ICM Centre Guide to Remote Assignments

HomeRemote Assignments

What is an ICM RA?

ICM Remote Assignments (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:

  • Will not be advantaged or disadvantaged by completing an RA over an invigilated examination.  The ICM RA considers the candidate’s application of knowledge and incorporates statistical measures by working with ICM Approved Centres to validate Candidate results
  • Are engaging in an assessment that has been designed to test the same knowledge and skills as a paper-based examination
  • Do so independently and in the safety of their own home (or a suitable private space), rather than by attending a shared Examination Venue
  • Are permitted to access textbooks, notes and other resources, including the internet whilst completing their RA
  • Have 10 business days to complete their RA responses

Further guidance for Learners can be found in our ICM Remote Assignments Learner Guide 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 Assignments for further support on preparing for RA, this document is found here.

Accessing ICM RA question papers

  • The RA question papers are available to download here from the ICM website, Contact ICM by email/telephone if you are having difficulties in downloading the question papers.
  • The RA question papers are in .pdf format.  Candidates and Centres who do not have Adobe on their electronic device can download the free version here.
  • Each RA question paper is labelled with the unit heading, e.g. Public Relations, Business Law, Accounting, etc.  You must click on the .pdf file to obtain the RA question paper.
  • There are no restrictions on how many times the question papers can be downloaded.
  • To ensure all Candidates can access the materials there is no login or credentials required to access the question papers.
  • Electronic copies of the RA question papers are made available to Approved Centres by ICM prior to the release date to Candidates. Please contact ICM by email or telephone if you have not received your materials by this date.

ICM RA question paper design

Samples of ICM RA question papers for both literacy-based and numeracy-based papers are available to download here. Remote Assignment Past Papers are also available on the ICM website. 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:

  • Arial font
  • Font size 12
  • Single-spaced with normal margins
  • Page numbers are included on each page of your work, i.e. Page 2 of 4
  • The question number for all responses is clearly indicated, i.e. Question 1
  • The total word count is recorded after each response
  • Their resource/reference list is included
  • Their Candidate Declaration is recorded at the end of their work and their ICM Approved Centre is sent the RA submission

Presenting a RA: Candidate handwritten responses

Handwritten RA responses (example found here) must:

  • Be written in legible handwriting using black or blue ink
  • Be written on lined A4 paper
  • Have page numbers on each page of your work, i.e. Page 2 of 4
  • Have question number clearly indicated for all responses, i.e. Question 1
  • Have the total word count is recorded after each response
  • Include their resource/reference list is included
  • Include their Candidate Declaration, written at the end of their work and the RA must be seen by their ICM Approved Centre

Candidates Declaration

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.”

Word Limit

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 question has a word limit of 750 words per question, Candidates can gain marks for Communication and Originality for submitting responses which are within the allocated word count. The word limit is aimed at supporting Candidates in producing high-quality, focused responses. Candidate’s responses must not be 10% above or 10% below the question word limit (excluding references and citations). In the interest of fairness to all Candidates, Examiners will not assess that part of the response which exceeds the maximum word limit. Therefore, Centre staff should recommend that Candidates 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 allworkings out must be included as these are mark worthy. As with calculations, all graphs and diagrams must be drawn by hand. Numerical RAs may or may not include word limits, depending on the demand of the question.

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 via the ICM Submission Portal ensuring that their ICM Approved Centre is aware of their submission. Candidates must send their RA to Centres for primary validation.  Please pay particular attention to the instructions in blue below.

Click on the image to open in a new tab.

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 [1] as your Business Development and Delivery Coordinator may review this evidence, as part of your unannounced Centre audit.

Primary Validation must consider the following questions:
1.      If the response is handwritten, is it in the same handwriting as the Candidate’s previous work?  

The purpose of considering this question is for Centre staff to be able to determine if the RA submitted is similar to the Learner’s formative work. ICM do not expect Centres to employ external staff in considering this question. 

2.      Is the style and tone of writing used in the RA response the same style and tone used in the Candidate’s previous work?  

The purpose of considering this question is for Centre staff to be able to determine if the RA submitted is similar to the Learner’s formative work. ICM do not expect Centres to employ external staff in considering this question.
 

3.      Is the vocabulary used similar to that used in previous formative assessment? Are there any sudden changes to use and direction of vocabulary?  

The purpose of considering this question is for Centre staff to consider the possibility that the RA submitted is the true work of the registered Learner. 

4.      Is the punctuation and grammar similar to that used in previous formative assessments?  The purpose of considering this question is for Centre staff to consider the possibility that the RA submitted is the true work of the registered Learner and has not been produced by a ghost writer or an impersonator. 

5.      Does the response shift in tense frequently? 

The purpose of considering this question is for Centre staff to consider the possibility that the RA submitted is the true work of the registered Learner and is not plagiarised from the internet or other sources.  

ICM have considered the Centres feedback on their experience of Primary Validation(November 2020) and have noted the following.

ICM consider the following Positive indicators of Centre Primary Validation        
Centre comment: “Our concerned teaching staffs gone through Candidate's RA work carefully and tried their best to track any sudden changes of answering pattern, grammatical uses and student's capabilities to construct that particular answer compare to their previous work at our Centre.”
ICM comment: This is evidence of good practice as the style and tone of writing used in the RA response should be the same style and tone used in the Candidate’s previous work.        

Centre comment: “Since our students’ responses were handwritten, the examination officers checked the handwriting of each submission to ensure originality. We also compared with students' previous assignments and were able to ensure that the students' submissions were free of impersonation or other malpractice.”
ICM comment: This is evidence of good practice as the style and tone of writing used in the RA response should be the same style and tone used in the Candidate’s previous work. 

Centre comment: “By checking Learner’s previous mock assessment and class assignment to understand the tone and how Learners answer questions. The use of words, sentences construction, punctuation are also put into consideration” ICM comment: This is excellent practice as checks have been made to ensure the style and tone of writing used in the RA response are the same style and tone used in the Candidate’s previous work. Checks have been made by the Centre to ensure that the vocabulary used by a Candidate is similar to previous formative assessments. ·        

Centre comment: “After receiving assignments from students, we fill the remote assessment Candidate entry sheet as mentioned in the ICM Centre Guide to Remote Assignments”
ICM comment: Centres need to retain evidence and records of primary validation process as well as completing the remote assessment candidate entry sheet. 

Centre comment: “We received copies of submitted Students' Remote Assessments that were submitted to ICM. We filled and submitted the Primary Validation Form to ICM and received an acknowledgement from ICM.”
ICM comment: Centres need to retain evidence and records of primary validation process as well as completing the remote assessment candidate entry sheet. 

ICM consider the following Negative indicators of Centre Primary Validation
·        
Centre comment: “By going through students' work and making needed corrections”.
ICM comment: This is evidence of poor practice as whether the style and tone of writing used in the RA response is the same style and tone used in the Candidate’s previous work has not been checked, and therefore Centre cannot confirm that the registered Learner has produced the RA. Centre staff should not be correcting Candidates’ work: this is the duty and responsibility of the Candidate only to submit their own original work.  This practice could threaten the Approved Centre Trusted Status as it constitutes Centre Maladministration.

Centre comment: “We solicited the services of an external tutor who acted as head of the team for each department. This meant we constituted a three-person team: one person from outside, the tutor of the course and another from a different department. They now had to submit to the manger to save it correctly and put in various folders for submission”
ICM comment: This is evidence of poor practice, as it is unnecessary to pay external staff to validate Candidates’ work.  The tutor of the course at the Centres who is aware of the work the Candidates are likely to submit is required as they are the most suitable person to determine the likelihood of the RA being produced by the Candidate. ICM do not expect the primary validation processes to incur additional cost to Centre. 

Centre comment: “Receiving all the Candidates’ scripts and checking if they had followed the instruction given by the ICM RA, scanning the handwritten response from the students” ICM comment: This is an administrative process rather than a Primary Validation process. 

Centre comment: “Each assessor was remunerated”
ICM comment: This is evidence of poor practice, as it is unnecessary to pay external staff to validate Candidates’ work.  The tutor of the course at the Centres who is aware of the work the Candidates are likely to submit is required as they are the most suitable person to determine the likelihood of the RA being produced by the Candidate. ICM do not expect the Primary Validation processes to incur additional cost to Centre.      

“Students copied in the school email, hence it was acknowledged and then were marked as received, although some were advised to correct some errors with respect the format expected. Once confirmed it was validated and acknowledged” ICM comment: This is evidence of poor practice as the style and tone of writing used in the RA response has not been compared to the style and tone used in the Candidate’s previous work. The Centre cannot confirm that the registered Learner is producing the RA.  Centre staff should not be correcting Candidate’s work: this is the duty and responsibility of the Candidate only to submit their own original work. This practice could threaten the Approved Centre Trusted Status as it constitutes Centre Maladministration.   

[1] 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

  • ICM will provide Centres with two printed copies of the Remote Assignment Entry Summary Sheet (example found here) for each unit.
  • The Primary Validation results must be reflected on the Remote Assignment Entry Summary Sheet (example found here).
  • Indicate under the Primary Validation column where this has taken place by inserting “Yes”.
  • Please indicate under the “RA Submitted” column if you are submitting the Candidate’s RA response electronically, by post or if there was no submission so we can correlate what you send us with what we have received.
  • Submit the Remote Entry Summary with the Candidate RA responses to ICM by.
  • Retain one copy of the Remote Assignment Entry Summary Sheet at your Centre for your records but the other copy must be returned to ICM in order to consolidate entries.

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:

  • Ensuring the file is a Microsoft Word.doc
  • Ensuring the file is renamed Student Name_Student ID_unittitle
  • To the ICM Submission Portal
  • By the submission deadline.

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):

Glare

Blurred

Not Visible

Too Small

Image Checklist

  • The answers are clear, in focus and readable
  • The scan contains no other objects or people
  • The candidate’s full name is recorded
  • The candidates ICM id number is recorded
  • Page 1 and any subsequent pages are scanned together making one file
  • The file is a .pdf
  • Sheets are organised and scanned in number order, i.e. Page 1, page 2, page 3 etc.
  • No corners are cut off
  • The scan is A4 in size
  • The unit title is indicated
  • Each page is numbered
  • The resource/reference list is provided at the end of each answer
  • Name file as follows: student name_student id_unittitle
  • The candidate declaration is included and the end of the answers
  • ICM receives the file by the deadline

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 Assignment Entry Summary Sheets are enclosed and sent to the following address using a courier service:

Institute of Commercial Management
ICM House
Yeoman Road
Ringwood
Hampshire
BH24 3FA
England

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 Assignment 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 is an anomaly in the 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. Any anomalies must be evidenced by the Centre as part of their ongoing formative assessments. The Candidates’ Remote Assignment Results (Candidate Grade Lists) are sent to Centres electronically. In the event that there is an anomaly in the 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 to suggest a Centre Assessed Grade(CAG). 

Where anomalies in RA results are identified by ICM Approved Centres and CAG(s) are submitted, ICM will require supporting evidence for the CAG to be sampled and checked by Business Development and Delivery Coordinators.  Whilst Centres are permitted to use whatever legitimate methods for the Secondary Validation process they choose, the Centre’s recordkeeping must be consistent and justified [1] as your Business Development and Delivery Coordinator may review this evidence as part of your unannounced Centre audit.  ICM Approved Centres are required to utilise a range of evidence in determining the CAGs. Each Approved CAG made for each Learner should be a holistic professional judgement, balancing different sources of evidence and data. It is important that ICM Approved Centre’s judgements are objective, only taking account of existing evidence and not irrelevant factors.

ICM Approved Centres should use:  
Evidence of a Learner’s formative as well as summative performance to inform their judgement.  
A broad range of evidence to determine the Centre Assessed Grades before submitting the grades to ICM:  
- Mock examination results  
- Non-examination assessment  
- Classwork  
- Bookwork/homework tasks  
- Performance in practical assignments  
- Previous examination results  
- Any other relevant records of Candidate performance over the course of study

[1] If you have any concerns about conducting this thoroughly please contact your ICM Business Development and Delivery Coordinator or the ICMBusiness Development and Delivery Manager for guidance.  

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

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. 

Centres must:

  • Ensure there are adequate and robust procedures in place for monitoring, preventing and/or investigating any incidents or alleged incidents of malpractice or maladministration and regularly review such procedures;
  • Make such procedures available to ICM upon request and promptly make any amendments required by ICM;
  • Notify ICM of any alleged incidents of malpractice and/or maladministration and provide any information requested by ICM;
  • Promptly investigate any incidents or alleged incidents of malpractice and/or maladministration;
  • Promptly take all reasonable action to rectify any incidents of malpractice and/or maladministration;
  • Take appropriate action against any individuals involved in the malpractice and/or maladministration;

Examples of malpractice:

  • Theft or misrepresentation of identity (including asking others to undertake a RA on your behalf)
  • Presenting the work of another as your RA work
  • Working together with others to submit work which is not entirely your own
  • Fabricating data or inventing or deliberately altering material (for example, citing sources that do not exist)
  • Making a fraudulent statement concerning the work submitted for your RA, including the false signing of your Candidate Declaration
  • Knowingly helping another Candidate to copy your own work or the work of others

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

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

  • Borrowing material from another person or source
  • Copying exactly word-for-word directly from a text or other source
  • Copying from a Candidate or tutor in an RA
  • Paraphrasing or translating the words from a text or other source too closely
  • Paying for assignments from other sources and submitting it as your own
  • Using text downloaded from the internet

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:

  • short in-text citation (e.g. Smith, 2016) placed in the appropriate place in your text
  • the full reference list (or bibliography) at the end of the Remote Assignment (e.g. Harvard style). 

Quoting:
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 b above).

Paraphrasing:
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 Assignment (point b above). 

Harvard:
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:

Book:
Jobber, D. and Lancaster, G., 2006. Selling and sales management. Pearson Education.

Journal Article
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.

Website:
Prachi M., Sales Management, viewed 20 June 2019.  https://theinvestorsbook.com/salesmanagement.

RA Grade Boundaries

The grade boundaries used by ICM for RA are as follows:

Please note all grades are subject to ICM qualitative and quantitative analysis as part of ICM Grade Review. Ungraded
(U grade) will be awarded to Candidates where malpractice and/or maladministration is evident.

Reasonable Adjustments

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.

Special Consideration

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.

Appeals

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.