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Online Access to Higher Education Diplomas

How are Access courses assessed?


As you complete each Unit, you will be given Assessments to complete. These often take the form of a practical report, tutor-assessed questions or an essay. These are used by your tutor to assess your learning and recommend you for an Award of Credit for the Unit. You will receive the confirmation of recommended credit(s) for each Unit when the written work has met the predefined criteria which are found within the Assessments.

Once you have completed an Assessment, you upload the Assessment to your Learner Account. Some Assessments may need to be submitted by post. Your tutor will provide you with feedback on your work, by completing and uploading a Mark Sheet to your Learner Account.

Examinations and Tutor Observed Assessments

HEI's like to see that students from access courses have had experience of traditional examinations and assessments, which have been observed by your tutor. This will generally be completed through a virtual meeting. All these are free but you will need to make sure that you have access to a microphone and camera so that your tutor will be able to observe you completing your examination. Observed assessments will be individually negotiated between your self and your tutor, they are however compulsory.

At least two of the Units at Level 3 will be assessed through examination-type questions, though all the subjects will be assessed directly by your tutor throughout the course, and then be given a specific time limit within which you will have to complete the essays and upload it to your Learner Account to stay on course for your Target Completion and Moderation date.

You will take the examination observed by your tutor via virtual meeting (the time a date for these will be negotiated between yourself and your tutors). All our exams are 'closed book' where you will not be able to bring any materials into the examination with you. You will complete these examinations as you finish the associated unit. Your tutor will advise you on exactly how the examinations work during your tutorials when you you are studying your main level 3 modules. There are two policy documents associated with the tutor observed assessments:

  1. pdf file  DLC Student Contact Policy
  2. word file  Extenuating Circumstances Form

The Student Contact Policy explains how your contact with your tutor will work and also how the observed assessments will be completed. The Extenuating Circumstances form will need to be completed if for any reason you have arranged a date with you tutor for either a resubmission of your work or a tutor observed assessment and you are unable to complete this on the date and time arranged.


Because the Access Diplomas are part of the National Qualification Framework, they are moderated externally by the Awarding Body to ensure consistent quality nationwide. Moderation takes place twice a year so when you complete the course, you will have to wait until the next moderation before the request for certification can be sent to the Awarding Body. However, should you have concerns that your Diploma may not be certificated in time for entry onto your selected course in Higher Education, we can provide evidence for you to give to the admissions tutor.


Level 2 Units, Developmental and Introductory Level 3 Units are not Graded, they are simply awarded 'achieved' or 'not achieved'. The 45 graded Level 3 Credits are awarded grades of Pass, Merit, Distinction (or resubmission) according to a set of Grade Descriptors utilised nationally and set by the QAA.

It is expected that you will make every effort to meet the criteria for a Unit and you are required to complete and return a 'tick sheet' which helps you to check you have completed everything you need to. However, if you fail to meet the criteria for a Pass, you are encouraged to resubmit your work and it is not graded at that point.

Your tutor will give you guidance about any improvements that are necessary and when you resubmit your work it will be graded. If you still fail to achieve the criteria, you will have to complete another peice of work on a different topic within the Unit.