Assessment Criteria on the use of “Information Technology”

There have been instances of unsuccessful submissions due to not meeting the assessment criteria on the “Information Technology”, and the below content provide clarifications on the requirements and how the assessment criteria could be met!

  1. Program Learning Outcome:

In having the power to award the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting Degree, Oxford Brookes University is subject to strict scrutiny of the Quality Assurance Agency (“QAA”), the body responsible to the UK Government's Department for Education for assuring the quality of UK Higher Education in the public interest.

Accordingly the learning outcome of the degree has been designed to incorporate relevant skills and the “Digital and information literacy” is one of the key components to be met.

  1. Assessment Criteria:

The assessment criteria of “Information Technology” incorporate the following, in meeting the “Digital and information literacy” learning outcome:

  1. Evidence of having accessed online information sources AND

  2. Use of spreadsheet, which clearly demonstrates use of appropriate formulae, OR other relevant software in preparing the project report.

The above criteria have to be met regardless of the topic chosen for the Research and Analysis Project.

  1. How to meet the criteria?

Online Information source: This means that the research should evidence accessing relevant online sources in the information gathering process, which would be evidenced by the citation and referencing. Examiners would be assessing this by referring to the list of reference, uploaded as part of the submission process.

Use of Spreadsheet / relevant software: This has to be evidenced by uploading the spreadsheet or relevant output files (in the event of other software), which provides sufficient evidence to the marker to assess that the IT skills have been applied.

Should you be using a software other than spreadsheets, and unsure whether the relevant documents/files to be uploaded provide sufficient evidence of IT skills, suggest to write to OBU with relevant detail to obtain clarifications.

As for spreadsheet it has been clearly clarified in the Information pack that the evidence could include such as computations of financial ratios / performance indicators, preparation of graphs / tables / pie charts from a database that records questionnaire findings and most importantly the spreadsheet MUST demonstrate use of appropriate formulae.

Therefore, processing data in a spreadsheet by merely creating graphs / charts, with no evidence of the use of formulae would not meet the requirements.

Students who choose topics that have less involvement with numbers compared to topics 8 & 15, have a misunderstanding that spreadsheets are only meant for topic 8 & 15. This is not correct.

There are several ways to evidence the use of formulae for topics other than 8 & 15, such as by summing up the survey results, computing the average of a population, including aspects such how the corporate governance / CSR / Marketing strategy had an impact on the financials, etc. Therefore students are expected to plan the research questions and approach carefully, where it allows them to evidence the use of formulae in a spreadsheet, regardless of the topic chosen.

  1. Common Reason for failures:

Despite clarifications on the Information Pack, it’s unfortunate to note students failing in the assessment criteria for Information Technology and below are some common reasons for the failure, which should be avoided:

  • Not uploading a spreadsheet by accident /assuming that it’s not relevant to the topic

  • Attaching images of the spreadsheet in word / PDF document

  • Embedding the creation of the graphs / charts / tables with formulae in the word document rather that attaching the workings in a separate spreadsheet to facilitate review

  • Not uploading the spreadsheet and providing a link to a cloud storage where the files are saved

  • Spreadsheet only contains graphs / charts but not evidence of the use of formulae

The assessment criteria on Information Technology is less demanding compared to others and it’s unfortunate that some students yet fail on it due to accidental errors or misunderstanding the requirements.

Hope the above has provided sufficient clarification on the requirements and helps you pass the assessment Criteria on the use of “Information Technology”, by avoiding the common mistakes!

Shan (Bhavani Shanmugabalan) - Registered Mentor for the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting

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Summary of updates to the Information Pack

1. Revised topic titles

Topic 17: Select an organisation that has been identified as having weak corporate governance structures within the past 5 years. Critically evaluate their corporate governance practices including an assessment of the origins of the corporate governance issue(s) and the organisation’s response.

Topic 20: Select an organisation that has been identified as having weak social responsibility practices within the past 5 years. Critically evaluate their social responsibility practices, including an assessment of the origins of the problem(s) and the organisation’s response and the impact of this on the organisation’s key stakeholders.

2. Revised industry sectors for topics 8 and 15 and the ICB classification code:

2713 Aerospace

3577 Food Products

5753 Hotels

3. Revised rules on use of latest financial statements

When resubmitting, it is no longer necessary to use the latest financial statements provided you resubmit within any of the next 4 periods following your original submission and there is no changes to the topic or organisation.

4. More specific guidance on the presentation and slides and spreadsheet

Students are required to give a fifteen minute presentation containing 10-20 slides to their mentor and provide evidence of this presentation.

The slides should be designed to support the verbal presentation given by the student and should summarise the research report (including its conclusions and recommendations).

Students must submit a spreadsheet file (normally XLSX) containing appropriate formulae. A pdf or screenshot of a spreadsheet file is not acceptable.

5. Revision to submission fee

Submission fee has been revised as £300 for periods 35 and 36. (Subject to approval)

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What should you know before planning towards Period 35 (Nov 2017) Submission?

Glad to see students being proactive and preparing towards P35 submission. While starting early would help to produce high quality deliverables, it’s worth taking in to considerations, which would help you in the planning process:

  1. The Information Pack and Resubmission Guide applicable for P35 & 36 are expected to be published in late June  @ ACCA
  2. The new industry classification to choose the organisations for T8 & 15 are yet to be published
  3. T8 & 15 requires using the latest available financial statements for the analysis, where the “latest” is defined as the 90 days before the stat of the submission period of 1 Nov 2017, which would effectively mean to use the latest 3 financial statements published 3 Aug 2017.
  4. Potential modifications for T17 Corporate Governance and T20 CSR Topic titles, where details to be confirmed in the Information Pack by late June.
  5. Changes to the structure of SLS to decommission the existing 4 questions on the self-reflection. Details to be confirmed in the Information Pack.

What does it mean to you?

  1. Should you consider T8 / 15, need to await for the latest industry classification in order to decide on the organization to be chosen
  2. Though subject matter of T17 CG and T20 would be retained, it’s better to wait till the Information Pack is out to understand on the potential modifications to the topic title
  3. The above changes would not apply should you be doing a resubmission, with no changes to the organisation

What should I do while waiting for the latest Information Pack?

  1. You may still read through the existing Information Pack to understand the requirements of the Degree Program as most of the detail on it would still be applicable for P35.
  2. Refer to the examiners articles and the compilation of examiners comments to understand the expectations and requirements clearly, which would help much on the planning process



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