What is an ICM RA?
ICM Remote Assessments (RAs) are a quality-assured alternative method of assessment to paper-based examinations and are carried out in a remote location. ICM RAs form a summative measure of a Candidate’s knowledge and skills in line with the unit learning outcomes and may be used during times when face-to-face teaching and assessment cannot be safely delivered.
Candidates completing RA:
Further guidance for Learners can be found in our ICM Remote Assessment Learner Guide (September 2020) which is available to download here. For ease of reference, an overview of the entire RA procedure is located here.
Preparing Candidates for an ICM RA
Centres should prepare their Candidates for the RA with the same resources they would use for a paper-based examination. Candidates who are unprepared to sit a paper-based examination are equally unlikely to score well on the RA, even with the extended submission time. The RA is designed to measure the knowledge and skills the Candidate has gained from the entire unit. Candidates must continue to engage with their Centre for teaching and learning support, whether remote or face-to-face. Centres should ensure all Candidates have access to the Unit Descriptors for each unit in which they are entered. Unit Descriptors indicate the Learning Outcomes and Teaching Content on which their skills and knowledge will be assessed. Unit Descriptors for each ICM unit are found here.
Centre Staff must refer Candidates to the ICM Learner Guide to Remote Assessment (September 2020) for further support on preparing for RA, this document is found here.
Accessing ICM RA question papers
ICM RA question paper design
Samples of ICM RA question papers for both literacy-based and numeracy-based papers are available to download here. Centres must provide these examples to Candidates and teaching staff in advance of the RA release date. This will enable Candidates to become familiar with the format and the type of questions they are expected to answer.
Presenting a RA: Candidate typewritten responses
Typed responses (example found here) must be submitted to ICM in Microsoft Word .doc format, ensuring that Candidates’ typewritten responses have used the following styles:
Presenting a RA: Candidate handwritten responses
Handwritten RA responses (example found here)must:
Examples of how to record the Candidate Declaration within the RA response is illustrated for typed RA responses and for handwritten RA responses can be found found here. All of your candidates must include the declaration which confirms the work that the Candidate is submitting is entirely their own. It is essential that Centre staff ensure submissions by Candidates include a Candidate Declaration for the purpose of malpractice and maladministration investigations. Malpractice and maladministration investigations reflect poorly upon your ICM Approved Centre status and can have a negative impact in public confidence in your Centre, therefore, please support your Candidates in producing their own original work. Candidates with evidence of malpractice in their RA submission will not only fail that unit, but will be awarded an Ungraded (U grade) across all units undertaken in the series. Typewritten and handwritten responses must include the following Candidate Declaration at the end of the Candidate’s work:
“I declare that this work is entirely my own with the sources of information I have used clearly identified and acknowledged.”
The word limit for non-numerical papers is 3,000 words in total and is indicated on the RA question paper under each question. Each of the four questions has a word limit of 750 words per question. The word limit is aimed at supporting Candidates in producing high-quality, focused responses. Candidate responses must not be 10% above or 10% below the question word limit. In the interest of fairness to all Candidates, Examiners will not assess responses that exceed the maximum word limit. Therefore, Centre staff must advise Candidates to pay particular attention to both the minimum and maximum word limit for each question, to ensure they provide a response that is sufficiently detailed and allows the examiner to fully assess their knowledge and skills. Resource/Reference lists or citations are not included in the word count for each question. For numerical papers all responses must be handwritten and all workings out must be included as these are mark worthy. As with calculations all graphs and diagrams must be drawn by hand.
Submission of Candidate RA responses to ICM Approved Centres
Candidates are required to submit their RA responses to their ICM Approved Centre up to 10 Business days after the RA release date, unless a Candidate has made a reasonable adjustment arrangement. However, if extenuating circumstances arise that make this not possible, for example, where an ICM Approved Centre is closed, Candidates are permitted to submit their RA directly to ICM ensuring that their ICM Approved Centre is aware of their submission. The submission deadline for Candidates to send their RA to Centres for primary validation is Monday 5th October 2020. Please pay particular attention to the instructions in blue below.
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Guidance on Primary Validation by ICM Approved Centres
ICM is committed to preventing and identifying all forms of malpractice, including impersonation. Impersonation is a form of malpractice whereby a person other than the entered Candidate completes the RA on the Candidate’s behalf. As an ICM Approved Teaching Centre, your staff are required to conduct Primary Validation on your Candidate’s RAs prior to the submission of their work to ICM for marking. The aim of the Primary Validation is to ensure that the work submitted by Candidates is their original work, and that the standard the Candidates presented is consistent across their studies with your Approved Centre. You are permitted to use whatever methods you deem appropriate, but your record keeping must be valid  as your Business Development and Delivery Coordinator may review this evidence, as part of your unannounced Centre audit.
The Primary Validation method you use must consider the following questions:
 If you have any concerns about conducting this thoroughly please contact your ICM Business Development and Delivery Coordinator or the ICM Business Development and Delivery Manager for guidance.
Submitting and evidencing Primary Validation by Approved Teaching Centres to ICM
How to submit typed Microsoft Word .doc RA responses to ICM
For typed Microsoft Word .doc RA responses the Approved Centre must submit the response:
How to submit scanned RA responses to ICM
ICM will accept scanned copies of RA responses from Candidates who have handwritten or printed their RA. Candidates and Centres must check that each scanned RA response adheres to the checklist and avoids actions that make the responses unreadable. The following are examples but this list is not exhaustive.
A correct version of a Candidates scanned handwritten response:
A correct version of a Candidates typed response (please note ICM’s preferred method is to send these as a word .doc file):
Unreadable responses (image has a glare, is blurred, not visible or too small):
Where scans do not meet ICM requirements, Centres are advised to send the RA responses to ICM by post.
How to submit postal RA responses
Centres that are sending RA responses to ICM by post must ensure the completed Remote Assessment Entry Summary Sheets are enclosed and sent to the following address using a courier service:
Institute of Commercial Management
Secondary Validation by ICM Approved Centres
After Candidates’ RAs have been marked by ICM Examiners and prior to Candidates’ certification, ICM require Centres to conduct Secondary Validation. Teaching Staff at the ICM Approved Centre must engage in this opportunity to consider the Candidates’ Remote Assessment results. A Candidate Grade List is issued by ICM and it is the role of the Centre Staff to ensure that these grades align with the Centre’s expectation for Candidates’ performance. In the event that there isn’t an alignment, Centres must contact their ICM Examinations Officer with the reasons as to why they feel the candidate grade is not reflective of their abilities as evidenced by the Centre as part of their ongoing formative assessments. The Candidates’ Remote Assessment Results (Candidate Grade Lists) are sent to Centres electronically on Wednesday 6th January 2021.
Your Examinations Officer at ICM must be notified in writing by Wednesday 13th January 2021 if there are any anomalies with the grades presented. Where anomalies are identified, ICM will require supporting evidence, such as previous mock exams results, for the Candidate’s grade to be reviewed. Whilst Centres are permitted to use whatever legitimate methods for the Secondary Validation process they choose, the Centre’s record keeping must be consistent and justified as your Business Development and Delivery Coordinator may review this evidence as part of your unannounced Centre audit.
Ensuring Academic integrity
ICM checks all Candidate RAs using plagiarism detection software. This software checks RA responses for similarity with other Candidate responses and against a comprehensive database of learner work, websites, books, and articles. Candidates are strongly advised to review their own work to avoid breaches of academic integrity. ICM does not set quantitative similarity thresholds for malpractice, as each Candidate’s work is individually reviewed for originality.
Malpractice is when a Candidate aims to mislead or deceive Examiners in any academic work. Malpractice is any activity or practice, which deliberately contravenes regulations and compromises the integrity of the assessment process. It covers any deliberate actions, neglect, default or other practice that has compromised or could compromise the assessment process; integrity of an ICM qualification; the validity of a result; reputation or credibility of ICM.
Examples of malpractice:
Advice on how Candidates can avoid Malpractice in their RA
Candidates who knowingly or negligently allow their work to be used by other candidates, or who otherwise help others in academic malpractice are violating the academic integrity of their Centres. Such Candidates are as guilty of intellectual malpractice as the Candidate who receives the material, even though they may not themselves benefit academically from that malpractice. Plagiarism can, in some cases, be a subtle issue as a result of a lack of confidence in academic writing; the following drop down can help Candidates avoid plagiarism in their RA.
Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another person or source as one's own in any academic exercise. The following are examples of how Candidates may plagiarise in their RAs, intentionally or accidentally.
Examples of Plagiarism
Advice on how Candidates can avoid Plagiarism in their RA
To avoid plagiarism, Candidates write their responses in their own words but also acknowledge the source of their ideas. Ensure Candidates are aware that they must acknowledge all material and sources used in the preparation of their responses (books, articles, reports, lecture notes, and any other kind of document, electronic or personal communication) in a list at the end of each response.
How Candidates list their resources in their RA
Whichever resources Candidates use for their RA must be reliable, peer reviewed material. Candidates should acknowledge all material and sources used in the preparation of their responses (books, articles, reports, lecture notes, and any other kind of document, electronic or personal communication). Candidates will not lose marks for not including a formal referencing system in their RA, but they will need to cite/list the resources they have used. If Candidates choose to use a formal referencing system, ICM prefers that they use Harvard style referencing.
Acknowledging someone else’s academic work is called ‘citing a reference’, or just ‘referencing’. There are two parts to Harvard style referencing:
Including another author’s exact words in quotation marks with a reference to the source. When Candidates quote a person’s precise words from their source, they must put their words in speech marks and list the author’s name, date of the source and page number where they found the information in the source. Candidates should then add this source to the list of references at the end of their RA response (point 2 above).
Re-writing another author’s argument in one’s own words. Candidates must make this clear by stating the author’s name and the date (in brackets) of the source they are paraphrasing. Candidates should then add this source to the list of references at the end of their Remote Assessment (point 2 above).
A formal referencing system such as Harvard is advised for units at levels 4, 5 and 6 but is not an essential requirement to gain all the marks available under communication and originality. A reference list is not included in the word count and is not an essential requirement to gain all available communication and originality marks.
Below are examples of how to reference different source material:
Jobber, D. and Lancaster, G., 2006. Selling and sales management. Pearson Education.
Ferrell, O.C., Johnston, M.W. and Ferrell, L., 2007. A framework for personal selling and sales management ethical decision making. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 27(4), pp.291-299.
Prachi M., Sales Management, viewed 20 June 2019. https://theinvestorsbook.com/salesmanagement.
RA Grade Boundaries
ICM and Approved Centres have a duty to ensure the rights of individual Candidates to have access to RAs, in a way which is most appropriate for their individual needs. ICM will facilitate access to RAs for Candidates who are eligible for adjustments. Candidates diagnosed with a learning difficulty or disability may be granted Reasonable Adjustments in their RAs in accordance with ICM’s Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure. If Candidates feel they will be negatively impacted by the method of assessment, ICM would encourage Candidates or Approved Centre Staff to apply for Reasonable Adjustments on behalf of the Candidate, so that the Candidate can adequately demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding. The ICM Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure can be downloaded here.
In the event that an ICM Candidate has experienced an event out of their control that has affected their ability to complete an RA, ICM will consider their application for Special Consideration. Please note that Special Consideration is not appropriate for all illnesses (Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure). Special Consideration is a post-assessment arrangement that could influence the grading of a Candidate who has been disadvantaged at the time of their RA. ICM can give Special Consideration to Candidates whose ability to take an RA or demonstrate their attainment has been negatively impacted through a temporary injury, illness or other indisposition. Candidates must apply for Special Consideration through their Approved Centre (Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure). The ICM Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure can be downloaded here.
If a Centre or Candidate disagrees with the final grade decision made by ICM in respect of this policy then there is a right of appeal. Appeals must be submitted in line with ICM’s Appeals Policy and Procedure. The Head of Risk and Implementation will seek to resolve the appeal within 20-30 business days. The ICM Appeals Policy and Procedure can be downloaded here.