Swansea University

Assessment in Welsh/Another Language

Assessment in Welsh/Another Language

Guidelines on Assessment or Examination in Welsh or in a Language Other than the Language of Tuition

1. Assessments through the medium of Welsh

The teaching and assessment language of the University is predominantly English, but in accordance with the University’s Welsh Language Scheme and Feedback and Assessment Policy, students may submit assessed work or be examined in Welsh. This policy DOES NOT apply for students pursuing modules in which proficiency/ competency in another language must be demonstrated.

Students must submit a written request to the College within four weeks of the start of the relevant module(s) to be permitted to sit an examination and/or submit assessed work in Welsh.  (Where modules are of a shorter duration than four weeks, requests must be submitted upon enrolment on the module). The College shall then forward these requests to the Director of Academic Services who will then liaise with the Head of College (or nominee) regarding:

  • The provision of question papers through the medium of English or Welsh;
  • The necessary arrangements for the translation and/or marking of scripts in time for the inclusion of candidates’ results as appropriate;
  • The engagement of a suitable person or persons to act as advisory examiners or (at an approved fee) as translators.

It is a student’s responsibility to determine whether or not they are competent in the Welsh language, including appropriate technical terminology for the subjects concerned. Students must be aware that marks may be deducted for poor spelling/punctuation/grammar in accordance with the College(s) policy on this matter.

2. Translation of Assessment Questions

Where a Welsh language translation of an examination paper has been provided for an English-medium module, students should also be permitted to view the English language paper and to respond through the medium of English should they choose to do so. This approach is taken in order to ensure that the opportunity for students to be assessed in the language of their choosing does not compromise the student’s ability to achieve to their maximum.

3. Marking of assessed work submitted in Welsh

For programmes taught through the medium of English

Under the University’s Welsh Language Scheme, students may submit their assessments in Welsh if they wish.

In assuring the reliability of the assessment process the University encourages assignments to be marked by the individual teaching on that topic as its first principle. However where the internal examiner is not a fluent Welsh speaker, Academic Services will arrange for translation.  Where necessary, an external translator will be appointed to deal with subjects with highly technical terminology. The University scrutinises the competencies of external translators very carefully to ensure that they correctly convey the technicalities of the subject.

The University shall adopt appropriate means for verifying the accuracy of translation.

In accordance with our anonymous marking policy, all formal examinations shall be marked in the anonymous state. However, in-programme assessments, e.g. oral/aural elements, continuous assessment and dissertations/theses are not always subject to anonymity. In these circumstances, every effort shall be made to ensure that there shall be no conflict of interest between translators and students. Translators shall be independent from the teaching, examining and marking processes.

Assessed work shall be translated into appropriate English, with adjustments for poor grammar, punctuation, etc. The translator must however note issues where the written/oral Welsh is poor and where accommodations have been made so that the internal examiner may make any adjustments to marks in accordance with College marking criteria.

Assessment questions shall also be translated into Welsh, as appropriate, but internal examiners must ensure that students will be aware of and understand any technical terminology that has been translated.

There must be comparable expectations and standards of students work regardless of the language of submission. Marking criteria must therefore be fair and appropriate to either language.

For programmes taught through the medium of Welsh

As a first principle, we encourage assignments to be marked by the individual teaching on that topic.

As a second principle, we encourage the appointment of a Welsh speaking External Examiner who is linguistically and academically competent to make judgements on the original language text or oral assessments. Welsh speaking competency is requested in the nomination form for External Examiners. The University of Wales and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol also maintain a database of Welsh-speaking External Examiners to which Swansea University has access to assist in identifying appropriate expertise.

Good Practice

Where a bilingual External Examiner is appointed, it is good practice for the examiner to review assessments in English as well as Welsh to compare and confirm standards.

4. Assessments through a language other than Welsh/English

In the case of students pursuing Modern Languages programmes, if appropriate and with the approval of the relevant module coordinator, students may be permitted to complete continuous assessment or examinations in the target language of modern languages modules. However if the rubric of the examination/assessment requires submission in English/Welsh, then this requirement shall prevail.

5. Marking of assessed work submitted in a language other than Welsh/English

In the case of students pursuing Modern Languages programmes, internal and External Examiners must be competent in the relevant languages and therefore issues regarding assuring standards and translation matters (as outlined above for Welsh language submissions) are not applicable.

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