that year are set, must pay the difference for any increase in Homestay fees, when the fees for that year have been determined, from 1st January of that year.
  • Placement will normally commence once fees are received. However, in exceptional circumstances, the CEO has discretion to allow placement prior to receiving payment. Examples of exceptional circumstances are;
  • Delay due to international banking issues;
  • Emergency in accommodation;
  • Large group bookings.
  • Extensions and changes to bookings will incur the Administration Part Fee.
  • A late penalty of 10% of the invoiced amount will be charged on all extensions that are not paid within 7 days of the date on the invoice.

3) Cancellations and changes to bookings
The Homestay Placement and Extension fee is non-refundable.
Pre Arrival:

  • If a student cancels a Homestay booking prior to their start date, they will receive a credit of the Accommodation fees paid minus the Placement fee.

Post Arrival:

  • All changes to bookings require 7 nights notice that will be paid to the Host.
  • If a student has commenced Homestay and cancels their accommodation during the minimum booking period, they will receive a credit for any unused nights after the minimum booking period has ended.
  • If a student has commenced Homestay and cancels his/her accommodation after the minimum booking period, he/she will receive a credit for any unused nights.
  • If a student is accepted into a University of Otago Residential College he/she will receive a credit on any unused nights, less the Homestay placement fee (if paid). This credit is to be transferred to the Residential College and is not available for refund.
  • All Refund payments (made to a New Zealand bank account) under $100 will incur the Administration Part Fee; otherwise the Administration Full fee applies.
  • All Refund payments (made to an overseas bank account) under $100 will incur the Administration International Transaction Part Fee; otherwise the Administration International Transaction Full Fee applies.

Insurance fees

The New Zealand Government requires that all international students have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while studying in New Zealand. FSL’s preferred insurance provider is Studentsafe-University, and will be underwritten by Allianz Insurance Ltd. For the schedule of benefits check the Studentsafe website: http://www.studentassist.co.nz/sf_university.asp

1) Insurance fees

  • All international students enrolled to study at FSL must have current medical and travel insurance that meets all the conditions of the Guidelines for the Code of Practice.
  • All students must pay the insurance amount stated on their invoice/letter of offer (this is to purchase a compliant policy) or provide an alternative policy that can be assessed FSL 8 weeks prior to the start date of their course.
  • An independent insurance assessor will be used to check alternative policies for compliance with the Code of Practice Guidelines.
  • Students who do not have a compliant insurance policy will not be admitted to class.
  • In some circumstances, international students may be exempt from providing insurance. Each situation will be individually assessed by the Student Support Officers upon advice from NZQA and Immigration New Zealand.

2) Cancellation, credit or refund of insurance

  • The invoiced and paid insurance fee will be refunded in full if an alternative compliant policy has been approved within 8 days of course commencement.
  • Students who withdraw themselves from study prior to their course start date and have paid insurance fees will receive a full refund of the insurance premium paid. All bank charges are to be paid by the student.
  • Students who withdraw from study after their course start date may be eligible for a refund on the remaining unused insurance.
  • Applications for refunds are made to StudentSafe University. The Student Support Officers can help lodge an application. A refund is granted at the discretion of the insurer, StudentSafe University. Guidelines on refund calculations are available at http://www.studentassist.co.nz/faqs/general-faqs
  • For students who leave their course of study earlier than their intended leave date, the insurance policy will expire at the expiry of their student visa.

Student activity fees

  • The total activity fee and the withdrawal date will be published in the advertising for each activity and on the activity sign-up sheet.
  • Each time students sign up for an activity they will receive a form which:
  • Sets the deadline for payment of fees to guarantee a place in a student activity.
  • Advises students of the withdrawal date (if any); and
  • Advises students of circumstances where a credit may/may not be granted.
  • If FSL cancels an activity, the fees paid will be credited in full
  • If a student withdraws from an activity after the published withdrawal date there will be no credit of fees

Student online visa fees

  • The Student Visa Processing fee is published on the student online visa application form. If a student pays for visa processing but the application is declined by Immigration New Zealand he/she will not be granted a refund

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Fee protection policy

The company is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary.
Clause 13.4 of The Code states:
"Signatories must have a fee protection policy to safeguard fees paid by international students."

Policy

To ensure tuition fees are not spent until they are earned by the company, with fees only to be released for spending on a pro rata basis as respective courses progress.

Guidelines

In order to comply with the policy, the company is to:

  • Record all fees received in advance in balance sheet accounts.
  • Reconcile these balance sheet accounts every month.
  • Ensure that it has funds invested in interest bearing accounts that are sufficient to repay at short notice all tuition fees received in advance.

Definitions

Fees in advance are defined as:

  • Tuition Fees in Advance - fees received from students to cover the cost of teaching and which have not been "earned" by the company. Fees are earned on a pro rata basis as the relevant course(s) progress.
  • Other Fees in Advance - monies received from students for any other purpose and which have not been expended providing the relevant services to the student. These monies include accommodation fees in advance, insurance premiums, and personal funds held by the company on behalf of the student.

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Foundation Year academic appeals policy


Rationale

Decisions made in the course of administering academic policy may be appealed by students to the Foundation Year Academic Appeals Committee under this Foundation Year-specific policy.

Principles

  1. This committee considers appeals relating to academic matters within Foundation Year; different avenues exist to appeal other decisions (for example refund of fees).
  2. Students will have access to a process of appeal in academic matters that is independent from the decision making process of the matter of concern.
  3. A formal appeal is the last stage of attempts to address the matter, after all other steps are exhausted.
  4. Students have the opportunity to be supported in the process of an academic appeal.

Conclusion

Appeals will be heard fairly, taking relevant matters into consideration, in a supportive manner, and in good time. Outcomes of appeals will be communicated to all parties.

Guidelines

1. The Foundation Year Academic Appeals committee will consist of the following members:

  • The Foundation Year Academic Committee (FYAC)
  • The staff representative on the Academic Board of Studies (ABS)

It is noted that where members of the Academic Appeals committee have been directly involved in events leading to an appeal, they should withdraw from the committee as having a conflict of interest.

2. Concerns about assessment processes will be raised directly with the staff member responsible for the action giving concern, then if necessary with higher authorities. The usual sequence of action is: class teacher, Head of Department/Assessment Manager, appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee.
It is noted that a student is also able to use the complaints process through the student support system.

3. The Divisional Manager should take steps to ensure that students are aware that there is an appeals process.

4. Students must lodge appeals using the Academic Appeals Application Form (attached) within the time frame specified, and must attach relevant and supporting documentation such as medical certificates.

  • Students have 10 working days to appeal after notification of an action. Notification is deemed to have occurred three working days after a letter and an email have been sent to the student.
  • If a matter is under appeal, then the 'status quo' for the student should continue (usually, this would mean that the student is eligible to attend class, participate in assessment etc). In matters involving health and safety, this may be waived and alternative arrangements made; in these cases, this will be approved by the Divisional Manager.

5. There are four general grounds for appeal:

  • The published marks or grades are wrong
  • There was some administrative error or irregularity relevant to the assessment process
  • The assessments were not conducted in accordance with the current approved procedures
  • Some other exceptional circumstance

The Academic Appeals committee may choose, in exceptional circumstances, to consider an appeal that may not strictly meet these grounds.
Academic judgement - simply disagreeing with the academic judgement of an assessor is NOT grounds for appeal.


6. Students will have the option of having a support person with them through the appeal process. In most cases this will be a student support staff member, though it may be any staff member without a conflict of interest (for example, being on the Appeals Committee, or being a party to the matter in hand). This support person may also attend any meetings with the student as their support person. A support person does not have speaking rights.
The student may also choose to use a person from 'outside' Foundation Studies Ltd to fill this role, and the Academic Appeal committee should be sympathetic to a whanau/support style interview - see the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust website for an example of this: http://www.eeotrust.org.nz/toolkits/Maori.cfm?section=howtotapthepotentialofmaori

7. The Academic Appeals Committee will develop its own procedures, but the following principles should be observed:

  • Minutes shall be kept of all meetings
  • Students should not suffer any disadvantage or recrimination as a result of making an appeal in good faith
  • Students are supported throughout and after the appeals process
  • All parties have the right to respectful consideration including confidentiality and privacy
  • Students should be fully informed of processes, timelines, options, choices, and consequences throughout the appeal process
  • Appeals are considered and decisions communicated as quickly as possible while allowing for integrity of process
  • Staff responsible for administering relevant policies will be informed of decisions and the reasons for those decisions to assist with administration of those policies in the future


8. Medical certificates and documentary evidence

  • Medical certificates must come from a New Zealand registered health practitioner, and should arise from an 'in-person' consultation with the signatory of the certificate at the time of the condition. Other than in exceptional cases, retrospective medical certification will not be accepted as valid. In any case, a medical certificate is no guarantee of the success of an appeal; it constitutes one of a variety of aspects the Committee may consider.
  • The Committee may check the validity of a medical certificate with the issuer (without seeking detail regarding the condition involved)
  • Other documentary evidence will be considered and given weight at the Academic Appeals committee's discretion

9. Communication

  • Communication from the Committee to a student must be in writing via letter and email (verbal communication must be followed up in writing)
  • In line with general company policy, official communication channels are via letter to the student's last given addresses and their University of Otago email address. It is the student's responsibility to notify Foundation Year reception of any change in postal address, and it is the student's responsibility to check their student email.
  • Students are deemed to have received all information provided in scheduled classes regardless of their attendance.
  • Communication will be sent by post and by email, and the student shall be deemed to have received it after three working days of a letter being posted.


10. Recourse beyond the Academic Appeals Committee

If a student is unsatisfied with a decision arrived at by the Academic Appeals Committee, they may make a final written appeal to the Foundation Studies Academic Board of Studies. This must be lodged within 5 working days of notification of the decision of the Academic Appeals committee.

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Foundation Year assessment policy


Rationale

The assessment of student work serves formative (learning) and summative (grading and selection) purposes. The formative purposes are structuring, guiding and enhancing student learning. The summative purposes involve certifying student achievement and admitting students to subsequent learning opportunities. The purpose of this policy is to document the guidelines and procedures that will contribute to high quality assessment of student performance.

Principles

1. Foundation Studies assessment policy will reflect University of Otago policy, where relevant, as found on the following web page:


2. Assessment practices are expected to conform to the following principles.

  • The formative functions of assessment will be given as least as much emphasis as the summative functions.
  • Both formative and summative assessments will centre on knowledge, skills and attitudes which really matter.
  • The number, timing and percentage weights of individual assessments will be chosen to maximise validity (both formative and summative).
  • The workload associated with assessment requirements will be reasonable. Assessment tasks will be fully described early enough to give students time to fit them alongside their other commitments.

Detailed guidelines on the following policy issues are appended to this policy.

  • Norm Referenced & Criterion Referenced Assessment
  • Relative Weights Given to Different Paper Goals
  • Relative Weights Given to In-course Assessments Final Examinations
  • The Use of Terms and In-course Assessment
  • Feedback on Student Work
  • Assessment of Group Work
  • Oral Examinations
  • Student Workload
  • Procedures for Approving & Reviewing Assessment Arrangements
  • Monitoring and Moderation Procedures
  • Grievance and Appeal Mechanisms
  • Staff Development Processes

Outcome

Assessment procedures will be valid in that they will fulfil their intended purpose(s). They will fairly and reliably measure what they set out to measure, guiding student learning and motivating student learning activity.

Glossary of Terms

Criterion-referenced assessment (also known as standards-based assessment)
Students' performance is assessed against stated objectives and expected standards rather than against the performance of other students.

End-point assessment
Assessment, usually in the form of a test, done at the end of an academic term.

Examination
In Foundation Year, the end-of-paper assessment that takes place at the end of a semester, within the examination period, which is outside the 13-week teaching period for a paper. See also internal assessment.

Formative uses for assessment

Uses of assessment that are intended to help students to improve their academic performance.

Internal assessment
All components of assessment which contribute to a final grade but which are not derived from performance on a final examination; internal assessment takes place within the timetabled teaching times for a paper. In Foundation Year, the proportion of marks awarded through internal assessment may vary from paper to paper, but must not exceed 40% of the final mark.

Norm-referenced assessment

Students' performance is judged or interpreted by comparing the levels of performance of different students taking a paper.

Paper
The smallest individual academic component of a course (and thus of a Programme). Papers are characterised by:
(i) being recorded as a separate entity on an academic record
(ii) having some form of result attached to it
(iii) generating a definable portion of the tuition fees available.
Language Centre example papers are Intermediate General English or Intermediate level IELTS.

Paper Coordinator (PC)
An academic staff member who is responsible for co-ordinating the organisation of a paper and the efforts of staff members involved in the paper.

Programme
The entirety of what students do while they are in the Language Centre or at Foundation Year.

Reliability of an assessment
The extent to which an assessment produces a stable or reproducible pattern of results. Reliability is only important to the extent that it enhances validity.

Summative uses for assessment
Uses of assessment in which student performance is summarised, or decisions about awarding of credit or admission to educational programmes are made.

Validity of an assessment

The extent to which an assessment fulfils its intended purpose(s), such as fairly measuring what it sets out to measure, guiding student learning, and motivating student learning activity.

Guidelines
Introduction
UOLC and Foundation Year assessment policy guidelines will reflect University of Otago policy, where relevant, as found on the following website:http://www.otago.ac.nz/administration/policies/otago006217.html

Numbering
The numbering used in these detailed guidelines reflects that used in the University of Otago policy. Parts of the University policy are not relevant to Foundation Studies (for example post graduate oral examinations) and therefore 'not applicable' has been used in these guidelines to maintain the integrity of the numbering system.

Detailed Guidelines

1. Norm Referenced & Criterion Referenced Assessment
1.1 Grades should be awarded only on the basis of demonstrated achievement (not on progress, potential, or other grounds).
1.2 Each student's work should be judged on its own merits. Predefined pass rates or grade distributions should not be used.
1.3 Students should receive specific, clear and early information about what they need to do to pass or gain a higher grade. The information should include details about the allocation of marks and the timing, percentage weight and focus of each assessment.
1.4 Internal assessment tests will be held in normal class time.
1.5 Changes in announced assessment arrangements in a paper should not take place without approval by the Head of Department (Foundation Year) or the Head of Academic Programmes (UOLC).

2. Relative Weights Given to Different Paper Goals
2.1 Assessment should give credit to both learning core factual material and to the development of conceptual understanding and skills in applying knowledge to new situations.
2.2 Adjustments (weightings) of internal assessment marks should be clearly identified in paper outlines. (See also 1.3).

3. Relative Weights Given to Internal Assessments and End-Point Assessments
3.1 The weights given to different assessment components included in final grades should be selected to best describe students' capabilities at the end of the paper. Assessment methods should be appropriate to the performance being assessed. For example a speech is best assessed by its delivery. Aspects which are taught early in a paper, and have no further development, may be best assessed after completion of the teaching of that aspect.
3.2 The proportion of marks awarded through internal assessment may vary from paper to paper (and in Foundation Year, should not exceed 40%).
3.3 The adjustment of internal assessment marks may be appropriate for some assessment components.

4. The Use of Terms and Internal Assessment
4.1 All assessment components included in final grades should reflect performance on paper objectives. It is not appropriate to give grading credit for attendance at class.
4.2 A paper may have terms requirements, detailing minimum levels of attendance or experience required before a final examination can be sat or a final grade awarded. In this case the requirements and their rationale must be clearly explained to the students to whom they apply.
4.3 Where terms are in force, procedures for monitoring compliance with the requirement should be thorough, with fairness further ensured through proper early warning and appeal procedures.

5. Feedback on Student Work (Internal Assessment)
5.1 Students should receive their work back with feedback as soon as possible and no later than:

  • one teaching week (UOLC)
  • three teaching weeks (Foundation Year),
  • after the work was handed in or due whichever is the later.

5.2 Not applicable.
5.3 Where two or more assessment tasks in a paper are similar in nature and each count more than five percent in the final grade, the later tasks should not be due until at least one week after feedback has been provided on the immediately preceding task.
5.4 In papers which have an end-point assessment or examination, all internal assessed tasks should be marked and available to students before the day of the end-point assessment or examination in the paper.
5.5 In addition to receiving a mark or grade, students should receive a clear indication of the strengths and weaknesses of their work, normally accompanied by guidance on how to perform the task or a similar task better.
5.6 Where internal assessed work will be able to be resubmitted, markers should not give detailed, line-by-line feedback which students could directly incorporate in their resubmitted work. Rather, the feedback should be of a more general nature, identifying key aspects which need attention and suggesting models of how to approach the task. It may also be advisable to impose an upper limit on the extent to which grades can be increased through resubmission. For instance, the maximum increase might be set at two grade divisions (e.g. C to B-).

6. Assessment of Group Work
6.1 Performance on group tasks is an acceptable component of student final grades. The percentage contribution from group tasks should be able to be justified in terms of the objectives of the paper.
6.2 If more than thirty percent of a final grade is associated with such tasks, before individual grades are finalised the teacher(s) should seek and take account of additional information about the contributions of individuals to group task results.

7. Oral Examinations
7.1 Where oral examinations are to be used, students should be given clear information, in advance, about the purpose, nature and scope of the examination. They should also be given organised opportunities to practice the skills involved.
7.2 Oral examinations should be used selectively, where the oral examination format is particularly suited to the skills and students being assessed.
7.3 Oral examinations should normally involve at least two examiners. There may be occasions when an independent witness could be desirable. The making of a recording should be considered to protect the participants.

8. Student Workload
8.1 Not applicable.
8.2 Teachers should attempt to spread the assessment load for their students throughout the paper.
8.3 Foundation Year should attempt to spread the assessment load across papers in a programme.
8.4 Students should be given sufficient and early enough information about the requirements of any graded task which counts more than five percent towards a final grade that they can fully undertake the task at least one week before it is due to be submitted. This work period should be increased to at least two weeks for tasks which count more than ten percent, and to at least three weeks for tasks which count more than twenty percent.
8.5 No internal assessed work which counts towards a final grade should be scheduled for completion or submission during a vacation or end-point/examination assessment period.
8.6 Guideline 8.5 should normally be extended so that completion or submission of internally assessed work is not scheduled during the last teaching week or before a final examination period.

9. Procedures for Approving & Reviewing Assessment Arrangements
The assessment policy and procedures will be reviewed every two years. Implementation of the policy and procedures by teachers will be reviewed as part of their annual performance appraisal.
9.1 In Foundation Year, when papers are approved initially or reviewed subsequently, adherence to the principles and policy guidelines listed in this document should be checked as part of the approval or review process.
9.2 Existing Foundation Year papers should be reviewed to check adherence to this assessment policy as part of the paper review cycle.

10. Monitoring and Moderation Procedures
10.1 Staff should be encouraged to consult appropriate peers when setting assessment tasks and deciding how to grade student responses to tasks.
10.2 The Divisional Manager should ensure that assessment activities are monitored for consistency of standards and quality of feedback provided. This may be delegated.
10.3 Where two or more staff share marking of an assignment or examination question, efforts should be made to achieve consistency and monitor its attainment.
10.4 Where students are offered a choice of examination questions, the comparability of marks awarded for the different options should be monitored, evaluated, and where necessary improved.
10.5 The HOAP/Foundation Year Academic Committee should review the comparability of standards in papers at each level each academic term, making adjustments where necessary.
10.6 Each academic term the HOAP/Foundation Year Academic Committee should check on the consistency of grades between papers at the same level and in the UOLC, report to the Curriculum Committee.
10.7 Not relevant.
10.8 Not relevant.

11. Grievance and Appeal Mechanisms
Concerns about assessment processes should be raised first directly with the staff member responsible for the action giving concern, then if necessary with higher authorities. The usual sequence of authority is:
11.1 UOLC - class teacher, Academic Dean, HOAP/Divisional Manager, CEO.
11.2 Foundation Year - class teacher, PC, Head of Department/Assessment Manager, appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee, the Academic Board of Studies.
11.3 The student is able to use the complaints process through the Student Support Officer.
11.4 The Divisional Manager should take steps to ensure that information on grievance and appeal procedures is made available to all students as part of their orientation.

12. Staff Development Process
12.1 All staff should be shown how to access the policy and procedures on assessment.

12.2 Implementation of the assessment policy and procedures by teachers will form part of their appraisal and teachers who need development will receive assistance.
12.3 Each year, the professional development programme for teachers should provide opportunities for teachers to discuss assessment practices and enhance their assessment skills and procedures.
12.4 Teachers will be encouraged to become familiar with the provisions of this policy document.
12.5 Not relevant.

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Foundation Year attendance policy

Rationale

Attendance is a key element to academic success. The University of Otago Foundation Year has obligations to the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding student visas, and requirements to fulfil as a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary.

Principles

  1. The aim of this policy and associated procedures is to promote the academic success and pastoral care of students in Foundation Year through an attendance system that is summarised as "record, report, and support."
  2. Appropriate lateness procedures will be developed by the Paper Coordinator for each paper and clearly communicated to the students in the Paper Outline.
  3. Weekly attendance data is compiled and reported to staff, Academic Deans and Student Support, Divisional Manager and others as appropriate. This may result in action being taken in the context of academic support, pastoral care, or the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary. As part of this, individual student attendance data may be provided to parents/guardians/sponsors/ scholarship providers/agent.
  4. An internal assessment event such as a test, seminar or deadline that is missed through non-attendance will be dealt with under the Assessment policy.
  5. Non-attendance at examinations will be dealt with under the Assessment policy.
  6. A student who has not attended class is expected to 'catch-up' by themselves; teachers will not re-teach work in subsequent classes.
  7. A student's attendance may be considered when making decisions regarding matters such as (and not limited to) missed assessments, impaired performance, applications for special consideration, and fees refund in the case of withdrawal.

Conclusion

Students will be supported in their study through the recording and reporting of attendance.

Procedures

1. Attendance is taken at all teaching sessions (for example labs, tutorials, field trips etc) except lectures.
2. Paper coordinator must consider the option of taking attendance in lectures.
3. Recording attendance
a) In large groups (e.g. lectures):
i) The lecturer will circulate sign-in sheets that have the student name typed and a space alongside for the student to sign.
ii) Source documents must be retained by the paper coordinator for at least six months from the end of the paper.
b) In smaller groups (e.g. tutorials):
i) Teachers record in their roll book students present/absent at the beginning of the class.
ii) If a student comes in after the start of the class, the teacher must follow procedure within the paper, and idf admitted, be marked 'Late.'
iii) The source document for attendance data (i.e. the roll book) must be retained by the teacher for at least six months after the end of the paper.
iv) Before leaving on their last teaching day of the week the teacher must enter attendance in the attendance database. They will enter late/absent students, or in the case of full attendance, indicate that. For assistance with this please see the Academic Resource Administrator.
4. Roll books - the type and format of roll books are decided within departments; however they must be:
a) Findable, clear, and easy to follow (e.g. by a relief teacher).
b) Clearly show student names, dates/sessions and student status (withdrawn, and present/late/absent for each session).
c) Be secure, and keep all information confidential.
d) Be able to be retained for 6 months after programme completion.
5. If a teacher has concerns regarding the attendance of a particular student they should inform the Academic Deans and/or Student Support as appropriate in writing (email is best).
6. If a student is absent for two or three consecutive sessions, the teacher must notify the Academic Deans by email, giving student name, class and sessions missed.
7. On Monday morning, the Academic Resource Administrator will run attendance reports and provide these to staff as appropriate.
8. The Academic Resource Administrator will run special attendance reports for management on request. These may be supplied to third parties such as parents/guardians/sponsors/scholarship providers/agent. In supplying this information, the original purpose for collecting the information should apply - student academic and pastoral welfare.

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Foundation Year repeating papers or programmes policy

Rationale

This policy provides information and guidelines when students are repeating papers or a whole programme so as to ensure that their programme of learning is valid and meets requirements for either the Foundation Year Certificate or the Certificate in University Preparation.

Principles

  1. This policy applies to all Foundation Year students.
  2. Students may repeat papers or an entire programme. This is not as of right; in doing this the guidelines below must be followed.
  3. The integrity of the qualification is the over-riding concern in applying this policy and guidelines.
  4. A student's course of study must be realistic and appropriate for that student.
  5. The Academic Deans will implement this policy and make final judgements, consulting and taking advice as they see fit.

Outcome

Students will, where appropriate, have the opportunity to repeat papers or programmes of study.

Guidelines

Background

  1. 1A student will not study more than five papers concurrently.
  2. Calculation of the GPA for the award of the Foundation Studies Certificate requires students to have completed 10 different papers from the approved range. Two of those ten papers must be FOUN001 Academic English I and FOUN002 Academic English II, with an average grade of C or better in both, ie. (FOUN001 mark + FOUN002 mark) / 2 is less than or equal to 55%.
  3. Calculation of the GPA for the award of the Certificate in University Preparation requires students to have completed 5 different papers from the approved range. Two of those five papers must be FOUN020 Academic English III with a grade of C or better, and FOUN027 Computing and Study Skills.
  4. The student's best 10 papers (FSC) and 5 papers (CUP) are used in GPA calculations.
  5. A paper must only count once towards the GPA.
  6. Students who repeat or replace papers follow the usual enrolment/admission timeline for that programme. Note that this means that a student may not join another intake (or paper) after the first teaching week of that intake (or paper).


Repeat or replacement papers

1. This applies to students who wish to take one or more repeat or replacement papers. It does not apply to students who wish to repeat an entire programme.
2. Any student wanting to take a repeat or replacement paper must have the approval of the Academic Dean. The Academic Dean will look at the student's academic performance, attendance, and also any other circumstances that may affect the student's performance. This approval may take place via email, phone, or in person.
3. A student who has completed the programme who has:
* a GPA below 6.5, and/or
* a final Academic English grade below C,
will have the option of applying to study one or more papers in order to attempt to improve their GPA.
4. Fees will be calculated according to the Fees Policy.

Repeating an entire programme


1. 1. This applies to students who wish to repeat an entire programme, such as the Foundation Studies Certificate, the Certificate in University Preparation, or Bridging Programme.
2. Any student wanting to repeat an entire programme must have the approval of the Academic Dean. The Academic Dean will look at the student's academic performance, their attendance, and also any other circumstances that may affect the student's performance, and also consult with the Divisional Manager before making a decision. This approval may take place via email, phone, or in person.
3. A student must have a GPA of 5.5 or better before consideration will be given to a student repeating a programme.
4. If a student gains a GPA less than 5.5 then they may not repeat an entire programme within the next 12 months. This may be waived in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the Academic Dean.
5. As a condition of repeating an entire programme, the student is required to agree to fulfil certain conditions. These will be clearly explained in a written agreement signed by the student and Foundation Studies Limited.
6. Fees will be calculated according to the Fees Policy.

Building on Success

In some cases a student who has achieved a GPA of less than 6.5 and an Academic English grade of less than C may wish to repeat one or more papers, take other papers, or take an entire programme. An example may be a student who wishes to consolidate understanding in a particular area before entering university. This type of study is possible, and students in this situation must discuss their situation with the Academic Dean.

Transfer to another intake
1. A student can apply to transfer from one intake to another intake if the Dean of Students gives approval. The student must apply in writing to the Academic Dean explaining why they wish to transfer to another intake. Where appropriate, documentary evidence should be supplied to support the application. There is no guarantee that approval will be given.
2. Fees will be calculated according to the Fees Policy.

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Language Centre attendance policy

Purpose

To promote the full attendance and academic success of students in all University of Otago Language Centre courses.

Rationale

The University of Otago Language Centre has a contract with enrolled students to improve their level of English. The University of Otago Language Centre has an obligation to Immigration New Zealand to ensure that international students on Student Visas attend class. The University of Otago Language Centre must meet its contract and visa obligations.

Guidelines

1. Students are expected to attend all classes to improve their English.
2. Attendance will be monitored on a weekly basis.
3. When a student through their poor attendance, is not enabling the University of Otago Language Centre to meet its contract obligations, then the contract with the student may be terminated.
4. When a student has very poor attendance in one term, he/she may be placed on a special attendance contract for the subsequent term.

Non attendance

Students who are not attending class will go through the following process.
1. If a student misses more than 5 Options classes without an adequate excuse they may receive a warning letter.
2. Students who are absent for more than 10 classes in any one term, (without an adequate excuse) may be given a FIRST WARNING LETTER. This letter, along with a copy of this attendance policy may be sent to fee payers, scholarship providers or sponsors.
3. Students who are absent for more than 20 classes in any one term, (without an adequate excuse) will be interviewed by the Student Support Officer and the Academic Dean. If no reasonable excuse is offered at this interview, then the student will be given a FINAL WARNING LETTER. This letter, along with a copy of the attendance policy will be sent fee payers, scholarship providers or sponsors.
4. Students who are absent for more than 25 classes in any one term, (without an adequate excuse or medical certificate) may be withdrawn from the University of Otago Language Centre with no refund of fees.
5. The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year reserves the right to withdraw a student if their total absences, including explained absences (such as medical certificates or ringing our office) exceeds 45 classes in any one term. This will be done in consultation with the student.
6. Student attendance will be recorded as a percentage on all reports issued to the student or to fee payers, scholarship providers or sponsors.

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Student charter

Rationale

This Charter outlines the obligations of the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year to students and the responsibilities and rights of students while studying here.

Guidelines

Rights

As a student you have the right:
1. To experience high quality teaching
2. To have programme material clearly communicated and feedback is provided on progress
3. To have well organised classes where individual learning needs are responded to in a positive manner
4. To have the Treaty of Waitangi acknowledged, which includes support for Maori student participation
5. To be informed well in advance about how and when your work will be assessed
6. To be treated with respect and courtesy by Language Centre and Foundation Year staff and other students in an environment free from harassment
7. To expect that the Language Centre and Foundation Year will provide a safe and secure environment
8. To have access to clear and appropriate procedures for dealing with grievances
9. To expect the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary to be followed.
If you believe your rights are not being respected, you can talk to the Student Support Officers, Class Representative [Foundation Year] or the OUSA Advocacy Service. They will be able to advise you.

Responsibilities


One of the key objectives of the Language Centre and Foundation Year is to foster an academic environment in which students from a wide range of nationalities are given opportunities to succeed. To achieve this objective, you have the following responsibilities.

1. To promote an environment this is safe and free from harassment and discrimination
2. Not to disrupt the teacher from performing his/her duties or other students from learning
3. To respect others and be considerate
4. To allow all class members the opportunity to speak, and to not talk when others are speaking
5. To contribute to a positive learning environment
6. To communicate and take an active part in class
7. To speak English whenever and wherever possible
8. To attend classes and be on time
9. To be well organised and prepared for class
10. To ask for help if you need it
11. To submit work that is your own
12. To seek opportunities for learning outside normal class time
13. To follow the attendance procedures
14. To check daily for notices and information
15. To follow the rules for each class regarding the use of electronic devices
16. To provide your teachers with feedback on their teaching
17. To respect both the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year property and private property
18. To obey the University of Otago rules and regulations regarding computer use which are posted in computer rooms and on the Student Computing Services website.
19. To obey the University of Otago Discipline Regulations.
20. To obey rules which are set to enable these obligations and rights to be met.
If you are not meeting your responsibilities then there may be consequences to your actions. Please refer to the Complaints and Withdrawal Policies or the University of Otago Discipline Regulations.

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Withdrawal policy

Purpose

This policy sets out the withdrawal procedures for University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year (UOLCFY) students. Students may be withdrawn from their programme by UOLCFY for a variety of reasons, or a student may withdraw voluntarily.

Principles

o Withdrawal processes will be clearly communicated to students.
o In certain circumstances UOLCFY will withdraw students from their programme. The reason for withdrawing a student could include: poor attendance, lack of sufficient academic progress, unpaid fees, falsifying documents, visa irregularities, misconduct, criminal activity and serious physical and/or psychological health issues.
o Students may choose to withdraw from their UOLCFY programme.
o Decisions made by UOLCFY to withdraw a student can be appealed.

Outcome

The withdrawal of students from UOLCFY following clear and transparent processes.

Organisational Scope

This policy only applies to the UOLCFY students.

Definitions

Appeal
A formal process initiated by the student and assisted by Student Support, to assess that correct procedures have been followed.

Appeals Committee
Made up of the CEO and/or Deputy CEO, the Operations Manager, Dean of Students and/or one other manager.

BP
Foundation Year Bridging Programme

Exceptional Circumstances

Circumstances beyond the control of the student

FY

Foundation Year Department

FSC
Foundation Studies Certificate, also known as the Foundation Year Programme

Induction Period
The period during which a new student may withdraw and expect to have a substantial portion of their fees refunded. The period begins from the course start date, and is the duration specified below, unless there are special circumstances as approved by the CEO:

  • LC and BP - 5 days
  • FY - 21 days


LC
Language Centre Department

Programme
The combination of things a person will study or do while at LC or FY.

Refund
The payment of money held in credit by FSL.

The University
The University of Otago

Transfer
The process of withdrawing/being withdrawn from one LC or FY enrolment and entering another LC, FY or University enrolment.

UOLCFY

University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year (otherwise known as FSL)

Withdrawal
The processing of terminating a student's enrolment, by the student or FSL.

Procedures
Withdrawal processes will be clearly communicated to students, prior to their enrolment, during the enrolment process and while they are studying at UOLCFY. At Orientation, information on the Withdrawal Policy will be provided to students along with reference made to the location of this policy in the Student Handbook. Where/when relevant, students are provided with information on the Withdrawal Policy by the Deans and Student Support. Reference is also made on Blackboard to the location of this policy.
In certain circumstances UOLCFY will withdraw students from their programme. If this occurs, the UOLCFY withdrawal of student process should be followed.
Students are able to withdraw from their UOLCFY programme. If this occurs, the withdrawal by student process should be followed.
Decisions regarding UOLCFY withdrawing students can be appealed.
If a student is unhappy with how FSL withdrawal processes were followed, the following appeal process applies:
o Attempt to resolve the issue informally by discussing the matter with the Student Support Officers.
o If the student is not satisfied that the issue is resolved, he/she can write a letter of concern to the FSL Appeals Committee outlining the reasons for appeal.
o If the application is again declined, a further appeal can be addressed to the FSL Board Chairperson.
o For international students, if the application is again declined, a further appeal can be made to the International Education Appeal Authority.

UOLCFY-student-withdrawal

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