Assessment guidelines

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Assessment Framework

ICA has an Assessment Framework that sets out the principles, practices and conducts of assessment, and outlines the processes we go through when making assessment decisions.


This document illustrates the full assessment framework.

External Examiners

External Examiners play a vital role in the maintenance of academic standards and in ensuring rigorous but fair assessment of candidates. This guidance will provide generic information on the role of External Examiners at ICA and outlines the activities in which External Examiners are likely to be involved.


Assessment Boards

Reaching decision


Awarding Regulations and Guidelines

  1. Where a candidate has failed one or more assessment components they can only receive the minimum pass level mark on re-assessment
  2. The minimum pass mark for each piece of assessment is 40%, however, the candidate must achieve an overall pass mark of 50% in order to pass the programme.
  3. The maximum number of re- takes for any assessment is two. This does not include any re-assessment granted by the Assessment Board due to mitigating circumstances
  4. Decisions as to which piece of assessed work needs to be retaken, where a choice exists, will be determined exclusively by the Assessment Board
  5. Where a candidate fails to pass the course after exhausting all re-take opportunities they will be offered a Certificate of Attendance as per point 9.
  6. Where mitigating circumstances have been accepted by the Assessment Board for a candidate who has failed an assessment component or the overall assessment, amendments to the awarding classification can be made by the Assessment Board but the mark awarded will remain the same. The candidate will be recorded as having passed with mitigating grounds
  7. Where a candidate has achieved a passing mark in an assessment they may not repeat that assessment with the objective of trying to increase the mark for that piece of work
  8. The Assessment Board shall have the power to determine whether a candidate is required to repeat one or more pieces of assessed work
  9. Where a candidate’s final mark is borderline i.e. 49, 59, 69, the Assessment Board will review the candidate’s assessment with a view to increasing the overall grade. In the case of diploma candidates, two out of the three marks must fall in the upper bracket and the candidate must have demonstrated through their assessments that they have performed in the higher grade banding. For Advanced Certificate students at least one mark must be in a higher bracket with good evidence to demonstrate they have performed in the higher grade banding.
  10. In the event of failure by a candidate the Assessment Board shall have the power to recommend that the candidate be awarded a lower level of award. For example, a candidate that fails the diploma programme may be recommended for a pass at Advanced Certificate provided the fail mark in the diploma falls within accepted boundaries:
         i. If a grade is no more than 10 below the diploma pass rate of 50%
        ii. If the average mark is below 40 then the Board may award a certificate of attendance
  11. Candidates granted the right to re-take an assessment must attend the re-take at the next available sitting. The right to defer is not automatic

Academic and Professional Malpractice

ICA regards plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice (such as collusion and fabrication or falsification of results) as serious academic offences. ICA also expects all members to sign up to, and operate in accordance with, the ICA Code of Conduct and maintain professional standards.  

ICA has issued guidelines on academic and professional malpractice to help clarify for you what will be considered as constituting these offences and to indicate the nature of the penalties that may be imposed where they occur.



Appeals Procedure

The ICA welcomes feedback about the assessment process. If you wish to submit feedback you may do so by telephone, email or fax.

If you wish to formally appeal you may do so against the marks awarded and/or the feedback given on assessed work on the following grounds:

A. that there exists or existed circumstances affecting your performance of which, for good reason, the Assessment Board may not have been made aware when the decision was taken and which might have had a material effect on the decision [Note: if a candidate wishes to appeal on such grounds, they must give adequate reasons with supporting documentation why this information was not made available prior to the decision being made.

B. that there had been a material administrative error or procedural irregularity in the assessment process or in putting into effect the regulations for the programme of study of such a nature as to cause significant doubt whether the decision might have been different if the error or irregularity had not occurred

C. that there is evidence of prejudice or bias or lack of proper assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners

An appeal which questions the academic or professional judgement of those charged with the responsibility for assessing a candidate’s academic performance or professional competence will not be permitted. Should you wish to make an appeal it 
is important that you read the full ICA APPEAL GUIDELINES


Complaints Policy

ICA is committed to providing a quality service and achieving the highest standards of conduct and has adopted these commitments as specific values. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our customers.

This document outlines our approach to complaints concerning assessment.


Mitigating Circumstances

What is mitigation?

1.   Sometimes circumstances or events beyond your control may adversely affect your ability to perform in an assessment to your full potential or to complete an assignment by the stated deadline. In such cases mitigation may be applied, i.e. treating marks or results in a way that acknowledges the adverse impact that may have resulted from those circumstances or events, or waiving penalties that would arise from late submission.

2.   Mitigation will not result in the changing of any marks, unless penalties for late submission are waived after an assignment has already been marked. Instead, mitigation may result in some marks being disregarded and the assessment being excused because the outcome was adversely affected. Mitigation may also mean treating your overall performance as borderline even though the marks you obtained overall would not normally be high enough, and so considering you for a more favourable result.

Approaching ICA

3.  ICA will consider granting an extension for self-certified illness within two weeks before a submission deadline. You should email ICA as soon as possible if you consider that some serious illness or misfortune has adversely affected your ability to complete one or more assignments even within the extended deadline, or if you believe that the results you might obtain from one or more assessments will be adversely affected.

4.  Requests for mitigation submitted within two weeks of an assessment period (except as a result of circumstances that have arisen during the course of that assessment period) will not be considered without a credible and compelling explanation as to why the circumstances were not known or could not have been shown beforehand.

5.  You should first seek advice from ICA’s office as to whether the adverse circumstances are sufficient to warrant consideration by ICA’s Mitigating Circumstances Panel. You should also seek advice as to whether it is in your interest to consider alternative remedies such as a deadline extension, re-scheduling of an assessment within a current assessment period, or sitting an examination at the next available opportunity. In very serious cases, you might even be best advised to interrupt your studies for a period.

Nature of mitigating circumstances

6.  It is important to remember that, in order to qualify for consideration, the adverse circumstances or events must be unforeseeable or unpreventable as far as you are concerned, and sufficiently disruptive to have a significant adverse effect on your academic performance or your ability to complete assignments by the due date.

7.  Circumstances or events that merit consideration may include: suffering a serious illness or injury; the death or critical /significant illness of a close family member/dependent; a significant family crisis leading to acute stress; and unplanned absence arising from such things as jury service or maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

8.  Circumstances or events that would not normally merit consideration include: holidays or other events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected; assessments that are scheduled close together or on the same day; misreading the timetable for examinations or otherwise misunderstanding the requirements for assessment; inadequate planning or time management; failure, loss or theft of a computer or other equipment, including inability to print off work for whatever reason; consequences of paid employment; exam stress or panic attacks not diagnosed as illness; and minor disruption in an examination room during the course of an assessment.

Claiming mitigation

9.  If ICA’s office confirms that your circumstances merit consideration by the Mitigating Circumstances Panel, you should complete the Mitigating Circumstances form. This should be emailed to ICA, observing the two-week deadline for the submission of mitigating circumstances, together with independent third-party supporting or corroborative documentation. The nature of such documentation will vary according to the nature of the circumstances, but it must be sufficiently independent to confirm the veracity of the case you are making (e.g. a letter or medical certificate signed by a medical practitioner, a document from an outside agency etc.).

10.   You must submit the form as soon as possible and always before the beginning of an examination period (except for circumstances arising during the course of that assessment period, in which case the application must be made in time for consideration before the relevant meeting of the Assessment Board). Late requests for mitigation will not be considered without a credible and compelling explanation as to why the application was not made at the appropriate time.

11.   Requests made after the publication of results will be treated as appeals under ICA regulation but again there should be a credible and compelling explanation as to why you did not bring the circumstances to the attention of ICA at an earlier stage.

12.  ICA’s Mitigating Circumstances Panel will need to agree that your circumstances were unforeseeable and unpreventable and that the effect on your academic performance would have been significant. If so, it will advise the Assessment Board how serious it judges the effect was, and the Board will then decide how to apply mitigation, on the evidence available on your performance (assignment marks and examination marks either for individual course units or for the assessment period as a whole, as appropriate). Mitigation will depend on how serious the adverse circumstances were and how far you are from any borderline on the basis of the existing mark, or profile of marks: the farther you are from a borderline, the more serious the adverse circumstances need to be to change the Board's overall decision.

13.  Completed Mitigating Circumstances forms should be emailed to ICA at

Assignment/coursework Penalties

Excessive word count

The word count allowance includes all footnotes, in-text references and appendices but excludes any bibliography, reference or contents page(s).



Penalty to be Applied (deduction)

1 - 10% over the specified word limit

10 marks

11% - 25% over the specified word limit

20 marks

26% - 50% over the specified word limit

30 marks

In excess of 50% over the specified word limit

The work will not be marked and a mark of zero will be recorded


Late submission

  • an assignment or piece of coursework received between 1 to 7 days after the due date will receive an initial penalty of 5 marks deducted from the mark awarded,
  • an assignment/coursework received between 8 to 15 days after the due date will receive additional penalties of 2 marks per day up to 15 days.
  • assignment/coursework received 15 or more days after the due date will not be accepted for marking.

Complaints regarding issues with training and learning should be sent to your approved training provider, details of which can be found on your Moodle platform, or i Tunes U account.

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