Annex D: Rationale for Final Honour Schools without a second year examination

  • The two-year Final Honour School allows time for a coherent programme of study that can more effectively promote students’ sustained academic development.

  • The separation of teaching and examining gives more freedom to tutors to explore the subject with students.

  • Students are obliged to carry forward skills and link together different strands of the subject; they are discouraged from ‘modularising’ their knowledge, skills and thought.

  • Revision for finals becomes an important integrative part of the learning experience.

  • Working for a single set of finals requires students to develop their ability to plan ahead, to manage time, and to prioritise their activities.

  • One set of examinations after a two-year course may subject students to less pressure overall than annual examinations.

  • The early parts of some FHS courses focus on helping students to acquire fundamental skills, and these may well merit early formative assessment; but summative assessment is best delayed to the end of a course by which time students will have gained an appropriate body of knowledge and understanding to demonstrate the use of their skills to best advantage.  

  • The assessment for the degree takes place only when the students are in a position to demonstrate their ability at the most mature stage of their understanding of the subject.