Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet
Search type

How can our Student Lifecycle Project improve the delivery of exams?

14 Feb 2018

Our exams experts collaborated in SLP Design and Discovery phase to improve process and delivery of exams

Exam hall

The January exam period saw hundreds of Professional Support Services (PSS) and academic staff across Schools, Faculties and central teams working together to deliver 1,580 exams for 28,293 students at 73 venues across the University’s estate.

This collaborative effort requires the completion of hundreds of processes, through various IT systems, to deliver the key outcomes associated with the delivery of exams. Staff feedback suggests that some of these processes are time consuming, difficult to track and require repetitive manual input.

With this in mind, in 2017 colleagues with expert exams knowledge collaborated through the Student Lifecycle Project’s Design and Discovery phase. They reviewed existing exams processes and proposed new ones where needed, with the aim of improving the student and staff experience and delivering exams as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Some of the key changes proposed as part of this work include:

  • Digitising the exam paper approval process through the use of a modern, responsive staff dashboard, automating associated communications to academic and PSS staff and creating a reliable version history and audit trail for each paper;
  • Recording exam attendance and exam room incidents through a digital application rather than paper based forms, instantly attaching this information to each students record and generating automated communications to absent students to explain the impact on progression and UKVI compliance;
  • Tracking the location of exam papers digitally, in the same way logistic companies track the location of parcels, to further reduce the risk of exam papers going missing;
  • Creating the underlying IT platform to allow the University to begin to deliver exams digitally in the future without the need for significant further systems development.

The Project has now moved to the Integration phase, where proposals from each area of the lifecycle have been brought together and checked for consistencies, overlaps and potential contractions.

Senior colleagues will then review the scope of the SLP and the changes that it will deliver.

IT systems – including Campus Solutions 9.2 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 – will enter development and build in March and the Project will then look at Ways of Working. The aim of this phase is to identify where processes should sit across the University and its Schools, Faculties and central services. It will involve significant input from PSS staff, academics and students, and further details of how to get involved will be communicated soon.

More information

For more information on the Student Lifecycle Project and its phases, visit:

To sign up for monthly updates, visit:

If you have any questions about the project, email: