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Disclaimer: This page is only for reference by staff and students at TEIs operating under the Common Awards scheme.
Durham University staff and students should instead refer to the Learning and Teaching Handbook here.

The information on this page is reviewed every three months.


Extract from Durham University's Learning & Teaching Handbook

6.1.4 Retention of Assessed Work

1. Student work should be retained by departments/schools in accordance with the following requirements:

2. To provide evidence in case of an appeal:

a. all examination scripts for all years of study should be retained for one year after the student  has graduated;

b. all summatively assessed course work for all years of study should be retained for one year after the student has graduated with the exception of minor items such as routine laboratory reports and 'weekly exercises' such as problem classes or language exercises. Such work may be retained in hard or electronic copy. If this is not possible or if there is only one copy of the work (as may be the case with some forms of practical work, mapping exercises etc) and the work is to be returned to the student then the master copy should be initialled by the marker on each page and the student should be advised that in the case of an appeal or recall of the work by the external examiner he /she must return the original initialled copy;

c. any mark proformas or feedback sheets used should be retained for the same period as the work to which they refer.

3. For quality assurance purposes:

a. a sample of summative and formative work should be retained for each module for the academic year prior to an internal or external quality review.  This applies to work for all years of study.  Question papers and mark sheets should be retained with the work, as should mark proformas and feedback sheets, if used. It may be necessary to present this to review teams together with information about the module and the relevant mark-sheets. If a module is taught in alternate years the sample should be drawn from the last year in which it was taught (which may therefore be 2 years prior to the review). This is a minimum requirement.

b. any mark proformas or feedback sheets used should be retained for the same period as the work to which they refer.

4. In all cases, the work of a student studying part-time or who has taken a year out of residence must be separated from the work for the rest of the cohort and stored separately until a year after that student has graduated.

Data Protection Act

5. When the work is no longer required for the purpose for which it is retained (i.e. in case of an appeal or for quality assurance purposes), the work should be destroyed. Retention beyond the time required for the stated purpose could contravene the Data Protection Act.

6. The departmental/school policy on the retention of student work should be made available to students via the handbook or website. This may take the form of a link to this section of the Learning and Teaching Handbook.

Retention of work for longer periods of time

6. A department/school is entitled to retain work for a longer period of time but must make explicit the reasons for doing so, to comply with the Data Protection Act and must make sure that the work is destroyed when that purpose has been fulfilled. Reasons for retaining work for a longer period might include:

a. retaining project work which includes original data and/or analysis;

b. retaining work for longitudinal surveys of trends in student achievement;

c. retaining work to show future students as examples (e.g. of the presentation of a dissertation).

7. Departments wishing to retain work for longer than the required period should consult the Information and Data Protection Manager in the Governance Support Unit for advice.

Retention of work in online plagiarism detection systems

8. Any student work may be uploaded to an online plagiarism detection system, at the discretion of individual departments. To support the aim of detecting and discouraging plagiarism, work uploaded in this way shall remain in the plagiarism detection system for five years after submission after which it shall be removed from the system and destroyed.


9. Work submitted to duo as essays, discussions or postings will remain in duo until 1 year after the last student has graduated from the course.