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Programme Specific Information

Pre-sessional Programme

Programme Aims

 The principal aims of the programme are to:

  • Raise students’ understanding of and ability to use academic English appropriately and effectively in an academic environment.
  • Help students learn to adopt particular approaches to their studies and learn strategies and skills that will enable them to succeed in the UK Higher Education system.
  • Assist students in being able to independently produce a persuasive line of argument in their academic work.
  • Help students develop a reflective approach to their own learning.
  • Help students to meet the minimum language requirements set for entry into degree programmes.

To achieve these aims the programme will:

  • Provide practice in seminar skills and academic discussion so as to help students express opinions and arguments clearly and concisely.
  • Improve students’ expertise in writing and extended writing.
  • Improve students’ ability to read efficiently and effectively.
  • Develop students’ ability to carry out independent research.
  • Improve students’ ability to critically assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others, and use them in a purposeful manner.
  • Provide opportunities for listening to lectures, and for practising note-taking.
  • Develop students’ grammatical competence.
  • Expand vocabulary and social language skills.
  • Develop computer literacy skills to enable students to word process written assignments and to utilise online learning provision.

 

Learning outcomes

 At the end of the programme you should have:

  • Enhanced your English language skills to the point where you can read, write and speak English at a sufficiently high level to cope with undergraduate or graduate study at a UK university.
  • Developed your listening and speaking skills to better understand lectures and participate in tutorials and seminars.
  • Developed critical thinking skills and the ability to produce a persuasive line of argument in your academic work.
  • Developed an ability to retrieve information from a variety of sources and carry out independent research.
  • Developed effective time management skills.

 

Programme Structure & Content

 Mode

The Pre-sessional course is delivered in a flexible online format. Students will engage with asynchronous (recorded) lessons and participate in synchronous (live) online seminars, webinars and lectures. Students are expected to dedicate time to self-study and independent research tasks as well.

Content

Both synchronous and asynchronous lessons focus on developing students’ academic skills and language so that students will be able to cope with the demands of their undergraduate and postgraduate courses.  Students will receive instruction in the structuring of academic essays including guidance on referencing, conducting research, and using source material.  In addition, lessons will help raise students’ understanding of key terms such as ‘critical thinking’ and ‘critical analysis’, and develop students’ ability to produce persuasive, valid arguments and express an individual voice.

In terms of speaking and listening skills, the focus is on developing students’ skills so that students are better able to participate in tutorials and seminars, to understand lectures, and to function on a day-to-day basis in an English-speaking environment. Students will develop their ability to orally express ideas clearly and concisely, and to present and defend a position as well as listen and respond to other people’s ideas.  The course will also focus on developing students’ presentation skills.   

Independent Learning

During your university course, student will have to work most of the time on their own, so we want to encourage students to be confident and independent.  All students will have access to KEATS, which provides links to a range of online resources that will help students develop as independent learners.

 

Assessment

During the pre-sessional programme, students will be developing a range of skills related to academic studies and language. Progress in those will be recorded in the form of an Academic Skills Portfolio. Students’ final grade is determined by the results of the seven assessed pieces of the Portfolio.

The seven portfolio pieces are related to three components: Use of Sources, Research Essay and Seminar.

The Use of Sources task consists of (i) a practice task and (ii) a reflection

The Research Essay task consists of (i) an essay plan, (ii) a first draft and (iii) a final essay

The Seminar task consists of (i) reflection on a practice seminar and (ii) a final seminar

Each portfolio piece assesses a number of skills:

  • Use of Sources task assesses reading, listening, and writing skills.
  • The Research Essay assesses reading and writing skills.
  • The Seminar assesses speaking and listening skills

Summary of Assessment Weightings

Assessment

(% of overall score)

Speaking (25%)

Reading (25%)

Listening (25%)

Writing (25%)

Use of Sources (20%)

 

Written Sources score (30%)

 

Spoken Sources score (30%)

Writing score (30%)*

Research Essay (45%)

 

Written Sources score (70%)

 

Writing score (70%)*

Seminar (35%)

Speaking score (100%)**

 

Engagement & Comprehension score (70%) 

 

 

 

* The Writing score is derived from the criteria according to the following weightings:

                                             Writing score

Task Fulfilment & Critical Analysis (30%)

Coherence & Cohesion (30%)

Academic Style, Use of Lexical& Grammatical Features (30%)

Academic Conventions

(10%)

 

** The Speaking score is derived from the criteria according to the following weightings:

                                             Speaking score

Expression & Development of Ideas / Critical Analysis (25%)

Fluency & Pronunciation (25%)

Language Use (Range and Accuracy) (25%)

Presentation Delivery (25%)

 

Use of Sources Task (UoS)

 

Students will receive a UoS Pack containing a series of reading texts, which they should study in detail. As part of the task itself, students will listen and take notes to a lecture on the same topic area as the reading texts. Students will then use the listening and reading notes to write an answer to a UoS question on the topic. Students will have 24 hours to submit their answer.

 

Research Essay

 

Students will write a 1200-word (+/- 5%) essay based on a series of reading texts, which will be provided. Students will also be expected to supplement these texts with sources they find themselves.

 

Seminar

 

Students will take part in a seminar based upon the subject of your research essay.  As part of this seminar, students will need to give a short presentation, listen to the presentations of the others in their seminar group, and engage in a subsequent discussion with their peers. 

Blank space Grading

To progress successfully onto their chosen degree, students will be required to achieve a grade of between Band 6 and Band 7, depending on which department they have applied for. Please see College entry criteria guidelines for more specific information.

Each piece of portfolio work will be given a score as above, leading to an overall score which then determines the Band the student is awarded. For example:

OVERALL SCORE (%)

BAND

67.5 – 72.4

7

62.5 – 67.4

6.5

57.5 – 62.4

6.0

 

 

Course Engagement

All students, including those with unconditional or integrated via offers, must demonstrate engagement with the course: engagement with asynchronous content, including end of week quizzes and homework, and participation in synchronous sessions, including homework as required.

Detailed information can be found in the Attendance and Engagment Policy here.

 

Notification of Results

The exact date that results will be released is to be confirmed. All results will be passed directly to King’s departments, so students do not need to inform their KCL department of their results.

If students owe money to the library, tuition fees or accommodation fees, their results may be withheld until the debt is cleared. Students are advised therefore to ensure all debts are cleared prior to the release of results. 

Students going on to study at King’s should make sure they know the exit grade that they have been asked to obtain in their conditional offer. 

It is very important that students who are going on to study elsewhere, are clear about the language requirements and other conditions of offer from their future institution.  They should contact the institution as soon as possible after arriving in the UK. Most Colleges and Institutes will expect students to take an English test - probably IELTS or TOEFL - as part of their entry qualification.

 

Transcripts

We aim to provide all Pre-sessional students with an electronic copy of their transcript shortly after results are released. Hard copies of transcripts will not be provided.

 

Academic Appeals

Examination scripts and summatively assessed essays are marked and subject to further scrutiny by internal and external examiners in accordance with the College Marking Framework. The external examiners and the Departmental Programme Board make a final recommendation on the mark obtained. Exam scripts will not be returned as they are deemed ‘College property’ once they have been submitted.

 The College Board of Examiners is ultimately responsible for all examinations for the programme. The work of examining is carried out by the Departmental Programme Board, which consists of academic staff and external examiners. If students have a query regarding their marks for a module or the overall programme then they should speak to their programme Co-ordinator. However, please note that a decision of a Board of Examiners cannot be challenged on academic grounds, that is to say because a students’ view of their performance in any examination or assessment differs from that of the Board.

The criteria which must be satisfied before a Board of Examiners will agree to reconsider or review a decision which it has made are very precise. If a student’s representations do not meet the criteria equally precisely, a Board cannot reconsider or review the decision in question. Even where the criteria for a review are met, a review by a Board of Examiners does not necessarily mean that the Board will change its original decision.

If a student believes that they have a sufficiently strong case, and wishes to request a review of a decision of a Board of Examiners, guidelines and a form are provided for this purpose (Representations concerning decisions of Boards of Examiners - EDR2 Form ) and can be downloaded from the College website at https://www.kcl.ac.uk/governancezone/Students/Appeals-Stage-One-Appeal.aspx

The EDR2 form also gives details of the grounds on which students are entitled to request a review of a decision of a Board. Students are also advised to consult Regulation A2 14.2 of the General Regulations for Examinations. Completed EDR2 forms must be submitted to the Deputy Registrar’s office, together with all relevant mitigation and supporting documentation, within 14 days of the publication of the results of the Board, where it is logged and forwarded to the Chair of the appropriate Board. We would advise students to talk to the Students’ Union to get advice on this procedure if anything is unclear.

Please note that only students who have successfully completed the Pre-sessional in time for the latest date of enrolment for King’s 2020-21 September start (October 12th 2020) will be able to progress to their King’s degree programme in the 2020-21 academic year.

Students are therefore strongly advised to submit the necessary mitigation and supporting documentation as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the processing of the appeal and the implementation of any required alternative or replacement assessments before this deadline. 

Please note, however, that due to the short turnaround time between the end of the Pre-sessional course and the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, King’s cannot guarantee that appeals will be processed in time for students to start their degree in the 2020-21 academic year.

 

Coursework Submission

Students will find specific instructions for submission on the relevant KEATS page of the module for which they are submitting work.

All coursework must be submitted on time. College regulations state that work submitted late but within 24 hours of the stated deadline will be capped at the pass mark.  Work submitted more than 24 hours late will score zero.  

King's Foundations adheres to the College regulations for late submissions, but—for Level 3 students only—makes an exception when a student has:

i) submitted a summative assignment late for the first time.

ii) submitted said assignment within 1 hour of the submission deadline.

 In these cases a factor of 0.8 shall be applied to the grade agreed for the assessed piece of work unless such a penalty would result in a lower grade than would be received under standard College regulations.

 

It is important that students do not leave their submission to the last minute, so that they have plenty of time to ensure their submission is successful and correct, and in case they experience any difficulties in uploading the submission.

 

Students MUST submit work BEFORE the deadline, and we recommend leaving plenty of time to do so. KEATS automatically highlights late submissions in red to both students and staff.

 

Work submitted ON the deadline will be marked as late (e.g. if the deadline is 5.00 pm, the work must have completed its submission at 4.59.59 at the latest). Students need to submit BEFORE the deadline. Please see below for information on the penalties applied to late submissions.

 

Students should contact the Professional Services Team via kings-foundations@kcl.ac.uk immediately if they have any problems submitting a piece of work.

 

Word Count Policy

Essays/Projects should not exceed the maximum word-length stipulated in the module outline.

 

Under/Over-length assessed work regulations:

Up to 5% over-length:

No penalty is incurred for assignments which are up to 5% over the upper word limit.

More than 5% over-length:

2 marks will be deducted for every 5% over the upper word limit, up to a total of 50% over the upper word limit (which equates to 20 marks)

After 50% over the upper word limit, 3 marks will be deducted for every 5%

Under-length:

There is no minimum number of words required in an assignment. However, assignments significantly below the suggested word count are unlikely to meet Pass criteria.

 

The word count includes text, citations, quotations, and subheadings, as well as footnotes, but does not include the title, appendices, bibliography/reference list, diagrams, charts and tables.

 

Formatting

  • Each page should be used and pages must be numbered. Students should choose a legible 12-point font and use 1.5 or double line-spacing so that space is available for examiners’ comments
  • Please note that presentation will be taken into account when marking a piece of work.
  • Errors in spelling or grammar will be penalised.
  • Students must submit summative written work with their student number and NOT their name.
  • All work must be submitted as a Word document, NOT PDF.

 

Online Submission

Students will be required to submit all coursework online. Please note the following for online submission:

a) Students are responsible for ensuring that the correct work is submitted. The file(s) electronically submitted at the time of the deadline will be taken as the final and complete submitted work, and no amendments or additions will be permitted after the submission deadline.

b) Students are responsible for ensuring that submitted electronic files are submitted in one of the specified acceptable file formats, and not corrupted. Students should check files on the system after submission to ensure they are valid and correct.

c) Students must ensure that any instructions for submission are followed. Failure to correctly follow instructions may result in work not being marked.

d) Technical failure, including of a computer, browser or internet connection, is not a valid reason for late submission of work. 

e) When an assignment is submitted successfully through Turnitin, a receipt will automatically be sent via email to confirm the submission. Please save all receipts because they can be used to confirm successful submission in the unlikely event of a technical failure. If Turnitin reports an error while submitting, please note the error and inform the Professional Services Team via kings-foundations@kcl.ac.uk immediately.

f) Students must submit a coversheet as the first page alongside any summative written assessment submitted via Turnitin. 

 

Mitigating Circumstances

It is a College requirement that all students take or submit their assessments at times prescribed by the College. However, it is acknowledged that exceptionally, through illness or other good cause a student may be unable to meet these requirements.

In such instances, College regulations allow students to submit details of their mitigating circumstances to their home department to be considered by boards of examiners. The boards will use the information submitted to determine whether the mitigating circumstances provided by the student are an acceptable reason for missing an assessment.

The following are guidance on the process:

 Please note that only students who have successfully completed the Pre-sessional in time for the latest date of enrolment for King’s 2020-21 September start (October 12th 2020) will be able to progress to their King’s degree programme in the 2020-21 academic year. Students are therefore strongly advised to submit the MCF and necessary supporting evidence as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the processing of the MCF and the implementation of any required alternative or replacement assessments before this deadline. 

Please note, however, that due to the short turnaround time between the end of the Pre-sessional course and the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, King’s cannot guarantee that MCFs will be processed in time for students to start their degree in the 2020-21 academic year.     

For a full list of FAQs regarding mitigating circumstances please click here.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for (MCFs) can be found here.

 

Examinations

Students with disabilities or learning difficulties

Students with disabilities or learning difficulties can apply for Personalised Assessment Arrangements, granted they can provide proven medical evidence to explain their condition and support their application. All students who consider themselves disabled and cannot sit their examinations in regular exam conditions should review the weblink above and speak to their Personal Tutor or should ask their Student Engagement Officer for further guidance and relevant support.

Please note that it is the students' responsibility to notify the College of any circumstances that can prevent them from adhering to the King's assessment rules and regulations. 

Marking Process

All examinations scripts and summatively assessed essays are marked and subject to further adjudication under the terms of the College Marking Framework. The external examiner and Departmental Programme Board make a final recommendation on the mark obtained. These marks are sent for ratification by the College.  In line with College regulations, students will not be told who the internal and external markers are.

Non-Submission of Work:

All students must (except for those who have mitigating circumstances) submit all pieces of coursework (both formative and summative). Failure to submit coursework has serious consequences in terms of a student’s ability to pass the course and demonstrate their readiness for undergraduate and postgraduate study. This is a serious matter and any students who fail to submit pieces of work will be asked by the Programme Co-ordinator to explain their lack of submission.

Please note that re-sits are not routinely held for students scoring below the pass band (Band 5 overall), as the overall score following a re-sit would be capped at Band 5, the pass score, which is not normally sufficient for a student to progress onto their degree programme.

 

Plagiarism & Referencing

What is plagiarism? The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as "the action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft".

The College treats plagiarism as a serious academic offence. This section offers guidance and advice on avoiding plagiarism when submitting assessments and being examined.

Avoiding plagiarism when submitting assignments

In order to avoid plagiarism, students should be careful when preparing their work that all source material is correctly referenced. Students can include quotes and ideas from others, as long as they are correctly attributed to the original source by referencing. Direct quotation should be indicated by the use of quotation marks; if not, even with an accompanying reference, it may constitute passing off someone else’s work as their own. 

Incorrect or missing references can be construed as plagiarism, even if unintentional. Credit can only be given once for a particular piece of assessed work. Submitting the same piece of work (or a significant part thereof) twice for assessment will be regarded as cheating. This practice is known as 'self plagiarism'.

Unacknowledged collaboration or use of material prepared by several persons working together may result in a charge of plagiarism or in a charge of collusion.

Allegations of plagiarism & penalties

All allegations of plagiarism will be investigated and may result in action being taken under the College’s Misconduct Regulations (link to Policy Zone website). A substantiated charge of plagiarism will result in a penalty being imposed: this may range from a mark of zero for the assessed work to expulsion from the College.

Plagiarism detection (Turnitin)

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection and avoidance tool. When used in the correct way it can help students avoid plagiarism. It also assists tutors in identifying work that has been plagiarised.

Turnitin creates a plagiarism report when work is submitted, giving students and markers an overall percentage (the student’s Originality Score), and also a detailed report showing where it has identified matches between the submission and a variety of sources.

It is important to remember:

  • Students’ originality score will never be 0% and they should not aim for this. There will always be coincidental matches between students’ work and other submissions, and also 'false' readings on quotations, footnotes etc. Scores approaching 20% are common, but higher scores should indicate a need to check through the student’s work. The scores students receive may depend partly on the settings used by the department for the assignment.
  • There is not a set percentage above which students’ work is considered 'plagiarised'. Turnitin is an additional tool used by tutors to help them identify cases of plagiarism, and will always be used in conjunction with their own knowledge and experience.
  • Students should use the material provided by the College to follow good academic practice.

For further information please see the following pages on the Policy Zone website: Misconduct Regulations and the College's Guidelines on Academic Honesty & Integrity.

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